REVIEWER: Natasha Tuck, vice president of program management for Shorenstein Company LLC.BACKGROUND: Shorenstein Company is one of the country's oldest and most respected real estate organizations, active nationally in the ownership and operation of high-quality office properties. Shorenstein Company provides asset management, leasing, property management and construction services to the properties in its portfolio through its wholly owned property services affiliate, Shorenstein Realty Services.
PLATFORMS: Shorenstein runs CONTROL on a Microsoft SQL Server database with Windows client stations.
PROBLEM SOLVED: Shorenstein's financial planning and analysis (FP&A) department was using Excel for all of its corporate budgeting and forecasting activities. While it was easy to use, we had significant data integrity problems. For example, because an employee needed to manually input data in a number of places throughout our Excel-based system, inaccuracies due to human error were inevitable. We had no way of uniformly consolidating our data and were unable to slice-and-dice it easily. We did not have the ability to easily change global assumptions, which ultimately caused discrepancies in our cash flow statements.
PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: After Shorenstein implemented KCI Computing's CONTROL in April 2004, we noticed a marked difference in our productivity. Because CONTROL has a centralized repository, we are able to prove in "real time" that the data in our system is always correct and updated. We now have variance commentary from different people at the GL account level for the entire year and for specific months that creates a qualitative record of what happened, when it happened and is also easy to archive. We have the flexibility to continue to meet constantly changing business requirements and expand our implementation across business units, with the assurance of underlying integrity and control.
STRENGTHS: CONTROL allows us to compile vast amounts of data across our various departments in one central secure repository, providing a cohesive view that allows us to align our strategy with action. Because CONTROL can be completely tailored, we were able to work with KCI to build a solution that caters to the specific needs of our business. Because CONTROL is tremendously flexible, as our business needs change, we can readily adapt. Overall, from a user perspective, the product is also very intuitive and easy to navigate.
WEAKNESSES: CONTROL conforms to how we do business rather than the other way around. In order to be that flexible, however, there is some inherent complexity.
SELECTION CRITERIA: CONTROL's flexibility to meet our specific needs won the day. We began our review internally with a time/money saving analysis that indicated what our budgeting and planning problems were costing us overall. We then mapped those problems to the top corporate performance management solutions and evaluated each of those solutions in view of the challenges in front of us. CONTROL fit our business model and could easily integrate with our existing property management accounting system, CTI.
DELIVERABLES: Using CONTROL, we are ultimately able to spend less time pulling our data together and more time analyzing the data for more effective reporting. We have better control over our assumption process. Since our initial implementation, we expanded the use of CONTROL to include net cash flow reporting, and this expansion has already created a positive impact on all aspects of the business that interact with it beyond the FP&A department, including investor reporting and asset management. We are now implementing CONTROL in our property management group, so that budgeting and forecasting processes for each of our properties have consistent calculations that will be indelibly linked with our corporate performance.
VENDOR SUPPORT: Because CONTROL has a similar look and feel to Excel, it required a limited amount of training for our end users. We have been very pleased with KCI's level of expertise, as all employees know the product inside and out. When we pose questions, they are answered immediately and effectively.
DOCUMENTATION: Extensive documentation makes it easy for us to navigate the product. CONTROL is so intuitive that we are usually able to use it without the documentation.
CONTROL Version 8.6
KCI Computing, Inc.
3625 Del Amo Boulevard
Torrance, CA 90503
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