Enfo and Länsförsäkringar Stockholm have been working together for over 10 years, a collaboration that gained a new dimension when, in 2016, they jointly implemented a migration and tie back of the existing solution for planning and follow up. The vision was to reallocate the work of the finance department so that 20% of their time would be used for data collection and 80% for analysis, a reversal of the existing situation. The old solution for planning and monitoring was antiquated, with Excel files used manually for support.
At the end of 2016, the first annual forecast was carried out using the new solution and it proved to be a success. Simplicity and speed were key to a good user experience and the support of users was an important success factor, even those who were unfamiliar with the routine use of the finance system. The solution has received a great deal of positive feedback and it paves the way for a sustainable solution that improves the day-to-day lives of employees. In addition, it has become easier for management to make good decisions and plan their resources; the early warning system making it possible to forecast the situation in, for example, two years, if no action is taken today. This creates proactivity and improves the preconditions for taking appropriate action.
- We are now in a situation in which each group manager spends in the region of 15 minutes a month making forecasts for the coming two years. Central Control supports the organisation in using the system as required, although the solution is very logical and user-friendly, says Katarina Henning, business controller at Länsförsäkringar Stockholm. Katarina also had a leading role in both the migration and the project.
With this monthly forecast, the new solution has given Länsförsäkringar Stockholm an opportunity to get down to detail level within areas of importance to the organisation. For example, together we have succeeded in automating the preparation of reports by integrating the various data sources into a common data layer. This common system supplies both the planning solution and reporting. The collation of data at a common level has many advantages; among other things, it makes the solution better adapted to the organisation and also makes it easier for users to understand follow-ups. Another bonus of carrying out forecasts every month as well as 24 months in advance, is that we save time. In principle, the Business Plan for the coming financial year is complete with the November forecast. This process, once so intensive and time consuming, now takes little longer than a monthly forecast.
This project has taken forecasting to a new level. However, in order to remain at the cutting edge, Länsförsäkringar Stockholm is continuously open to innovative new ideas for developing the organisation. While the project has been very successful in itself, another positive has been the identification new areas for development. The goal is for Central Control to become an active partner for the organisation. The next step of this journey is to contribute increasingly relevant information packaged in an easy-to-understand, user-friendly format – an idea we are now working to further.
The qualitative value of the solution is an improved basis for decision-making and a simplified working day for everyone involved in the forecasting process. The quantitative value is in the direct savings made by reducing the central control function by two controllers. These two people have instead been redeployed in the organisation to focus on products and services instead of forecast processes.
Katarina’s tips for a successful project:
- Set aside sufficient time – Even if certain changes may at first seem minor, the repercussions may be more complicated and demanding in terms of further investigation and time. So, make sure your timetable isn’t too tight and set aside time for changes.
- Make sure you obtain the right input from the right people – Determine who has the relevant knowledge and input for the success of the solution at the project planning phase, and make sure that they are available when you need them. Remember your end users, they are your most important stakeholders!
- Support within the team – Projects demand dedication and resources internally. In order to avoid delays, the project group must work close to the project. This also means that some of the day-to-day tasks will need to be delegated to someone else, as even in-house reports must be delivered on time. Discuss workloads before the project starts.
- Be prepared for your renewal project to be an iterative journey – Of course, proper planning and definitions are a must but plans and timetables will inevitable alter along the way as the project group learns more and develops over the course of the project. Dare to be agile!
- Continuous development – Business environments change and technology develops. We therefore need to understand and accept that our processes and solutions will never be complete or perfect. In order to be competitive, we must adapt our attitudes to continuous development in everything we do. Dare to develop with your solution!
Technical solutions that Länsförsäkringar Stockholm use to support the reporting and planning process
IBM Planning Analytics
IBM Cognos Analytics
Data warehouse in Microsoft SQL Server
Länsförsäkringar consists of 23 customer-owned, regional insurance companies whose collaboration offers major market advantages. This creates the opportunity for individual insurance companies to act in a completely customer-oriented manner while at the same time having the strength of a large company behind them. Länsförsäkringar Stockholm is active on the Stockholm region and has approximately 500,000 customers and 400 employees.