The problem

Reporting at Meridian Energy used to be spread sheet-based. While this system worked, the organisation was becoming increasingly concerned about how much time they spent on reporting. The spread sheet system was growing larger over time, additional features were constantly added, and it involved a great deal of manual database extracts, says Kelvin Mason, Group Financial Controller at Meridian Energy.

The solution

After evaluating a number of solutions Meridian identified IBM Planning Analytics Express (formally Cognos Express) as the best fit, says Mason. Fusion5 was chosen to deliver the solution. The first part of the solution to go live was a financial planning and reporting tool, followed by a Board Scorecarding application. Next, a Culture & Change (HR) application was rolled out. The company is just in the process of completing a Procurement reporting system, and a Retail dashboard application is also under development, Mason says.

Benefits gained

The solution was implemented at the same time as Meridian Energy did its business planning and budgeting.

“We were getting fast results. In the past, it would take two to five days to consolidate budget. Now we are instantaneously creating that consolidation and are able to be very quick on the analytics.”

Kelvin Mason, Group Financial Controller at Meridian Energy

The result — cycle-time has been cut-down immensely and the team is now able to focus on more important tasks.

The month-end reporting process has been cut from ten to four days, with a target to get it down to two days.

“It’s still the tip of the iceberg for us in terms of what this solution can do.”

Complete confidence in the numbers is also a big benefit.

“The ability to quickly look at the business in different ways has been outstanding.”

Future focussed reporting

Meridian’s shareholder requires it to produce annual budgets. This solution also supports the opportunity to move to a rolling forecast mode, with business unit owners being able to look at forecasts, budgets and actual expenditure in real-time. The solution is helping Meridian Energy to move from historic to forward-looking reporting. Instead of spending time looking backwards and creating reports that show what happened in the past, the organisation can run scenarios to model what a future outcome could look like.

The Fusion5 model

Fusion5 has empowered Meridian Energy to be able to manage the system and make changes to it themselves, Mason says.

“The beauty of the Fusion5 model is that they don’t want to trap us into an endless piece of consultancy, where they have to come back and design everything for us,” Mason says. “They have taken us along with them and enabled us to build the expertise in-house.”

“Fusion5 has done a good job. It really has been a partnership. When they first approached us to tell us about the product it was never the hard sell, which is always appreciated from my point of view.”

“Right along the process they have been accommodating. They listened to what we wanted and came back with good, practical solutions to get to the right outcome.”

“The way they operated with our business was quite seamless. Their developers are not sitting in a dark room somewhere — these guys were onsite with us, interacting with us.”

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