Selecting a suitable Performance Management (EPM) solution is not easy – that’s why VodafoneZiggo used a thorough selection process. Applying use cases and involving the users during the entire selection process gave insight into the needs. Thus, a substantiated choice was made for the solution that best suited the goals, resulting in a smooth start of the implementation project.
The wish for a new EPM solution had existed for quite some time. Sarita Sewnarain, Manager Technical Reporting at VodafoneZiggo: “The time was not right before. After the joint venture between Vodafone Group and Liberty Global, we needed more time harmonizing reporting structures to make a more successful transition to an EPM solution. In recent years we have worked step-by-step to standardize this. The users are now ready for an integrated reporting system.”
“The selection process was a logical next step to further simplifying various processes after the merger of the two companies. You cannot start painting the house before the structural construction is complete,” adds Julius Ronner, Head of FP&A at VodafoneZiggo.
“We were looking for an integrated end-to-end system, which enables us to facilitate people as “One Finance” with a tool that allows them to focus on their core activities”
Establishing shared goals during tool selection
An essential element of the tool selection is unearthing the shared goals that VodafoneZiggo wants to achieve with the new system as part of the “Go Digital” strategy. Julius: “For us, that meant further professionalization of the reporting & control cycle. We wanted to automate manual activities and free up time for value-added activities, strengthening the role of Business Control and FP&A. We also wanted to improve the forecast processes; more insights, available faster and with less work.”
“We were looking for an integrated end-to-end system, which enables us to facilitate people as “One Finance” with a tool that allows them to focus on their core activities,” Sarita continues.
Attractive employer thanks to the right tools
In addition to functional goals, another reason is often considered during selection processes: attracting new people. “Recently, I have been hearing this last reason more and more. Companies want to offer a good technological perspective in the current tight labor market,” says Tom Borsboom, consultant at Finext and closely involved in the selection process at VodafoneZiggo.
Being an appealing employer is undoubtedly an essential consideration for VodafoneZiggo. Julius: “People want to work in a state-of-the-art professional environment and be proud of the experience and knowledge they gain. Nobody wants to work for a company where they still work with carbon paper, so to speak.”
Dealing with the complexity of finance
VodafoneZiggo’s financial domain is complex, with 250 financials, different systems, and end-to-end finance processes. The selection process involved users Finance-wide to do justice to this complexity.
“For each topic, we looked in-depth into use cases with the users, instead of just assessing the commercial demo,” says Sarita. She is enthusiastic about the method used: “I will use this approach for the rest of my career; this was the foundation of the selection.”
The users’ opinion is key
Not only users from business control were involved but also from financial control, accounting, external reporting, and IT. Julius: “The users know what they need and encounter.”
Another key success factor was documenting each step. Not only the ratings were noted, but also the textual feedback. Julius: “This enabled us to look at the facts. We compared several things: the functional requirements and more technical aspects such as the degree of integration and the required interfaces.”
Detailed substantiation by users is the deciding factor
During a tool selection, all kinds of dilemmas arise. This is also the case at VodafoneZiggo. For example, choosing between a platform solution or a combination of point solutions. Another example is the extent to which it is possible to deviate from the existing preference for one organization-wide software vendor during tool selection.
The selection team worked towards a shortlist based on all the longlist’s input. Ultimately, the choice falls on OneStream. The detailed substantiation by the users and the situation at VodafoneZiggo were decisive.
Unbiased guidance tool selection
Looking back, Julius found the selection process quite intensive. “A selection process confronts you with making choices. We each knew what we wanted, but you don’t precisely know what the others want. Bringing that together and making it tangible is tough. I also found it instructive to spar with other departments and learn to understand their processes.”
Sarita and Julius are thrilled about the guidance from Finext. Julius: “We chose Finext because of the knowledge, the flexible approach, and the culture. The Finext consultants frequently asked us: ‘are you sure this is what you mean because we often see it done differently’. We wanted the opportunity to spar together and strive for best practices. Moreover, they take the knowledge of the selection process with them to the implementation phase.”
Another reason to choose Finext is its impartiality. Tom: “We are independent of software vendors and have years of experience selecting and implementing all major EPM solutions. This allows us to provide independent advice on the pros and cons of the various systems.”
” The time you spend on the selection will pay off later through the choices made and the preparation for the implementation.”
Supported choice and savings on implementation
The careful approach yields clear benefits. Julius: “First of all, we were able to look at the tools in an integrated manner. In addition, this approach resulted in a supported choice. Also, the extensive recording of the considerations convinced the internal stakeholders and got the implementation team off to a good start. This resulted in savings during the implementation and the decision to involve our finance teams in a co-build implementation approach.”
The tool selection positively impacts Sarita’s team: “It is interesting for the Technical Reporting team that we are now turning our wish into a reality. Our goal is that users can get the most out of OneStream and experience its full benefits.”
Investment in extensive tool selection pays off
The team at VodafoneZiggo recommends an extensive selection process. Julius: “The investment is worth it. The time you spend on the selection will pay off later through the choices made and the preparation for the implementation.”