Blending Software Capabilities to Create New, Better Solutions

Who Should Read This: Anyone whose current software solutions cover some, but not all, of their processes. Anyone who has manual handoffs or disjointed processes in their department or business. Anyone who has been tasked with improving processes or bringing a new capability to life without buying new or upgrading existing packaged software.

Client: Global line-of-business lead expected to create and maintain high-dollar, frequently updated financial plans using multiple, disparate business systems.

The Story

In this situation, our client had plenty of help from the company’s IT department, good packaged software, knowledgeable end users, and a few ideas about how to make their processes better. The department had a number of disparate business systems informing and facilitating their work. These systems processed important transactions, initiated and closed workflows, and were used to generate deal-oriented financial reports. While the tools were helpful, the information in the disparate systems was not uniform and was being exported and analyzed externally in spreadsheets, after which reports and presentations were created. The client realized the department was spending an extraordinary amount of time just combining and massaging the data, calculating and recalculating scenarios, and then creating assets to present the information. It was time consuming. It was prone to error. It was difficult to validate. And it had to be repeated almost continuously—especially when they were asked to “quickly” run new numbers to evaluate slightly different variations of their scenarios. Everyone in the department felt like they were under the gun all the time. There had to be a better way!

The Outcome

The client called Abundiant to see what could be done. We helped them analyze all of the capabilities of their current software packages, all of the sources of their data, and how they were modeling the data. We worked with them to help identify their actual information needs, the assumptions they were baking in to their calculations, their constraints (e.g., time, resources, or available data), and the immediate and long-term goals for the line of business. Then our team worked iteratively to let the client “try on” different ways of using, combining, and relating the information they already had and sort out the most effective and meaningful ways to leverage it.

Using the client’s existing software, Abundiant was able to create an easy-to-use tool that automates the work of data consolidation, calculation, and presentation of critical information from multiple systems. This resulted in significant benefits to the client, most notably a reduction in the amount of manual work, errors, and elapsed cycle time. With major improvements in usability, the client was able to improve the quality and speed of decisions and build confidence in their reporting and recommendations. This, in turn, gave the team more confidence in their work allowing them to build more effective relationships throughout the organization.