No strangers to the importance of data integrity, the ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) found themselves in somewhat of a data overload situation after their ERP upgrade. With over a century of providing business-relevant qualifications, ACCA is the global association for professional accountants delivering the application, ability and ambition to those seeking a career in accounting, finance or management.
No Hope in Sight for Oracle 11i
Having implemented the Oracle E-Business Suite in 2005, ACCA battled to meet business needs due to 11i’s severe lack of reporting capabilities. This created a challenge for Finance to provide high quality monthly and ad-hoc reporting to the entire organization. This challenge was felt most keenly by its Finance Systems Accountant and IT team.
“Oracle was slow to deliver the ‘real’ answer. To try and get a ‘real’ answer, we’d have to run a number of different extracts, upload the data into Excel and play with pivots and develop macros. It was an incredibly exhaustive process for our Management Accountants to be able to answer the questions our budget holders were asking.” - Paul Slowey, Financial Systems Accountant, ACCA
As if basic functionality issues weren’t enough, Finance was unable to execute customized reports in a reasonable amount of time. Requests from Finance and Customer Service teams required assistance from IT to gather information. On average, such in-depth IT requests could take up to an entire month to complete. While IT had time taken from their development testing, Finance faced limited drill down functionality and no agility or flexibility in their current process, making month-end and quarter-end reporting a significant challenge.
A Real Need for REAL Real-Time Data
As the need for accurate, real-time reports increased, ACCA’s challenges grew. Oracle’s offer of ‘real-time’ reporting only allowed access to a read-only data base that was refreshed every 24 hours. For online transactional reporting, it was difficult to run ad-hoc reports for executive-level inquiries. A mixture of GL Wand reports and SQL Developer extracts were being used, as well as some Oracle reports and FSGs, but they were widely viewed as too restrictive. ACCA was ready to make some big changes.
Forward-Thinking Strategy Aligns Systems for Success
With their future strategy in place, ACCA desired to radically transform its business goals with a more forward-thinking approach. Further adopting customer centered solutions, high performing people and achieving operational excellence went from aspirations to an integral part of ACCA’s plan. Once ACCA had its strategy set, it only made sense to mirror the approach in all business decisions – including those related to their enterprise architecture and supporting software.
In true accountancy style, ACCA took a systematic approach to finding an alternative solution. They assessed three vendor solutions: GL Wand, Oracle SQL Developer and Hubble – each scored against the categories: Security, Reliability/Integrity, Drilldown Functionality, Flexibility, GUI, and Read-only. Slowey suspected that Hubble was the type of product needed at ACCA, and sought buy-in from everyone who sat in on the demos.
“Before we purchased, we knew that Hubble was tested and proven. We ran a POC (proof of concept) evaluation assessment using our own data and the results gave us great confidence in the solution. We achieved 100% of the functional goals and 94% of the aspirational goals set for this exercise.” - Paul Slowey, ACCA
Reaping Results from Day One
In December 2014, ACCA implemented Hubble and hit the ground running. With no hardware to install, Slowey and his teams were using the software in a matter of days. In his own words, “the benefits for us were immediate and the solution quickly proved its reliability.”
Post implementation, ACCA experienced 80% time savings when creating reports and reduced reconciliation from half a day to approximately half an hour. The team also reduced its dependance on IT and was able to create and run reports themselves. The Finance teams’ day-to-day processes were rejuvenated by their ability to create custom hierarchies and templates with tables, and allow calculations for certain modules that were accessible to everyone. Users were finally self-serving and able to manipulate real-time data however and whenever they pleased.
Three-way drill down capabilities within Hubble allowed complete access to Oracle financials modules without any security issues. ACCA Finance users were floored and IT was finally freed. “I’ve never seen so many cheesy grins," said Slowey. "Grown men were giving me a hug. Finance Managers also love it, and I'd often hear comments of surprised delight."
“With quality software, you need quality people and the Hubble team has both in abundance. The team at insightsoftware.com are a real asset. From day one I have found the Hubble ‘family’ to be very professional, knowledgeable and extremely approachable and friendly.”- Paul Slowey, ACCA