As a government agency, Erhvervsstyrelsen (the Danish Business Authority) is always under pressure to deliver the greatest possible value within their budget. Erhvervsstyrelsen supports businesses across Denmark, manages 450 projects across 27 offices, employs 600 people, and is responsible for an annual budget of DKK 600 million (USD 89.8 million), as well as a number of national and EU grants.
Managing Hundreds of Budgets
Implementing a more collaborative process between Erhvervsstyrelsen and the many projects they manage is extremely valuable for all parties. Each of the 450 project manages has their own budget, but Erhvervsstyrelsen maintains control of overall expenditure and has to report to the Danish parliament to demonstrate “value for tax money”. Needless to say, Erhvervsstyrelsen has to have a robust, reliable budgeting process for all projects.
However, until recently their budgeting process was based on spreadsheets that were drawn up and sent to each project manager. The bulk of data that came back to Erhvervsstyrelsen was then manually collected and consolidated by their finance team.
This process was both time-consuming and prone to mistakes: It would take four days to produce each version of the budget and the total budget cycle would last for more than two weeks.
Another downside to the old spreadsheet solution was lack of time to go through the numbers with each project manager and make sure that the budget in question would meet everyone’s needs.
Choosing the Right Solution
The many drawbacks from the spreadsheet budget planning solution made Erhvervsstyrelsen examine the possibilities of a more intelligent and efficient solution, and together with IBM Business Partner Kapacity, they chose to implement the enterprise-class financial planning and analytics solution IBM® Cognos® TM1®.
They were especially impressed by the solution’s ability to map their existing budget process into the system, rather than having to introduce a completely new process. Furthermore, project managers now log into a secure web portal and input their figures directly into the IBM solution. This means that the finance team is always up to date on missing entries and do not have to be concerned about lost spreadsheets or outdated versions.
Freeing Time for Each Budget
Each budget iteration now takes half a day, thanks to the combination of faster data collection and automated consolidation. Furthermore, once the data is collected, the finance team can consolidate it and create a new version of the budget with just a few clicks – a process that used to take an additional two days. As a result, Erhvervsstyrelsen now has more time to discuss and revise the specific budgets with each project manager as well as making sure that the organisation’s top-level objectives are being met.
Partnering with Kapacity
The Erhvervsstyrelsen team was very impressed with the Kapacity consultants’ skills and knowledge, especially in the business analytics and business intelligence domain. Today, their finance team has successfully completed several quarterly budget cycles with their new and much more efficient budgeting process solution.