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AMSTERDAM -- Royal Ahold here has implemented arcplan Enterprise, the flagship business intelligence (BI) solution from arcplan, a Langenfeld, Germany-based vendor of process-centric BI software, to gather financial reporting information from Ahold's operating units and create consolidated reports for the retail conglomerate's executive board.
Each Ahold business unit collects financial details for their operation at each reporting period and sends them to the head office in Amsterdam. Once the information has been consolidated into a group report, business unit managers add comments and clarifications to the balance sheet and cash flow. The financial figures, together with the explanatory notes, are then sent to the board.
To make this process more efficient, the company launched a new project, known as 'Breezer', to modernize its management reporting by aligning the executive report's comments, explanations, and presentation much more closely with Ahold's key performance indicators. The company implemented a new financial consolidation system, Hyperion Financial Management (HFM), and then redesigned the executive report, integrating it with the arcplan software. The first executive board report went to management a little more than eight weeks later, due to arcplan's ability to integrate seamlessly with Ahold's existing systems.
"With one click we have the entire executive board report in a high-quality print format," said Ahold director, A&R reporting Steven van den Berg in a statement. "We will continue to develop the Breezer project along the same lines, leveraging the capabilities of arcplan Enterprise and HFM."
In the next phase of the Breezer project, Ahold will use the same arcplan and HFM system to provide interactive financial analysis. This analysis will allow corporate finance staff to drill down from the executive dashboard views to a more granular level of detail. The approach makes optimal use of the new executive report structure by using arcplan Enterprise's ability to combine intuitive dashboards with more powerful analytics in the same environment.
Notes van den Berg: "[W]e're looking forward to expanding the current framework. We can also see interesting opportunities in the CFO Cockpit Community, created by arcplan and [arcplan's Dutch partner] Partake Consulting, and believe that the Community will provide us with some new ideas for the ongoing evolution of our Breezer project."