IDU | Budgeting Forecasting and Reporting Solutions: January 2017

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

IDU a winning investment for GPI Slots

IDU creates transparency and ownership throughout the budgeting process at GPI Slots
GPI Slots is a division of Sun International, a company listed on the JSE Limited with investments and operations in the South African gaming and leisure industry.
GPI Slots found their existing budgeting process to be cumbersome, time-consuming and fragmented. It became clear that there was a real need to remodel the existing system to be more streamlined and offer an accurate, timely financial plan, which was integrated with and related to actual performance.
The group also runs a number of different ERP solutions that suit the individual business unit requirements for financial transaction processing and reporting. However to bring this information together at month-end was challenging and heavily reliant on complicated spreadsheets.
To streamline this process required standardisation of ERP's and charts of accounts across the group or the implementation of a tool to interact with multiple financial systems and provide a single composite view for the group. The implementation of IDU offered the best solution.
GPI Slots implemented the idu-Concept Financial Budgeting and Financial Reporting Modules in 2016 to address these requirements.
“Since implementing IDU, reporting at has improved immensely and the budget process is being completed far more efficiently, streamlining the cycle considerably”. – Shaun Barends, General Manager of Group Finance.
Previously, with central budgets, there was little transparency and ownership engendered in the budget process and consequently little accountability assumed for the end product.
In the IDU environment budget capture is decentralised and this has created true transparency and a good general feeling of ownership which will translate into accountability when variances against budget start to be measured.
IDU has definitely reduced the time taken to complete budgets and this year, having extended the use to more budget types, we are beginning to realise the true potential of the tool.
Creating budgets by individual has also been an eye opener in terms of its ease of use and, again, the transparency this has created around the make-up of our personnel costs.

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Size Does Matter

Image result for big vs small

There is a perception that selecting a large brand name software supplier is the safe choice; that there are fewer risks involved. I’m here to tell you that size does matter, but not in the way you might expect.

Let’s look at a large software supplier. In most cases, large suppliers mean large costs. Not because they necessarily can but because they have higher overheads – more staff, larger premises, bigger bills. As they grow – which they inevitably do – these overheads grow too. Somebody has to pay … The chances are it will be the customer.

And the cost isn’t only financial. Customer experience is also likely to suffer. Your agreement will ensure support services, but what will they look like? An auto-response mail or telephone call, speaking to a call centre who needs to refer to their superior, who needs to check with the manager, and good luck trying to call back and speak to the same call centre agent.

Having an account manager doesn’t really mean much, as bigger businesses are shifting constantly. Staff are moved around, not just between clients but between departments, and staff turnover is often high. There is no personal relationship between yourself and the brand.

And none of this takes into account the rate of large businesses acquiring each other, or merging, leading to entire brand ethos shifts. With no relationship, there is no personal responsibility and no real accountability.

I have been trying to figure out where the misconception lies with small businesses. Small doesn’t mean unestablished. Small isn’t a result of an inability to grow. Small doesn’t relate to the number or the quality of clients. ‘Small’ is usually a conscious decision by ownership to keep their business niche and consequently focused, resulting in high levels of product- and customer-centricity.

Smaller may mean fewer staff, but they are usually the best in their niche. They are experts and, more importantly, they understand their clients’ businesses. Instead of investing in diversifying their offering, they invest in constantly learning and improving on their current offering. Small can often mean a higher-quality product.

In a small, niche-focused business, whether you are dealing with the sales team, the developers, the account manager or even the CEO – they are generally only a call away, not hidden behind the mask of a faceless automated call centre routing machine! There is tight accountability with every person being personally invested in making the best product and providing the best service, because they are part of a team.

When managing risk, size definitely does matter, but the misconception of big is best I fundamentally believe is just that – a misconception!

  • Thought leadership: Do they know their stuff? Will their product retain its relevance in a changing landscape?
  • Client references: Big or small, find out who their clients are and how they deliver on their product or service.
  • Longevity: While a new company is not inherently bad, the knowledge that your future partner has been around for more than a year or two does provide some comfort.
  • Strategic partners: Who do they work with to ensure that you get the best version of everything you might need? Who invests in them and partners with them?
Published in ASA Magazine December 2016