City of Königswinter
Standardized BI reporting system for all management levels
The time frame is impressive: From the time they attended an informational event to the start of standard reporting for all organizational levels of administration, the city of Königswinter only needed a little over four months to implement the Axians Infoma Business Intelligence (BI) system. And the tight project schedule continues. The city first developed an initial key figure report on 2012 budget planning to launch a three step process. In the second step, an implementation forecast for the 2012 budget was created using the forecast function offered by the Business Intelligence system, and based on booking statuses as of July 31st 2012. The Infoma newsystem process successfully passed its trial by fire just about a year after the go live with evaluations it provided during the budget preparation process for 2013 for all levels of management.
Project managers in this city on the Rhine, located at the foot of the famous Drachenfels castle, included fulfilling these requirements as a top priority in their specification catalog. “In order to achieve efficient administrative controlling, our goal was to introduce a standardized reporting system tailored to the needs of the individual management levels,” Bernd Giershausen, Head of Controlling, remembers. “In addition, we wanted the future BI solution to support us in preparing forecasts on budget development, presenting key budgetary figures, and completing evaluations as part of the budget preparation process.”
The city was impressed by the Infoma process especially because of its consistent reporting system concept and the broad flexibility it offers. Its strengths include the ready-made reports and analyses it delivers even in the standard version, which can be used after just a few days of training. That means the spheres of activity can be used immediately with finished analyses, existing reports can be customized, reports can be completely redesigned based on the existing data model, and custom key figures can be defined. However, the ability to integrate the solution into Infoma financial accounting, which the city had used since 2006, was another key criteria in its decision.
The BI software is installed for two work stations in the Controlling unit. All reports and evaluations are prepared here for the entire administration as a centralized function. Controlling “customers” include the management level of administration – the executive board, business area and service area managers, and individual staff members as well. They can request one-time or regular evaluations on all budget areas for their divisions. Currently, data combinations from the areas of budgeting, forecasts, and key figures are being used for this purpose in the Finances sphere of activity.
Königswinter can customize all reports and evaluations as a standard feature. Axians Infoma completed a training session focused on this topic directly after launching the software, which involved developing sample reports to serve as a basis for custom reports later on. Axians Infoma only created a few reports entirely ourselves, such as a special inquiry in the Infoma newsystem change log.
The evaluations created by the standardized reporting system are sent to the individual management levels and processors each month. Information on budget implementation in the current year can be collected from the reports, and compared to planning as well as to figures from the previous year. Bernd Giershausen: “This often helps us see undesirable developments early on, which can prompt us to shift our operational or even strategic focus.”
Participants are also notified of any special considerations, deviations, or undesirable developments in budget implementation from a central standpoint during regular meetings on reporting data held between central controlling and the individual department heads and business area managers.
In the past, reports prepared by the Infoma newsystem Business Intelligence (BI) have primarily been used to provide information to administration within Königswinter. Only the key figure report on the overall budget and on each individual product group – totaling around 100 pages – are provided to all the other members as well. This is another key benefit of the BI system, which provides important information to policy makers as well and can help lead to more reliable decision making.
Overall, the controlling unit in Königswinter is very satisfied with what the BI system has been able to develop for administration up to this point. “Since we started working with the system, we have already seen a large number of improvements and introduced a whole series of additions, such as including new dimensions into the data combinations or creating separate data combinations, especially for forecasts,” says the Manager, already thinking about future goals.
These include expanding the key figures report as well as making better use of the individual forecast options. However, the city is also interested in improving its liquidity management using BI. The process provides analyses for this purpose, along with financial data and information from receivables management, which facilitate active liquidity controlling. Forecasts are derived from knowledge gained in previous accounting and payment processes.
Last but not least, Bernd Giershausen wants to use new BI options to simplify reporting structures, “to be able to respond more quickly and with less work to any adjustments that need to be made, for instance due to organizational changes.” He receives support in doing so whenever he needs from the Axians Infoma team, which has been happy to help with individual questions even after the launch phase. Axians Infoma has gathered ideas and suggestions from these ongoing discussions, in order to implement them as updates. By doing so, the Ulm company once again proves its commitment to its guiding principle: to develop and create needs-based solutions through dialog with our customers.