Intelligent CIO Africa Issue 74 | Page 52

Insight Consulting helped the business , through a close and open relationship with Vaughan and his team , to follow a bottom-up planning approach with the software , where the individual subsidiaries across different regions were able to plan their own budgets and forecasts .
By integrating with insights gathered from the group ’ s business intelligence software , The Meridian Group was able to gain full visibility of raw material all the way to the finished product and then developed a proper demand plan for the holding company .
This demand-supply planning approach had a direct impact on procurement and The Meridian Group was able to integrate that into the income statement and balance sheet across the entire business .
“ That ’ s how planning should work : find out what the main business challenge is and then use the best available software and processes to alleviate that challenge and streamline the business ,” said Vaughan . currencies and following different procedures in different regions ,” he said .
When errors are made , they can have a big impact , he said .
“ Over the years , our organisation – and probably many others with operations as diverse as ours – had been running a set of highly complicated consolidated budgets on an annual basis . This is a mammoth task and there wasn ’ t much scope for in-depth scenario planning – or at least at the level that an organisation needs to be agile and proactive .”
Vaughan said that the benefits of having a shared tool outweigh the time and effort of getting various subsidiaries and users on board . One of the most pleasing outcomes of the implementation , said Vaughan , was the development of a unified culture of corporate excellence , across units and regions .
The challenges
Vaughan said that when an organisation grows organically there are a number of legacy systems in place , with individuals with a great deal of institutional knowledge in key positions .
“ You find that you have an inordinate amount of reliance on these key resources , which becomes problematic because you ’ re working with different people , different data sources , using multiple
“ Relationships are key for me in this role ,” said Vaughan , “ because I ’ m not a technocrat . You need to be able to work with a business partner and have trust that your partner will help you assimilate tools that will make a meaningful impact in the business . You must-have faith that the technology your partner is presenting is not just to make money but a real , meaningful solution to a problem that has been identified in the business , with a plan to solve that problem in the least amount of time and with the least disruptions .”
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