A couple of employees referred us to their employer – an automotive holding company. They were looking to implement new Hyperion Planning applications. These new applications are to replace many existing ones (simplifying the environment) while on-boarding new entity acquisitions. Turns out, we are a better fit than their incumbent implementation partner and they moved forward with us.
Many people are impacted by the project at this large company. As in most large organizations, navigating politics and building consensus will be huge in creating a successful outcome. Therefore, a large change and project management aspect of this implementation exists.
They recently made acquisitions where the acquired companies use different forecasting tools. One goal is to bring them on to the new consolidated applications and retire their tools. The acquired organizations are in different locations, so even though the holding company prefers to work in-person, working well with these remote stakeholders is key.
We are replacing many older applications with fewer new ones. In addition, a couple of reporting applications are retiring too. By doing so, there is a need to create a new, consolidated security model. Everyone is receiving training on the new applications. Even entities with prior Hyperion Planning experience will be using a different application going forward. Therefore, learning the new application and business processes are essential.
In addition, the client has another project to merge two completely separate ERP system’s chart of accounts at the same time as our implementation. Our timelines depend greatly on the output of this parallel workstream since the new applications will be using the combined chart of accounts. Therefore, we will be working hand-in-hand with this external project team as we move forward together.
The client is an on-premise Hyperion Planning shop, so this is what we are using. Building one Hyperion Planning application specifically for position planning (not a specific employee – a specific position) with lots of HR detail. It will replace two existing employee planning applications. Summarized position data will flow into two other P&L planning applications. The new P&L Hyperion Planning application will consolidate three other applications being retired and on-board the new entities. A critical revision of the Capital planning cube is necessary to make this all work as well.
To complete the rationalization of the environment, we will retire two of three reporting applications. This will reduce confusion where to retrieve the numbers and system maintenance complexity. Another big benefit is the reduction in redundant data which saves storage space and increases overall environment speeds. The net reduction is four fewer applications in the environment.
With multiple existing applications consolidating, a new security model will be developed. A single model of input forms ie required too. Since they are using Smart View Excel add-in instead of the web interface for input forms, the forms can be larger than some had experienced on the web before.
The client is most comfortable with consultants being on-site as much as reasonably possible. EPM&BI works well with this arrangement in addition to a remote or semi-remote model.
Requirements gathering, consensus building, change management, and prototyping is the majority of the first half of the project. We like to begin with the end in mind whenever possible. Something this complex takes many stakeholders coming together to build a unified vision. Some of the organizations involved are newly acquired. Therefore, figuring out who should be in what meeting for buy-in is important before fully diving in.
As the requirement gathering meetings progressed, we built a few prototypes to help the client see what the end might look like. Many iterations are required as consolidating three planning applications is challenging for all stakeholders involved. The newly unified chart of accounts was still a work in progress. However, the main structure was there helping us move forward. Eventually, we landed on an agreed-upon model and the build quickly accelerated from there.
Data eventually ends up in a consolidated reporting cube for the FP&A team to analyze and report from. The data refresh cycle runs every 15-30 minutes. The data flow is significantly simplified as shown below:
We held many training sessions on-site as well as remotely. Since the audience for training is much broader than requirements gathering, every training session revealed new information. We were able to accommodate some important enhancement requests by implementing them prior to go-live. UAT runs parallel with training on this project. Just like with training, there are some items coming out of UAT we were able to change prior to go-live. To say the least, this is a very dynamic atmosphere and the end-user training/documentation needs constant updating to reflect the changes.
Go-live is uneventful (in a good way). Most post-go-live support involves helping people through change management and training. The project is a huge success by consolidating applications and many entities onto a common budgeting and forecasting system.
Under-budget and before the expected completion date is how we ended up, even when helping in areas outside of what we were initially brought in for. We are more flexible than the client initially imagined a consulting company could be and we continue to receive ongoing referrals from this raving client!