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The Electricity Supply Board (ESB) of Ireland has contracted Decision Inc. UK to help manage its migration to SAP-BPC as it undertook a significant finance transformation programme to improve its operations and become more efficient.

About the Electricity Supply Board (ESB)

The Electricity Supply Board (ESB) is the premier energy company of Ireland.

It is responsible for energy generation in the country and operates the distribution networks of electricity and gas. The ESB also sells electricity and gas to business and residential customers.

The ESB is composed of several distinct, separate, and legally demarcated companies. The principal companies are:

  • ESB Networks Limited
  • ESB Generation and Wholesale Markets
  • Electric Ireland
  • ESB International Limited
  • Northern Ireland Electricity

The requirement

The ESB undertook a finance transformation programme (FiTP) aimed at transforming the finance function to provide better support to the business and to enable it to operate more efficiently.

To help accomplish this, the ESB introduced a new planning, budgeting, and forecasting (PBF) process to provide clearer and more transparent links between its strategic principles and operations. This would provide visibility of how top-down group targets drive business unit plans.

Furthermore, it would mean all business units could adopt a common and integrated planning process. The associated transparency would promote enhanced business responsibility and accountability and reduce PBF timelines. The system would also mean the ESB would have access to more accurate and credible planning numbers and be less reliant on traditional spreadsheets.

This could only be achieved with the implementation of a new PBF application. As such, the ESB chose SAP-BPC NetWeaver v10 due to its flexibility and integration with the existing SAP-ECC, SAP-BW, and Business Objects solutions installed at the organisation. NetWeaver would also support the new proposed PBF process.

The solution

Given the importance of the project, the ESB opted for a low risk approach and selected Decision Inc. UK as the best delivery partner. It wanted a niche provider that understood how to make the best use of SAP-BPC and maximise the benefits around the PBF processes.

Decision Inc. UK would provide the ESB with deep technology expertise. It also demonstrated a clear understanding of the new PBF processes and required best practices.

A key challenge of the implementation would be to find a common solution the various business units of the ESB could adopt, each having their own unique requirements. Fortunately, the strong design capability of Decision Inc. UK secured user agreement on the design at an early stage of the project.

The solution would be divided into a financial planning application and a non-financial planning one. The former would incorporate elements that include group standard and business unit-specific driver-based models, 24-month rolling forecasts, 10 year strategic planning, multi-currency planning, and ability to support more than 150 users.

From the non-financial planning side, the solution would support the manual entry of non-financial KPIs, automation of financial KPIs, and the ability to interface with SAP-BW and SAP Business Objects.

The result

Decision Inc. UK not only completed the project on time and within budget, but also met the desired scope of the ESB.

It achieved all the expected benefits with the solution supporting a more transparent, integrated, and streamlined PBF process.

Currently, SAP-BPC is providing clear visibility between strategic targets and business unit financial plans. It is also giving users easy access to transparent plans. Using SAP-BPC, the original PBF effort and timescales have been reduced by more than 50%. And thanks to a visible reduction of spreadsheets, significant data integrity improvements have been made at the ESB.

About Decision Inc.

Decision Inc. is a global leader in information-driven transformation with a core focus on data, digital and performance intelligence. Our expertise in technology and industry specialisations have enabled us to help companies around the world make better decisions faster. Our emphasis on local excellence and global scale enables us to bring clients best of breed technology solutions that enable significant improvement whilst leveraging our Global Research and Innovation teams to accelerate the time to insight. Our local consulting teams are experts in the implementation, support and execution of these solutions and work with our clients to deliver real results and improvement.