Improved forecasting, Consolidation and reporting in one solution!
hamilton bright ‘connects hearts to brands’. hamilton bright believes in the power of real human contact. By creating desire in people at every touchpoint during the customer journey, we strengthen brands. With our wide range of services, we help build their brand on a daily basis. People are central to hamilton bright. People with a heart for brands, retail and sales.
Selling is really human work. Empathising with the wishes and needs of customers. What are the underlying purchase motives? What are the doubts and uncertainties that stand in the way of a purchase? How can you put customers at ease, motivate and even seduce them?
hamilton bright understands the importance of the entire buying process. Organize the store and shelves in such a way that there are no barriers in the customer journey. Having more knowledge than the customer and being able to advise well and honestly. Convince customers and activate them. Closing the deal. Hamilton bright builds sustainable brand involvement and loyalty.
On time, on budget
Time saved by automation
‘Best of Breed’ Software
hamilton bright works with a ‘best-of-breed’ strategy for their software. That means we chose the software that best suits the question and scope. When there is a new and better solution available (for example an HR solution where we can work in the cloud with better design vs the existing on-premise solution), we can switch to and integrate the new software easily without the dependency of the one solution software.
In this case, Board is being used as a layer over our ERP, our planning and our workflow software to have one centralized platform where it all comes together. In this way we create an one version of the truth. We focussed on usability for the end users, who are mostly non-financials such as project managers and very sensitive for look-and-feel and visuals on insights – they like graphs and dashboard and not tables and spreadsheets. We haven’t forgotten our own finance department: one of the things we have done in Board is an automated mapping of our GL accounts, budgets and management reports from our local GL to the shareholder GL. This gives us data and reporting suitable for both business and local board, and for our shareholders in an instant.
We chose Board over others for flexibility. We have richer data and more levels and granularity then we could have in other systems, so more business information and better decisions. It’s for us easier to roll up from a more detail level in Board and we keep all the insights for our business and report to the shareholders on a higher more abstract level as they wish.
Before our final choice we spoke to all implementation partners of multiple vendors and with PlanPulse we had the best understanding and feeling – other implementation partners didn’t understand our business or needs correctly. It was certainly a very important aspect.
One version of the truth
Board is being used for all management reporting based on all planning and consolidation processes.
The first component is financial consolidation. Our consolidation is based on intercompany relations (debtors/creditor) flagged in our Datawarehouse for P&L and intercompany GL accounts for balance sheet. Currency conversion and different consolidation nodes is included. The basis of elimination is a ‘click of a button’ and after consolidation manual adjustments are allowed. When accounting is done right, consolidation takes a few minutes over a few hours of Excel work.
In addition to the financial consolidation, Board is also being used for processes like planning, budgeting and forecasting, where a tailor made model has been created which fits our business, the delivery of field workforce as a service. Approximately 35 budget holders plan over 1.000 heads of workforce, variable expenses and revenue which all are allocated to customers and business units. The budget is driver based: master data is loaded from the data warehouse on employee level (e.g. salary, benefits, cars, IT tools, etc). The budget holders plan changes in salary, benefits, variable costs etc and allocated the costs to the customers. In this way we our comfortable with accuracy and completeness of costs, which is very important to prevent underforecasting, and have a full P&L on customer level and business unit level. The time spend by budget holders is approximately 4 hours per forecast version.
The third part of the solution in Board is around (management) reporting. The management reports are integrated and available for all project managers using Board (approx. 60 users) instantly. We have a ‘live’ reporting on projects and management reporting (refreshed every hour) and work closely with the project managers during month end close. This closed the gap in closing and reporting time and are now able to close on business working day 3 – 12.00AM with very accurate numbers. There is no need to send out numbers, because everything is available in Board for the project managers. Before Board we ran actuals on a BI system. Now, we have one source of truth for reports and business information available to all stakeholders instantly, distributing reports is a thing of the past.
Value added partners
hamilton bright and PlanPulse are working together in a long term partnership. However, this doesn’t mean PlanPulse is continuously working for hamilton bright. On the contrary: hamilton bright is working on further developments themselves including self-service reporting and analytics. This availability to self-service options and own developments are important, as this makes us less depended of consultants and keeps knowledge in-house. The long term partnership means one or two projects are done together to have a head start in combination with knowledge transfer. After that, hamilton bright and PlanPulse keep in contact to discuss further developments and the involvement of PlanPulse for design and/or developments when necessary.
In addition to the knowledge transfer, we valued PlanPulse as a partner with knowledge of both the processes and the technology. PlanPulse has great understanding of the Board solution, thinks along and is passionate about the work In the projects. Also, PlanPulse helped in breaking down our budgeting process and rebuild in logical steps to come to a data driven model. And, also important, PlanPulse delivered the projects in time, in scope and in budget. Of course, there were some changes and adjustments outside the scope and they were separately discussed and billed on time spend. Key part in this is clear communication from both parties to determine which work is in or out scope and authorization asked before work outside scope is started. In the end, together we delivered on the deadline with a very short time frame of building and implementing. And we weren’t worried for a day the deadline would not be made.
“I have worked with them with two tight deadlines/short time frames, both times delivered on the deadline. Communication is good, quick in the return and great availability when there are questions or issues. We feel we have a partnership relation with PlanPulse for the long term and not a traditional supplier – buyer relationship.”
There were two main improvements: digitalization and better information.
First of all, a lot of steps in the processes were automated from manual work. In addition, a lot of excel file where replaced with Board functionality. Actually, we moved from Excel (collecting over 50 excels of budget holders and manually consolidating) to driver based budgeting. Thanks to the data drivers it is harder to under forecast and helps in the correctness and completeness of the numbers, in our case we know that each individual employee including cars and IT is planned and reviewed by the budget holders. Also by reducing the manual work, getting more (driver based) data in the system and having more checks, the data quality has improved, leading to better insights and better decisions!
In line with the earlier statement about knowledge transfer, it is obviously very important to invest time in learning the structure, processes and workflows of Board. A world will open and will accelerate automation and new business insights.
Review by Hamilton
PlanPulse involves you in the process to help you understand the solution as well.
PlanPulse helped in breaking down our budgeting process and rebuild in logical steps to come to a data driven model.
Not a day worried the deadline would not be made.
We would give Plan Pulse a 9. PlanPulse has great understanding of the Board solution, thinks along and is passionate about the work. I have worked with them with two tight deadlines/short time frames, both times delivered on the deadline. Communication is good, quick in the return and great availability when there are questions or issues. We feel we have a partnership relation with PlanPulse for the long term and not a traditional supplier – buyer relationship.
Contact us today and find out how we can help you with better-informed decision-making!