Sunshine Coast Council optimise long-term planning with Jedox
Located south of the glorious Great Barrier Reef, Sunshine Coast Council formed in 2008 in Queensland, Australia after the amalgamation of three separate councils. Each individual council had a separate ledger in separate Financial system. It was difficult to access the information required to report and drive their planning process. Here we speak with Wayne Jensen, Manager Financial Planning & Performance at the Sunshine Coast Council on their recent Jedox project with Naked Data consultant, Halim Joe.
Naked Data: What was it about Jedox that initially got your attention?
Wayne Jensen, Manager Financial Planning & Performance: The number one thing about Jedox was that it was built around an Excel interface. This meant no translation into an unfamiliar environment. It was easy to migrate across from our current systems, and this certainly grabbed our attention. For reporting and data analysis, we wanted Jedox so we could to get a more holistic view of the data and be able to spot trends in the data coming from payroll and finance.
Naked Data: Which other options did you consider?
Wayne Jensen, Manager Financial Planning & Performance: We already had a home-grown attempt at using Microsoft SQL Server. We didn’t have the budget for TM1, but still looked at Cognos Express in detail. We found it to be clunky by comparison, and with a restricted budget couldn’t look at a full Cognos implementation. We were already more than happy with the Jedox tool, and Cognos Express simply didn’t stack up.
We understood Jedox’s fast implementation time early on and this made it attractive. As part of our diligence, we had done our research, including speaking and visiting other organisations using Jedox. This confirmed we had a quick implementation process, and Jedox didn’t involve specialised IT training.
Naked Data: How was this initiative considered within the business?
Wayne Jensen, Manager Financial Planning & Performance: Finance had started a project for BI [Business Intelligence] reporting and monitoring. As Finance, we had particular objectives, such as being able to identify information which would assist management to get a snapshot of the business in terms of KPIs, so that they could take immediate action where necessary. Finance needed something simple and easy-to-use, but IT had something different in mind. IT was trying to build something that wouldn’t be available for a few years, but we wanted something we could use now.
Naked Data: Was it easy to find common ground between Finance and IT?
Wayne Jensen, Manager Financial Planning & Performance: At the start, we needed to work to get our IT team on board. Initially they had their own preference. Their project was homegrown – they had been building from scratch, using SSIS [Microsoft SQL Server Integration Services] to pull data from other systems into a SSAS [Analysis Services] cube and then run Sharepoint over that. It was a complex process to try develop and it took a lot of input from IT and specialised technicians.
At Sunshine Coast Council, Finance depend on IT for access the data from finance, payroll, and property management systems. Our main interest was IT support for our initiative. We needed a long-term financial model that we could manage and securely existed within the IT operating environment – trust and open communication made things run more smoothly.
Naked Data:How did you start?
Wayne Jensen, Manager Financial Planning & Performance: We began with a one-week Naked Data Bootcamp. Working with [Naked Data consultant] Halim onsite was great. We felt very comfortable and confident that Halim understood exactly what we were looking for. He was able to provide advice and deliver exactly what we wanted.
IT had been developing an ad-hoc reporting systems – 6 months on a particular report, and Halim was able to replicate that in a day. This was showed us that Jedox could play a significant role in the organisation’s future.
Naked Data: Are you planning to expand Jedox in the future?
Wayne Jensen, Manager Financial Planning & Performance: Certainly. Low ongoing costs and rapid implementation time were initial drawcards, and we’ve been very happy with Naked Data’s support. From our Finance perspective, we initially needed something we could be confident in pulling through data, and doing forecasting and scenario analysis in front of senior management, and Naked Data with Jedox have certainly delivered that. There is every chance that Jedox will expand to more budgeting and reporting in the future.