Author Archives: David Upton

About David Upton

Director at Naked Data. I empower business users to improve planning, reporting and analytics. I’ve specialised in information management for over 18 years and I'm passionate about intuitive technology and good design to pragmatically solve business challenges.

Reinventing retail performance – part 4

The courage to experiment

There is a basic assumption in marketing that you need to experiment with A/B testing. Do you get more conversions through the web page with the green “buy now”, or a red “compare price” button?

No experienced marketer ignores data that can improve campaign effectiveness.

A/B testing was popularized through advocates like John Merriam in the early 20th century, when mail-order catalogs were common. Advertisers then paid by word count and ad size. Sound familiar? Their focus, like with google adwords or sponsored facebook stories today, was to maximize effectiveness at minimum cost.

When it comes to planning, it is unwise to assume that investing money, time, and effort on new initiatives will automatically achieve the expected outcome.

That may be fine when your organization and people are doing things they’ve successfully done many times before.

When you’re innovating, trying new things, you have to be ready to sometimes fail. Marketers understand experimentation well.

So do modern IT departments where traditional highly structured ‘waterfall’ based projects have evolved into business-driven projects which agilely iterate towards achieving business goals. They expect to ‘learn’ while they ‘do’.

But strategic planning and annual budgeting often seems to continue planning more reminiscent of a 5-year centrally planned economy, than a dynamic retail environment.

There is the top-down planning, by the people who are paid to lead; the bottom-up planning by the people who are paid to do – and some kind of uncomfortable merging to make these fit.

It’s no wonder that they disconnect, when they don’t even start with the same value drivers.

Apparel retailer C&A use driver-based cost planning and variance analysis to measure performance against the actual value drivers – not just financial metrics.

900 suppliers from 40 countries and 37,500 staff provide for over 2 million customers daily across 1,500 stores in 21 countries.

Their key to success was to make it clearly-defined for store managers to understand in operational terms, through an on-demand, and easy way for stores to quickly communicate changes to management.

Management use the value-drivers to construct a compelling narrative for the organization to believe in and align around.

A critical consideration was empowering technology. C&A employed Jedox because it unified planning, forecasting and reporting so anyone could review KPIs and seamlessly adjust plans in one place. Critically, Jedox was easy to use. The modern platform available from any mobile device meant minimum training and support.

C&A stores are empowered to understand how they directly contribute to corporate performance. They communicate to store support and back office services with common language.




This is Part 4 in a series on retail value-drivers, how companies use them in planning, reporting and analysis and lessons for mid-sized retailers to punch above their weight and better share information.

Part 1 here
Part 2 here
Part 3 here

The gap between how a retailer (tries) to present itself, and how a consumer actually perceives it comes down to alignment. To provide a consistent experience to the customer, you must ensure business departments align with each other, and with your strategy.

While business divisions exist for different reasons, how they report, analyze and plan is very similar. By unifying these activities using and agile platform, departments can collaborate using common value drivers on shared data.



Reinventing retail performance – part 3

Essential new ways to unify your people, data, and process for unfair advantage

Why do you need value drivers?

In this an example, a retailer has around 200 stores, operating on slim margins. They’ve used strategies to reduce overheads and improve cross-channel selling, including using poorer performing stores as online fulfilment centers, and using pop-up stores to shift slow-moving stock.

These were fine strategies, but hit snags in execution. The information shared between management and operations, didn’t clearly articulate the plan, or provide enough feedback, so neither management nor operations really understood how they were going.

This year management are starting again.

Strategy Planning

The disconnect between strategy and execution played out again.

Existing divisions couldn’t change their existing practices, and work together effectively to bring about goals.

Each business department filtered and interpreted the goals into language they could understand. If the goal related to an area outside their business function, they ignored it. Departments didn’t understand or value what other parts of the business where doing, because the information they shared with each other used no common terms of reference.

It’s normal for operational budgeting and planning to be seen as a task based on prior year data, instead of an opportunity to communicate strategy.

If departments operate in silos and focus on their own business function, they have no common language in the retail value-drivers that they measure themselves against.

At best, they risk losing out on opportunities to work together to achieve common corporate goals.

At worst, they work against each other, measuring their own performance against conflicting KPIs while your laudable strategic goals end up diffused, delayed, and disrupted.

Withholding information hurts efficiency. It also hurts sales. In fact, information asymmetry often stops a sale. Not enough information is often why the shopper puts the product back on the shelf.

The gap between how a brand (tries) to present itself, and how a consumer actually perceives it comes down to alignment. To provide a consistent experience to the customer, you must ensure business departments align with each other, and with your strategy.



This is Part 3 in a series on retail value-drivers, how companies use them in planning, reporting and analysis and lessons for mid-sized retailers to punch above their weight and better share information.

Start with Part 1 here

The gap between how a retailer (tries) to present itself, and how a consumer actually perceives it comes down to alignment. To provide a consistent experience to the customer, you must ensure business departments align with each other, and with your strategy.

While business divisions exist for different reasons, how they report, analyze and plan is very similar. By unifying these activities using and agile platform, departments can collaborate using common value drivers on shared data.


jedox retail

Reinventing retail performance – part 2

Essential new ways to unify your people, data, and process for unfair advantage

How you communicate

Value drivers literally measure the activities that create value.

Value drivers help you reinforce strategy. They are more intuitive and meaningful than traditional financial measures.

Lagging indicators like GM ROI (Gross Margin, Return on Investment), current value, and tangible assets are conventional performance management indicators. These describe company-wide performance, but mean little to HR, Stores, IT and Merchandise – basically anyone outside of senior management or Finance.

Financial measures show the effect of strategy, but say nothing about why you are performing the way you are – or how each department might improve.

By focusing on underlying value drivers, you measure, plan and improve the activities that impact sales and profitability – wherever people sit in the organization.

The best performing retailers draw insights from past performance into forward-looking targets that align business results with corporate strategy.

Drivers like footfall (number of people who walk into a store) are intuitive enough to be understood by anyone in the organization. When you target increasing conversion rates, (turning lookers into buyers), every department has a different job to achieve the goal. This means innovation. HR for example, might change recruitment focus from store managers, with a focus on inventory management to ones which are sales trainers.

The essence of value drivers is not new. Strategy Maps and Balance Scorecards translate high-level goals into measurable operational outcomes across different business functions. And what gets measured, gets managed – Lord Kelvin said back in 1883 “if you cannot measure it, you cannot improve it”.

What’s changed is availability of data – lots of data.

There are three prerequisites to align on value drivers.

  • Select the right value drivers
    It’s not about picking the most obvious ones. Use modelling and sensitivity analysis based on historical and external data to identify which drivers make the highest impact.
  • Correlate relationship between functional activity and value drivers.
    The crucial translation from the past to the future. This means more data, and more modelling. Working from your gut, or what people already know, means you only repeat the past.
  • Frequent feedback loops to measure and adjust performance.
    Value drivers must be measurable (ideally derived from operational system data) and made available to everyone in easy-to-understand and easy-to-use formats, like mobile apps.


This is Part 2 in a series on retail value-drivers, how companies use them in planning, reporting and analysis and lessons for mid-sized retailers to punch above their weight and better share information.

See Part 1 here

The gap between how a retailer (tries) to present itself, and how a consumer actually perceives it comes down to alignment. To provide a consistent experience to the customer, you must ensure business departments align with each other, and with your strategy.

While business divisions exist for different reasons, how they report, analyze and plan is very similar. By unifying these activities using and agile platform, departments can collaborate using common value drivers on shared data.

jedox retail

Reinventing retail performance – part 1

Essential new ways to unify your people, data, and process for unfair advantage


Data is at the heart of new retail. Consumers are walking, tweeting, data distributors.

The online channel is no longer separate. In a world where shoppers are online, all the time, the retailer must provide a unified experience across every consumer interaction.

Analytics and channel optimization is at the heart of new retail. Agile technology enables channel-specific and context-sensitive customer engagement. While online retailers briefly had the advantage, in-store analytics now give bricks-and-mortar the tools to fight back and bring more traffic to stores, higher shopper engagement, and deeper loyalty.

Not that it’ easy, because the environment keeps shifting. Disruptive new business models, from subscription commerce, to consumer-to-consumer and on-demand, are based on loyalty to retailer, loyalty to brand, and on convenience. Consumers now seek convenience and personalization at every stage of the shopping journey. The world has changed.

Or has it? If you’re the CEO of a medium sized retailer, it’s nice to hear Amazon invests 6% of sales in technology to compete on analytics, but how can you keep up?

As a medium-sized retailer, chances are that there are a few fundamentals needed in aligning strategy with execution. You need to unify data and business processes along your networked supply chain. Before you optimize your price, promotions, ranging, space, stock, customer lifecycle, and marketing mix, you need to align goals and behavior between your business departments.

To create alignment, you need to start talking the same language based on a common understanding of value-creation.


This series introduces retail value-drivers, how companies use them in planning, reporting and analysis and lessons for mid-sized retailers to punch above their weight and better share information.

Read Part 2 here



Find profit in procurement

Effective procurement is critical to staying up-to-date with supplier capacity, managing sudden changes in demand, optimising cash flow, and controlling costs without sacrificing quality. Yet How do you demonstrate your savings on the bottom line?

This interview between Sam Perrin and 2k Managing Director and procurement expert, Christian Kiock examines how Jedox is helping organisations find profit in procurement. 


Sam Perrin, Naked Data: Let’s start with how you came across Jedox in the first place.

Christian Kiock, MD, 2k My business partner used to work at Daimler, where he worked with a technology similar to Jedox, they share similar roots. He did some research and came across Jedox, and we used it for internal purposes initially, for planning and reporting and procurement optimisation. Over time we used it more and more and saw a lot more potential applications for it.

We used Jedox for the sort of analyses you would normally do in Excel, and it made things so much faster. Our clients didn’t know it was being used, they just saw the project running ahead of schedule. Obviously we really liked it. Excel chaos is prevalent in most organisations, and also in most consulting projects. Using Jedox made our projects much more efficient and really benefited our clients. We were very happy with it.

Sam Perrin, Naked Data:  You’re procurement specialists at 2k. Before we talk about your projects, can you describe procurement?

Christian Kiock, 2k: Procurement is a very important function of a business. There is direct procurement for companies that have a manufacturing department, where procurement is crucial to business operations. In service organisations, procurement might not contribute directly to the product that the company sells, but in theory, procurement should be in charge of every good or service that enters the business.

It’s a highly important department within the organisation. Historically it’s not had the standing and visibility it really deserves. It tends to be seen as a department that deals with transactional purchase orders, requests. On the strategic side of things, the benefits that procurement can offer are often not valued highly enough.

Naked Data: What are some of the reasons for this?

Christian Kiock, 2k: It’s important to show management the contribution that good procurement makes. This means showing them how much you save, how much those measures and cost savings initiatives that were devised have achieved, and the results that makes to the bottom line. You need transparency for that, you need efficient processes to monitor and manage those results. Unfortunately, when that happens in Excel, you can’t provide that transparency.

There’s also a historical issue. If you’re the person who carries out procurement orders but you can’t see your contribution to the bottom line, then it can be difficult to assume that role. It makes it different to implement a strategy when you are not aware of what you contribute to the business.

There’s a saying in Germany, “der Gewinn liegt im Einkauf” (profit lies in procurement). It’s very true. If you buy something 5% cheaper then, depending on your sales margins, you can work out how much you would have to increase your sales to achieve the same effect on the bottom line. So procurement is incredibly important.

Naked Data: Specific to BI, what are the main challenges you’ve seen around procurement in some of the organisations you’ve worked with?

If you want to make sure your contribution is seen, you need data transparency across the organisation. You’re using data from different parts of the organisation. You need to know the sales planning, as this affects production planning, which affects materials bought.
Good sales planning is not always readily available, as lots of source systems tend to be in data silos or just inaccessible and lot of procurement gets done in Excel.

This makes it difficult for organisations to effectively procure goods, which is a huge priority. So much time is wasted in analysis and reporting, and you don’t get around to effective procurement.

Also in indirect procurement there is often little transparency regarding spend patterns and optimisation opportunities. This is a vast opportunity that business intelligence can help exploit.

Naked Data: How does Jedox streamline procurement?

Christian Kiock, 2k: Jedox solves these issues very well, as its automated data integration mean you easily combine data from different sources and modules. You combine information from production and operations with supplier information, making planning very efficient. It’s not just about analysis and reporting, it’s also about looking forward and planning, which is one of Jedox’s strengths.

By combining those advantages, you have real time insight on what’s going on in your organisation and where savings can be made. Then you plan and monitor savings initiatives. You then report back, with automated, high-quality information, to your superiors, which leads to buy-in from your top management. As you present the information easily and efficiently in a way that is easy to understand and work with, which is another impressive side of Jedox.

Simply put, Jedox gives procurement the tools to do their job more efficiently and effectively.

Naked Data: Let’s talk about some of your favourite projects over the years.

Christian Kiock, 2k: There are three projects that have been quite challenging and very interesting.

Reaching international sales quotas 
The first project is supplier planning for a global leasing company, managing their planning processes globally across over 30 entities and materials to be bought from each supplier. The problem was two-fold.

One was that they wanted to plan cost-savings initiatives, then track and report on them efficiently across different companies. Previously it was done in Excel, which was a right old chaos. With Jedox, that improved almost immediately.

The other problem was that there were Supply Chain Analysisglobally and nationally preferred suppliers. Whenever you reached a certain quota from one supplier, you got bonuses, rebates and such, and sometimes the different agreements cannibalise each other.

For instance, if nationally you have a contract with company A, and internationally you have one with company B, then the entity in e.g. Spain may have more of an incentive to buy from A, with whom they have a quota to meet. Yet by doing that, they might miss an international quota from B, which, worst case scenario, means that everyone in the globe misses out on a quota, and foregoes their bonus with B. So obviously it’s very important to measure and manage those quotas, to make sure the overall benefit is achieved for everyone. That needs to be planned, and that had previously been done in Excel, which made it very difficult to compile and manage. We used Jedox to create a very cool supplier planning tool.

Supplier planning demand forecasting

Another project was supplier planning, cost-optimisation and demand forecasting. They used SAP, but the production planning module didn’t speak with the supplier module, so there was a lack of data – and extensive Excel-based processes.

Product demand changes all the time. Many organisations do production plans once a year, but they change constantly as the year goes on. Now this organisation can review their data in Jedox, they adjust their plan regularly and they always know current demands. They know what they need from different buying centres across the globe, for some 20,000 entities, which in Excel was a miserable task. KPIs appear up automatically, thresholds are made transparent, aiding analysis.

Ultimately, Jedox’s planning capability, which makes it so powerful, is why you need it for a project like this. You know actual demands, how you currently stand, and if it changes you’ll know immediately. You know if there are suppliers at better prices than the ones you’re currently getting. And you know if these suppliers have capacity left, so it’s not just whether or not they can theoretically supply you. Then you use Jedox Web to allow suppliers to directly enter their capacity and fulfil your demands, so you know if you can switch suppliers or not, rounding off the whole package. When you fully utilise all the strengths of Jedox, from the planning to the web, you can really optimise your procurement costs. It’s a very comprehensive solution.


Purchase planning
The third project is also quite large. We’re working with an online retailing giant, developing a large purchase planning tool for more than 100 buyers. They plan their purchase for the next year and season across different suppliers and price categories, it has some quite complex models in the background. The project leverages Jedox reporting and dashboard capability too.

Have there been any applications of Jedox which have been quite outside the box?
We developed a law suit reporting application, which is certainly not a classical use of BI. We were working with another industry giant, which had a tool they used to track all their active and passive law suits. They have very large contracts, so there is often a lot at stake.

Originally, they pulled information out with Excel, testing for changes in cells. If there were changes, there had been activity in that suit – easy to miss. They consolidated suits that needed further analysis.

We streamlined the entire business process Sales-3with Jedox. The solution is web-based, and all lawyers and law practices input information concerning suits. There’s also a value estimate concerning how much is at risk financially. Now they have a good overview of where cases are and aren’t progressing, because Jedox has optimised reporting. They used to use a few detours to make data useable, but we sorted that out using Jedox in no time.

Naked Data: Where you’ve worked with large global enterprise, what has been the biggest advantage of Jedox over an older mega-vendor BI tool?

Christian Kiock, 2k: There are two main advantages, apart from the value of course – you don’t get stung by outrageous maintenance price jumps every year. First, Jedox takes relationships with clients seriously. You can get direct contact with board-level members. We’ve had meetings with large industry companies and Jedox directors were there, in a meeting for a few hours. You can’t get that level of trust from the likes of SAP or Oracle. A more agile organisation can be more flexible when it comes to accommodating clients.

Second is the ease-of-use – the intuitiveness. The Education Ministry for the Federal State of Berlin is in charge of over 800 schools and approximately 270,000 pupils. It’s a huge organisation, and we implemented Jedox there for student data analytics, amongst other things. The cool thing was that they trained two people to administer and to help adjust the solution to new business requirements. Because Jedox is so easy to learn, they got the hang of it quite quickly, and they independently discovered a lot of internal applications for Jedox.

They’d put a few cubes and dimensions together, and you had another business process that was streamlined. There was no need to set up a project, no need for consultants. They were empowered and managed to solve internal process problems completely independently with Jedox.

And that’s also something you don’t get from a big provider. That agility, that ease-of-use. If you’ve got SAP and you want a new solution or application, you’ve got to set up a project, get budget approval, and get external consultants in. Most people don’t because it takes forever. So you do it in Excel, because you know your way around it, but it’s nowhere near as efficient and has a huge risk for errors. Jedox takes away all that stress.

Naked Data: Let’s look at the future. What’s your ideal position with Jedox in two years’ time?

Christian Kiock, 2k: To be working closely with Jedox in the procurement field. We’ve just done a few Jedox webinars on procurement. Our position is as Jedox experts who really know BI when it comes to procurement. I plan to strengthen that link.
The development trajectory Jedox has shown in the last few years will continue. The solution just goes from strength to strength. What I love about Jedox is that it’s so flexible, there’s so many things you can do with it. If you really know your stuff, and of course I’m lucky enough to work with a lot of people who do, then you can develop very cool solutions. The sky is the limit.

Jedox solution: Procurement
Featured industries: Education, Retail, Wholesale, Manufacturing, Property/Leasing

Jedox Apps in manufacturing & wholesale


Recently we interviewed GWA on how Jedox initially highlighted source data issues and helped them drive a culture that took data more seriously. 
One of  my favourite quotes was the answer to how many people in the business supported their Jedox:  “One. Not even one full-time employee.”  We’ve heard of lean-manufacturing but what about when you apply this to your information-based business processes? To help illustrate how efficient GWA have been, we’ve summarised just some of the business applications they use Jedox for. 

Corporate Consolidations

Post organisational restructure meant reporting Financials for other businesses. The changes meant four businesses which require detail reporting in their own chart of accounts and complex mapping and consolidated reporting for the GWA Group for P&L Balance Sheet and Cash Flow.

Enterprise Budgeting and Forecasting

Comprehensive budgeting process from payroll, expenses, revenue drivers, sales and automatically calculating direct costs including customer freight accounts and line haul freight accounts.

Stock Management System

Monthly and Daily products claims, and information related to it, like customer, dates. The daily model is to support the operational view, including what is outstanding/pending, and what was closed yesterday. Every time a customer returns a product, this tracks the action. The monthly model generates KPIs by customers, warehouses, products, including claims by user, customer, processing days for each stage in the process, and days to be returned.

Inventory & Stock Management with Jedox

Inventory & Stock Management with Jedox

Sales & Inventory Analytics

The sales model details daily product analysis including by customer, currency, division, sales type.
By analysing historical sales pattern and stock consumption, you can improve their stock allocation in warehouses across the country. Stock turnover rates provide invaluable information on best-seller and order priorities.

GWA Caroma  Inventory & Sales Analytics with Jedox

Sales Forecasting

Based on customers’ historical purchases across various channel, forecasting algorithms produce a sales plan which would which becomes the input for the manufacturing schedule.

Users enter their monthly plans by product group. It enables collaboration across the organisation for sales plans and a group consolidated view. Planning is for both individual manufactured products, and for products collections sold as a separate product, called an ‘assembly’.

Jedox is flexible, so it often ends up streamlining all types of business processes in a way that is easy for users, because you don’t eliminate Excel – just the drawbacks. 
If you have some interesting ways your company uses Jedox, we’d love to hear from you!
GWA use Jedox for Performance Management

The one thing you should do before you implement Business Intelligence

Would you like to change an airplane engine while in-flight? Business Intelligence and Performance Management materially improve your corporate planning and reporting processes. But sometimes you expose problems that no one realised you had. Be prepared to shake things up. 

Always up for a challenge, our team worked with GWA Bathroom & Kitchens to initially deploy Jedox deep within the budget cycle. What we found may surprise you. GWA Group designs, manufactures, imports and distributes domestic and commercial building fixtures and fittings and employs over 1,600 staff in Australasia. If you’ve ever been to a bathroom in Australia, you probably know their brands. GWA have been using Jedox intensively for over 4 years, including for Enterprise Budgeting & Forecasting, Daily Sales Reporting, Stock Management/Product Claims KPI’s, Consolidations & Management Reporting, and Inventory Analytics. In this interview with GWA Bathroom and Kitchen’s Commercial Manager, Malcom Dagg, we discuss the journey from before Jedox, the issues that surfaced during initial implementation, and the results today. 

Making manufacturing more agile with Jedox

GWA use Jedox across the organisation

Naked Data: You mentioned Malcolm, that there was an absolute lack of data before Jedox. It was inaccessible?
Malcom Dagg, Commercial Manager, GWA: Yes, – your typical scenario with an ERP system. End-users had limited access to queries that IT had written to run a particular report to give them a filtered dump of information. There was no structure to that, other than what was there, and it was a limited data set.

Naked Data: Did you find that before Jedox there was controversy over the actual source of truth? Were you getting different answers when you read the data?
Malcom Dagg, Commercial Manager, GWA: Oh absolutely. We got different outcomes with respect to interpretation of sales numbers. One version would include something, another version wouldn’t. Nobody really understood. Other than the person who wrote it, nobody would understand what drove that difference.

Naked Data: So when Jedox came along, and you got access to data. Did that make an immediate change?
Malcom Dagg, Commercial Manager, GWA: We were literally in our budget cycle as we were finishing initial deployment, so for the first time it actually enabled us to get both a customer and product view in one data set. The other thing – and I think this was critical – is that ERP systems (often by the flexibility that comes with them), can allow for a lot of unconstrained data relationships. In other words, you can freely enter values into specific fields. While the field might have some validation and make sense on its own, when you look at it in the context of other fields, it doesn’t make sense – there’s no hierarchy or structure to it. Because of the structured approach Jedox demands you to start validating that data, we saw immediately that there were source data integrity issues.

Consolidations & Management Reporting, and Inventory Analytics.

Naked Data: So when the data validation initially popped up, what was the response? What actions were taken?
Malcom Dagg, Commercial Manager, GWA: It forced us to change some internal processes, particularly around product management, and coding of things like state codes and regions, product grouping and categories, so they were consistent. Previously people didn’t appreciate why this was important. All of a sudden they saw the data popping out in the wrong place on reports. They expected a product to fall in under a particular hierarchy, and instead it was under a different hierarchy – one that didn’t make sense. We were able to demonstrate very clearly that that was the outcome of poor source data.

Naked Data: 4 years ago now, you conducted a big study on different BI [Business Intelligence] options including Jedox. What did you consider?
Malcom Dagg, Commercial Manager, GWA: We looked at a range of products and technologies, from Microsoft Analysis Services through to Jedox. I was familiar with TM1 which had become part of the Cognos IBM BI/PM portfolio. I had a lot of knowledge around the traditional Cognos product as well. We looked at all of those. Then there was substantial internal debate. We assessed the product options and ran with Jedox.

Naked Data: What motivated you to choose Jedox?
Malcom Dagg, Commercial Manager, GWA: There were four things: Total Cost of Ownership was a consideration. Performance was another. Flexible writeback capability was paramount – that was a drop-dead decision point, and fourth, the confidence in the implementation [Naked Data] team. Because Jedox was in-memory and in many ways similar to TM1, (and I was very familiar with TM1) I knew that we weren’t overpaying for the same functionality, but we were easily getting equal technology.

GWA use Jedox for Performance Management

To make your bathroom shinier, just add Jedox

Naked Data: So with Jedox, you’ve been able to achieve what you would have been able to with comparative products of a much higher price?
Malcom Dagg, Commercial Manager, GWA: Absolutely. It’s about the level of optimisation that you get and the performance in the technology is absolutely paramount. There is no point using up all your budget on software and leaving nothing for the implementation. The implementation is where to the software’s potential into a solution for your business. You need people who are skilled in not just cutting basic code, but really working with you to optimise the business outcome. So for me, that’s the value you get from Naked Data’s expertise.

Naked Data: Looking at the changes Jedox has made in your business over the few years – obviously there have been huge gains in terms of data access and the planning you can now do with that data – what has that meant for the company?
Malcom Dagg, Commercial Manager, GWA: I’ll give you an example. We integrated two businesses about this time last year, and we haven’t integrated the two ERP systems. However, we’ve been able to bring the data together in a unified model by importing and translating data into Jedox. This enabled us to effectively manage and run the business as if it was operating on one platform. So that’s greatly aided our ability to manage a much larger consolidated business. We’ve also found from a product/sales/customer analytics point of view that we get much deeper insight than we were previously able to get.

On a more human scale, I had an experience the other day, where someone had to get hold of information very quickly. They said “I normally get it out of another platform, I have to go through a few different steps” and I said “Well, let’s just see if we can do this with Jedox”, and within a couple of minutes we had a live Jedox spreadsheet. The user said “wow, that makes my life so much easier”.

Naked Data: And how many people work at the back end? Maintaining the Jedox system, running the budget cycle, addressing other people’s queries?
Malcom Dagg, Commercial Manager, GWA: One. Not even one full-time employee. There are two business people, both combined less than one full-time equivalent, supporting the product.

Naked Data: So IT support is minimal?
Malcom Dagg, Commercial Manager, GWA: IT play an important role in BI implementations and BI applications are an opportunity for IT-shops to reduce business demands on them for data extraction and report writing. Once data structures are in place, BI should largely be an end-user application. Mature IT shops look at self-service BI positively and see the demand from users for information and reports diminishes because it is now easily available, particularly finance and sales teams. Importantly, you get one version of the truth.


GWA Use Jedox


Jedox empower the George Institute for Global Health with Budgeting and Consoildations

Not-for-profit makes a change with global consolidations, management reporting, and budgeting

How do you help five billion people?

It’s well-proven that Jedox provides high Return on Investment because business and Finance love how Jedox empowers you to work more efficiently and you need little IT-support. The secret is that this helps you whatever industry you work in, and one place we’ve discovered Jedox really make a difference is in Community and Non-Profit organisations. It’s one thing to ‘improve shareholder value’ – another altogether to help some of the five billion people without reliable access to essential health care.

Jedox Budgeting & Consolidations

The George Institute for Global Health is a worldwide research organisation, with projects in over 50 countries and dedicated to improving the health and living conditions of millions of people. It has been ranked among the top 10 research institutions in the world for scientific impact.

With complex projects in multiple countries, the Institute needs efficient management processes for planning and project administration. Here Naked Data’s Sam Perrin interviews Management Accountant, Timothy Fung on how Jedox is making a difference at The George Institute.


Naked Data: What were you inspired by with Jedox initially?

Timothy Fung, The George Institute: Finance needed to report and plan easily without placing heavy demands on Finance staff. Our existing reporting software couldn’t quickly pull data from our Financial System [General Ledger: Microsoft Dynamics GP /Great Plains]. Each month we needed days to put management reports together. Our existing tool didn’t support budgeting or forecasting, and because our global projects are complex, we needed to drill-through to transactions to understand what was going on, and what made up the numbers.

So that was what we needed! Jedox was flexible to allow design from the ground-up rather than combining different tools for reporting, planning, dashboards and so-on which made it easy for Finance to manage. We discovered Naked Data and Jedox via word-of-mouth from another company which had positive experience with both.

Jedox help medical organisations like the George Institute for Global Health with Business Intelligence & Analytics

Planning and Budgeting for projects in over 50 countries is complex

Naked Data: What was the first move?

Timothy Fung, The George Institute: Naked Data first came in two years ago and focused on reporting from the General Ledger. Since then, our reporting has been online and we can access any time period, anytime. As the business has grown more complex, we’ve continued to add more data and new reporting.

The speed of getting information is fantastic. All reports are already set up so all we do is hit refresh. I can create new reports myself even though I do not have knowledge of computer programming. For quick and ad-hoc reporting, we can paste a live view out in any format we like. In the past, users would come and ask me for help and depending on the problem, it could take ages. Depending on the requests it can take as little as a few seconds to get the information needed because paste view is very easy to use.

Jedox is perfect for Not for Profits for budgeting & consolidated reporting

GIG projects health issues around the world

Naked Data: What did you tackle next?

Timothy Fung, The George Institute: The next target was our budgeting. Budgeting was convoluted. We had over 10 divisions, running over 50 projects with each budget prepared on a separate spreadsheet. If a change was required on the spreadsheet, we had to change every individual file. The collation process was tedious and it took days to compile.

So we set up Jedox models for all parts of our budgeting, including our complex payroll model. We designed some new processes from scratch and went through the design process iteratively with Naked Data and got regular feedback from end users.

Naked Data: How did you find working with Halim (Naked Data consultant Halim Joe)?

Timothy Fung, The George Institute: Halim has very good customer service, and very thorough. He has enabled pretty much everything. One of my goals at the moment is to find something that he can’t answer, and I cannot say for certain that I have found it.

If you are not using Jedox yet, you need to get your brain scanned

Jedox analytics helps improve project efficacy and financial management

Naked Data: What happened when you rolled out budgeting?

Timothy Fung, The George Institute: We rolled the solution out globally and empowered budget holders to own their budgets and gave them easier and quicker access to the information they needed. We pushed budget preparation to the project owners, rather than Finance doing it.

Naked Data: What next for the George Institute?

Timothy Fung, The George Institute: We have further enhanced our budget models since they were rolled out initially and added activity reporting. As far as Great Plains goes, Jedox has currently utilised the GL and we want to include AR in the future and integrate it with our Jedox reporting and modelling.

Snapshot: Jedox Project Global Consolidations, Management Reporting and Budgeting
Industry: Not for profit
Source data: Microsoft Dynamics GP;  SQL Server; Payroll system


Logistics intelligence

From little things, big things grow – how to manage consolidation complexity in a finance-friendly way.

In this interview we take a look at a ‘bread and butter’ Jedox use that you can see the world-over – Corporate Consolidations (yay!). However, this case is a little more complex than most and an example of how Business Intelligence projects often need to work in reality. Within a tight timeframe, the project team must live with a lot of ambiguity, and have with the confidence that their approach of continuous iterative efforts will gradually enable them to build up a comprehensive solution. The results are compelling. 

McAleese Group is a leading Australian provider of specialised transport and logistics solutions across Australia. The newly-formed group brought together over 2000 employees in 15 separate companies – each with their own financial systems and unique chart of accounts. In this interview, with Sam Perrin, the General Manager of Finance, Colin Petrie discusses how McAleese is leveraging Jedox to consolidate 15 separate ledgers structures into a single view to enable management visibility and empower decision making.

McAleese Transport use Jedox to consolidate across 15 separate and very different ledgers

Naked Data: What has been the main benefit of working with Jedox at McAleese?
Colin Petrie, General Manager Finance: The group had recently made a major acquisition, which introduced a number of additional companies and general ledger systems. There was no common way of reporting across the various businesses. There was a mix of general ledger systems with cost centre hierarchies and others with a flat design. We were using Excel for our reporting and also to perform manual consolidation. There was no common chart of accounts or automated consolidation across the 15 different general ledger systems.

We implemented Jedox in a few months and reported the whole of the previous year, running Jedox parallel through that period. Then we used Jedox for the year-end consolidation and close.

Naked Data: It sounds like you had some fairly complex business challenges to solve!
Colin Petrie, General Manager Finance: We identified that we didn’t have the systems or processes to report the larger group results on an ongoing basis in a timely manner. We saw Jedox as a tool that could enable us to quickly establish a common platform and consolidation process across the group. First priority was to scope out the project and engage a business partner to assist us.

With 15 different ledgers, maintained by separate IT and Finance teams, it was clear there was going to be a significant amount of technical work to extract data from these systems. The mapping process would involve a considerable amount of work, due to the different account structures used across the multiple systems. We also identified the need to develop a new common chartered account structure across the group. We also wanted to develop reporting to enable both statutory reporting and for use and production of our management reports.

As an approach, we wanted to make the project as efficient as possible and minimise the interruption to the day-to-day processes within each business. We assembled a small project team to work on this as a dedicated project and engage with relevant people within the business.

Naked Data: What was it about Jedox that initially got your attention?
Colin Petrie, General Manager Finance: The larger McAleese group had just been formed, and we needed a common platform, but weren’t in a position to deploy a single ERP system across all businesses. We were therefore looking for a solution that could sit across the various General Ledger systems and therefore provide us with a common reporting platform.

What I liked about Jedox was it had depth to help us manage our complexity but was still intuitive and finance-friendly. Having had exposure to other products, I largely knew what we needed. I’d previously had exposure to TM1. With the complexity of disparate chart accounts and a lot of business processes to map and bed down, I knew we needed a solution similar to TM1 that provided flexibility at a comparatively low operating cost. However, I also needed to ensure that we weren’t hit with high licence fees and ongoing maintenance costs.

Our vision wasn’t simply a consolidation tool at the group level, but to enable management reporting for each distinct business, so it was critical we had both a fast and easy to use tool; complemented by a sustainable licence model that didn’t hold us back us from rolling out across the organisation.

The McAleese Jedox model does some heavy lifting to bring all the data together

Naked Data: How did you go about selecting Jedox?
Colin Petrie, General Manager Finance: We needed something that was easy to use and could grow with our business and quickly adapt to changes and which we could support internally. We initially lined up a demonstration with Naked Data. Naked Data were very quick to turnaround a sample model using our own data, which was really helpful because it provided tangible proof of what we could deliver with Jedox.

We conducted reference checks. I was familiar with the environments and systems which two of the referees provided, and I was able to gain comfort that they had been able to successfully deploy and use Jedox in their organisations. This gave me a lot of comfort and really reinforced my confidence in the tool.

Naked Data: Were there challenges getting IT on board?
Colin Petrie, General Manager Finance: No. Installation of Jedox was supported by a management team and our IT department. Our IT team were part of the project team and worked closely with the Naked Data consultants.

Naked Data: A project that defines new business and reporting processes sounds like a challenge to scope upfront, especially on a tight deadline. Can you tell us more about the implementation itself?
Colin Petrie, General Manager Finance: We engaged a Naked Data consultant (Angelo Ho) on a full-time basis throughout the project, working alongside our internal project team. We engaged regularly with Angela and Chris (Naked Data director Chris Mentor) on the project and project deliverables. We also recruited and trained a person experienced in BI that could support us and manage Jedox on an ongoing basis. The selected candidate had previous experience with TM1 and was able to quickly get up to speed with Jedox.

One of the best things about the implementation was that the mandate from the CFO meant I didn’t have to deal with bureaucracy. Initially we scoped the broader project with Naked Data. With ambiguities in many areas, we agreed to work on a time/materials approach that enabled us to refine what we did iteratively. Angela [Naked Data consultant, Angela Ho] worked alongside us constantly onsite. Angela liaised with Naked Data principal, Chris Mentor regularly on timeline and budget, but we ran the project as if Angela worked for us. From then on, the project hung on two things – knowing what we wanted and Angela’s proficiency in delivering that.

Naked Data: How did you find Angela’s work?
Colin Petrie, General Manager Finance: Angela was good. The project wouldn’t have succeeded without her. She was able to understand the business structures, and what we were trying to do. We did the account mapping, and the team was able to take a concept that I had and design the Jedox model, create the automated load and extraction processes and build in checks and balances. The iterative approach meant we could rapidly refine the design as we discovered more, and Jedox lends itself to this type of approach perfectly. The documentation Angela wrote was great which made it easy for our team to take ownership. As a solution Jedox has provided us with much needed visibility and reporting. Angela’s role was instrumental to the success of the project

Naked Data: What’s next for Jedox and McAleese?
The various Finance teams from each business are coming on board now that we have started producing management reports. Next we need to build forecast models and create a forecast environment. That’s going to be relatively straightforward [Jedox enables forecasting out of the box]. The next significant project is getting sales and transactional data, then expand into the detail budget modelling. We will build all the budgets in Jedox.


Business function: Corporate consolidations with Jedox
Industry: Transport & Logistics. Source system: MAPICS, S2000, MYOB, Freight2020

Automating automotive reporting and planning in China

To create a self-service information culture, look at your approach not just the technology

Working at Naked Data has a very international flavour and consulting takes our team to all places – even to the wintery climes of northern China. Here we find a joint venture between a global manufacturer of high-performance and prestige vehicles and a local automotive firm. Operations include production, sales and after-sales services of cars across China.

Last December, the Manager Controlling commenced their Jedox project with Naked Data consultant, Halim Joe. I really like this project because the organisation and people share our philosophy of empowering business users – we prefer to teach people how to fish and become self-reliant, so they can become brilliant Jedox users. In this interview, we discuss their experiences in the first few weeks with Jedox and Naked Data.

Naked Data: You’ve just commenced your Jedox project. How is it going?
Manager Controlling: The Jedox project has been going now for a couple of weeks. Halim, (our Naked Data consultant) has done a great job. It’s not so much an implementation project – instead I really wanted Halim to teach our people so that they can help themselves – so they can work on their own, without consultant support after the implementation.
We had our Naked Data consultant leading the room – he demonstrated the concept, and our team worked on it afterwards themselves. The amount of implementation he’s done without the teaching would have taken three or four days, but the teaching and the discussion delivers much more value than just the implementation. We’ve been really happy with Halim and having a Chinese-speaking consultant has helped a lot.

Naked Data: What attracted you to Jedox initially?
Manager Controlling: Regarding Jedox, I started ten years ago with SAP Business Warehouse and Strategic Enterprise Management, and then we implemented Infor’s PM10 [MIS Alea] on a project. Since I’ve been in China I’ve wanted to implement something like this solution.

Jedox was similar to MIS Alea, and I knew MIS Alea very well. The products are designed to solve the same types of business problems, but the Excel integration has a different look-and-feel in Jedox. As long as I have a multi-dimensional database, with Excel integration, I know what I can achieve. The Web and the ETL on Jedox are very nice.


Another brilliant day to be in the office

Naked Data: What is this project’s goal?
Manager Controlling: To have consistent data within the organisation, so that we can have one source of truth with a convenient reporting function.

Naked Data: And are you confident that Naked Data will be able to deliver?
Manager Controlling: I don’t have to be confident – I can already see the results. The initial reporting has been very good quality work. I probably could have done this implementation myself, but it would have taken much longer. And with the input of Naked Data, I’ve been able to deliver a much better solution and a much more robust solution that I could have done by myself.

Naked Data: What are the long-term benefits for your organisation that you see coming from this project?
Manager Controlling: Faster reporting cycles, consistent reporting and an improvement in data quality. And since Jedox is flexible, we can extend it to other areas. At the moment we do cost-centre reporting, but soon we can do material cost controlling, and Long-Term Planning, can build more and more models and get them integrated. And since we have one consistent master-dataset, we are sure that the reporting is consistent over the whole data landscape.

Jedox is used in China for automotive manufacturer for planning and reporting

Another day in a city of a few million you’ve never heard of

Jedox model: Long Term Planning, Cost controlling and reporting from SAP. 
Industry: Automotive, Manufacturing.
Location: China