Transforming finance into a strategic business partner
delaware instills confidenceA first step in the transformation was the choice of a new management reporting system. Eight suppliers made a proposal. DEME chose Microsoft Business Intelligence, as suggested by the Delaware team. “We’re using Microsoft Dynamics AX at most of our sites, so it was quite logical to stick to the Microsoft stack. delaware consultants, however, made a huge difference for us. Both our finance and ICT people felt comfortable with their knowledge, approach and solution,” Francine Stockmans explains.
Management reporting and analysisdelaware set up a solution built around four major pillars: Microsoft products for both reporting (SSRS) and data analytics (SSAS), a tailor-made Excel plugin and IBM Cognos Controller.
“By using SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS), we can now create the – 300-page long – management report that we generate quarterly in no time and manage it (share, interact, etc.) with ease,” says Francine Stockmans. “To help us analyze and explore insights, delaware built a cube with SQL Server 2016 Analysis Services. It includes a staggering amount of data from Microsoft Dynamics AX, which is refreshed in every hour. The data provides users with instant insight into massive volumes of data. Project controllers, for example, can now follow up the status of every project in real time.”
The power of automationTo help controllers easily upload report forecasts for three years out, delaware developed a tailor-made Excel plugin: Present View plugin. Francine: “Controllers can now enter the data themselves. As soon as the forecasts are approved, these are automatically integrated into the data warehouse for management reporting.” Last but not least, the IBM Cognos Controller supports the closing, consolidation and reporting process. It automatically integrates the data of every company that runs Dynamics AX and forwards all the consolidated data to Microsoft Business Intelligence, which creates reports.
The full picture, in real timeThanks to the Microsoft-based BI setup, every user at DEME has access to a single, real-time version of the truth. Moreover, automating and streamlining the consolidation process eliminates tiresome, manual data entry, saving the finance team valuable time. “The manual upload of all the data took us about a day per month, per division, so the difference is huge,” says Francine. “As a result, finance now has more time for control and analysis, which means they can provide the business with more and better analytics, deliver clear paths and make better forecasts – as a foundation for faster, better decisions.
The future is in the cloud
In the meantime, delaware and DEME are taking the BI solution stack to the next level. For data security reasons, DEME didn’t want its joint ventures to run the same platform that they are running. Instead, delaware implemented Dynamics AX2012 in the cloud via MS Azure – a first step towards the cloud. In early 2018, a DEME subsidiary went live with MS Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations on Azure.
In the coming months and years, DEME will continue optimizing its finance department. The cloud is definitely a logical next step in their efforts to transform finance. delaware remains a trusted partner at every step of the way.