Published On: 26th Mar. 2021

Specsavers is a company with a vision based on, well, vision. This international optometry retailer began as a single location on the remote Channel Island of Guernsey. Founded by the husband and wife team of Doug and Mary Perkins, Specsavers has grown to more than 1,500 retail locations across the U.K., Europe, Australia, and New Zealand.

The secret to their success was two-fold. First was a commitment to offering a wide range of stylish eyewear at affordable prices. The second was using a joint venture partnership model that allowed optometrists to own their practices and focus on delivering quality care while letting the Specsavers corporate team handle back-of-house business services like payroll, purchasing, and finance.

As an international health-based retailer with a unique business structure, to say Specsavers has a complicated financial model is an understatement. The company daily deals with multiple national health payer systems, currencies, tax laws, and business systems. The need to manually input all that data into spreadsheets led to massive data silos, effectively walling management teams in more than one hundred cost centres from the vital information they needed to plan effectively.

Then things got worse.

The company had set an aggressive growth goal, but hit a wall trying to consolidate data into a single overall budget due to an error-prone and time-consuming manual data collection process. “We were living in a world of Excel silos,” says Matt Buckley, group planning and reporting lead for finance at Specsavers. “Inaccuracies increasingly threatened to throw business goals off course. We were in desperate need of a single version of the truth on which we could base current and future budgeting decisions.”

Integrating data systems for a 20/20 view of performance

To clarify its view of its business performance, the retailer adopted the Workday Adaptive Planning Business Planning Cloud in part for its seamless data source integration. Specsavers was able to integrate its Oracle ERP and COA Solutions Business Suite software with Workday Adaptive Planning to combine its core financial management data, procurement data, and human resources/payroll data together into one consistent, real-time view of performance.

“Adaptive Planning alleviated any fears in our leap to the cloud,” said Buckley. “It’s helping us produce error-free, standardized versions of our budgets, forecasts, and financial reporting that helps us make decisions with confidence in the data.”

Thanks to Workday Adaptive Planning’s’ ability to easily integrate data from 1,500 source systems, including general ledgers and other enterprise apps such as ERP, CRM, HR systems, and data warehouses, Specsavers was able to automatically aggregate and pre-populate its planning sheets with accurate data from the company’s general ledger and ERP systems, reducing planning time by 50%.

Focusing on what matters

With its new-found time, Specsavers has been able to use Workday Adaptive Planning to generate monthly tailored reports and model complex ‘what-if’ scenarios to help drive hiring decisions and validate new investments in the business.

“Workday Adaptive Planning offers Specsavers visibility into all of our key performance metrics all through a single pane of glass. We can rest assured that this information is both accurate and up-to-date, which is vital when we’re planning and making predictions,” says Buckley. “It has allowed us to drive discussions based on a single view of the entire business, giving us the historic picture that allows us to look forward based on real trends, proving that the entire business can now benefit from a more collaborative, better informed and empowered finance team.”

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