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Proof of Concept

Try before you buy - build a prototype model

Choosing the right corporate performance management solution is often a complex decision process. The first step is to be able to articulate the business problem and to identify an area of pain to use as the subject for a proof of concept (POC). The POC should take no more than a day or two to complete in terms of technical design and build.

We wanted a well-known solution and whilst there were a number of candidates, only one company, ICit, a leading IBM Cognos Business Partner in the UK, offered to run a proof of concept session using Robinsons’ own financial data. The demonstration went well and ICit was chosen as the supplier with the most expertise and dedication. We were also aware that ICit had  won several awards from IBM – Lee Cunliffe, Commercial Accountant, Robinsons Brewery

 

Preparation

The key to a successful POC is to choose a report or specific requirement that will enable you to assess whether the software can solve a business problem that has not been solved by other solutions (e.g. Excel) or that the business has outgrown.

The following is a checklist of information that should be prepared before the POC;

  1. Reports – examples of Management reports (current or future requirements), copy of existing Excel based spreadsheets are useful too.
  2. Sample Data – this may reside in an Excel spreadsheet or a csv file. The data needs to include data for each dimension (e.g. week, account code, product, etc.). Please refer to Appendix for an example file definition.
  3. Dimensions – a list of possible “dimensions” that will support the management reports. For example, List of Cost Centres, List of Products / Regions (if relevant), List of Accounts (plus mapping from management accounts to statutory account codes if statutory accounts required), List on Non-Financial Measures (e.g. Headcount, Number of Items, etc.)
  4. Business Rules – there may be a number of calculations that are required to calculate KPIs from base measures. These may already exist on Excel spreadsheets. For example; Gross Margin % = Gross Margin / Revenue, Average Price = Revenue / Qty
  5. Data cleansing/issues – a list of known data issues (e.g. imbalances between systems, poor data capture at source, inconsistent definitions, timing issues).
  6. wish list of future applications. This is useful to ensure that the first application can, if required, be linked to other applications later. Examples may include; Management Accounts Reporting Pack, Budgeting & Forecasting, Operational KPI reporting system, What If? scenario planning.
  7. Approximate number of users of the system, both now and in a year’s time.
  8. A list of source data systems, plus an indication of whether data can be extracted from these systems (i.e. is there a systems person on hand to assist with data extracts that may be restricted due to security) – ideally extracts should be prepared and sent to ICit in advance.

 

Resources

The anticipated resource requirements for the proof of concept will be:
Minimal one ICit Consultant – additional resource to be provided when necessary.
Relevant client personnel, where appropriate e.g. FD, Senior business analyst, end-users, IT security (only required if using client hardware).

 

Tasks

The following is an outline of the type of tasks that may be completed in order to produce a working prototype model (not all tasks may be necessary);

  1. Application Design – a quick review of application requirements, a review of data sources and format, then design business models and reporting structures.
  2. Application Build & Calculations – Create Reporting cube, Write rules scripts where applicable, Write metadata and data import processes and update routines (to synchronise with underlying ledger system), Design data input templates where necessary.
  3. Reporting build – Design and build output reports
  4. Documenting the Proof of Concept – the model outline to be presented using Excel, PowerPoint and the planning software used in the POC.

Cost

The proof of concept will require 1 day on-site. The work is non chargeable.

 

If you are interested in running a POC please call us or complete the contact form below

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