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LONDON, United Kingdom - 08 Jun 2010: IBM (NYSE:IBM) today announced that Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council (MBC) have implemented IBM business analytics software to help transform its budget planning process thus freeing up finance managers to use information to better evaluate, analyse and support business decision makers. IBM’s software has also helped the Council to identify formula and policy interpretation errors.
Rotherham MBC has a population of over 250,000. Like many other Local Government organisations, Rotherham’s Financial Services directorate works with and on behalf of Council Members, Strategic Directors and directorate budget holders to capture the council’s spending priorities, budget pressures and the improvement and efficiency plans to prepare the Council’s budget covering the next three years.
In the current economic and financial climate, local authority and other public sector finance teams need to be able to proactively respond to the rapidly changing financial landscape. They must provide management with timely and accurate financial information that effectively supports the strategic and operational decision-making process.
Financial plans are regularly refreshed to take account of changing national and local priorities and to respond to ‘what-if’ type planning scenarios. For example if National Insurance contributions were to increase by 1% above current levels. Prior to using IBM Business Analytics, finance staff were building multiple Excel spreadsheets to capture and manipulate financial data to produce the latest budget plans – they had less flexibility to adapt to a changing working environment.
With pockets of data being duplicated across a number of spreadsheets, the entire process proved very resource intensive and left the finance team undertaking additional work to be in a position to provide a rolling budget position across each of the three planning years.
Rotherham MBC implemented IBM Business Analytics to modernise and transform its services.
“Our goal was to modernise and transform working practices and create a single view of accurate planning information that could be sliced and diced giving us the ability to proactively respond to ‘what-if’ questions within a more timely manner,” said Stuart Booth, Director of Central Finance.
IBM’s software has helped the Council to better interpret its data and control the changes made to it as part of the budget preparation process. Now with increased confidence in the accuracy of their data, finance managers can concentrate on using the information for useful analysis and support rather than just ‘crunching the numbers’.
“Of huge benefit is the fact that we now have a single integrated solution that enforces referential data integrity. Additionally, we plan to deploy IBM software for automated workflow management to increase governance and control over the budget planning process. Although it is early days, we anticipate that the level of resources and therefore cost of preparing budgets will reduce,” concluded Stuart Booth.
“Increasingly, organisations are realising that spreadsheet-based systems simply cannot deliver the quality of service needed to manage a large operation,” commented Steve Dunnigan, Business Analytics Unit Executive, UK & Ireland, IBM. “Today’s announcement is part of IBM’s ongoing focus on helping clients use their information as a strategic asset through the optimisation of IBM Business Analytics software,” he concluded.
IBM has invested more than $10 billion to build an analytics portfolio which includes organic innovation and acquisitions. In addition, IBM has assembled 4,000 analytics consultants with industry expertise, and opened a network of seven analytics centers of excellence. Today, IBM is working with more than 250,000 clients worldwide on predictive analytics, including 22 of the top 24 global commercial banks, 18 of the world's top 22 telecommunication carriers and 11 of the top 12 U.S. specialty retailers.
IBM Business Analytics is powered by IBM Cognos TM1.
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