A solution for a changing market
Technology drives VolkerRail as VolkerRail drives technology. They deliver on time, securely, and to the highest standards of quality. Safety, employee satisfaction, customer satisfaction, and financial consciousness are their core values. However, the return or revenue is often the balancing item.
“Before Jedox, we weren’t any different to other modern contractors - we had several ERP systems and a world of Excel spreadsheets. It was possible to run our business this way, but current market demands a different approach on how we constantly manage projects with complex financial and risk management implications.’’ Paul de Hair - CFO VolkerRail
Contractors are increasingly expected to take more and more risks. The market is asking for more fixed-fee contracts and contracts that guarantee a certain level of maintenance over several years. This requires a completely different approach to contracts that used to allow us to recharge cost and materials.
Instead of being revenue driven we’ve become cost driven, assessing cost efficiencies and risks throughout the whole chain constantly. Having the right insight and predictive analysis becomes vital.
“Before, the financial department only knew if any money was being made on a project after the fact. Or if people had completed enough hours on a project. And figuring out why or why not was a complex, time consuming and expensive process. On the other side, looking forward proved to be even more difficult. Without this information it is impossible to drive productivity as efficient as possible.” Paul de Hair - CFO VolkerRail
“We had to make a change, and we saw the opportunity to make several improvements at the same time: empower the finance department, increase insight and cost efficiency, and provide administration and reporting stability. I reviewed several tools and Jedox really stood out. We needed a tool that gave us not only insight, but foresight as well in one central database. We wanted an end–to-end tool for intelligence, budgeting, rolling forecasting and financial consolidation. We needed to get rid of laborious manual work in Excel and improve dataquality. And of course a high performant tool: working with Excel and other tools meant everyone had plenty of time for coffee waiting for the results to come through. Sometimes a very long coffee break wouldn’t even cut it. Besides the delay, it disrupts the discovery process.”
Performance management for financial consciousness
“Jedox has become the catalyst for the transition we had in mind for our organization. It may be something I had hoped for but it has surely exceeded my expectation. We started hearing things like “Hey, are these MY figures? So I can see what’s behind this figure? And what happened before this figure? And what happens if I change this figure? I don’t need a controller anymore to do this?” The way Jedox has empowered us has led to an increased sense of engagement, particularly in giving financially consciousness a boost that we had been looking for. Managers enter their budgets in Jedox, forecasts, risk assessments and share that immediately with the rest of the organization. The OLAP heart of Jedox makes it child’s play to see where we are heading on any level including consolidated levels, quickly and reliably.”
Single source of truth
“One feature of Jedox that has proved to be of great value is the Excel look and feel. It makes it simple and powerful. In the beginning my team was a bit hesitant. They know Excel is laborious, complex, and risky, but they already had years of Excel experience. Jedox being so similar to Excel helped to overcome their doubts in the adoption phase. It is easy to understand and works fast towards results.”
“We started out by eliminating Excel from the planning and control cycle. As a Project orientated company, our ‘Project Control Spreadsheet’ is key. We developed it anew in Jedox for each contract and project. Today the project control status is automatically compiled by data from the underlying ERP systems, figures or consolidations are calculated according to business rules and manual adjustments are made immediately. Having the automated data extraction makes it easy to build dashboards and reports, our brand new ERP operations tool being a great example. Instead of making specific reports in this ERP system we use Jedox to do this. By doing so we keep extending our one source of truth and the dashboards and reports on top of that.”
“One, complete source of truth helps us to discuss the business in more detail. Today, if we don’t understand a certain figure, we look it up and analyze it instantly. And we have confidence in the data we are using. On occasion, numbers used to just strike me as wrong without always being able to put my finger on it. Big mistakes would be identified but nowadays all that insecurity is gone. A great feeling” Paul de Hair - CFO VolkerRail
Dare to start
“Looking back, we took quite some time to consider all our options. A project of this scope raises a lot of questions. What approach is suitable? Where do we start? How will people react? Different divisions had different answers. Some of my colleagues in IT preferred to work out the entire project meticulously. A plan that would only show results after a year or two. I did not relate to that. Instead we built and evaluated step-by-step with Jedox, and it worked perfectly. Also, by starting small, we avoided making big commitments up front.”
Empowering finance, securing expertise
“We wanted finance to be in the lead during the implementation. Together with the Jedox consultants from Celcus, this team set out with a general goal in mind and decided on adjustments or additional functionality along the way. It was a conscious decision to first have Celcus consultants create the architecture and link to the ERP systems. Create the first reports. To secure expertise within the organization training finance and IT is of importance. This way Celcus can pass the baton to Finance more and while IT is responsible for maintaining the system.”
“We are very happy to see that everyone in the business is better equipped to deal with changes in the market with Jedox as tool. It has worked as a catalyst. We have managed to increase consciousness in the area of finance and risk and the ability to act accordingly: on every business level our people are lowering risks and minimizing costs. Going forward, I am confident that an increased insight and ability to manage performance will also have a positive impact on the next areas we want to tackle: safety, customer satisfaction and human resources.”