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.

Aged-care provider revitalises planning

You know you need a new approach when you are forecasting out 72 months. Because aged Care provider Mckenzie needed a smarter way to plan, they turned to Jedox. Here’s what happened. 

Aged Care provider re-energises budgeting and financial reporting with Jedox

McKenzie Aged Care Group provides aged care services and accommodation for older Australians across the states in eastern Australia. McKenzie puts people first to support lifestyle, choice and independence. In this interview, Sam Perrin speaks with McKenzie Project Accountant, David Sherwood on how they used Jedox to make a positive contribution to their cornerstone values of empowerment, ownership and collaboration.

Naked Data: How did you start with Jedox?
David Sherwood, Project Accountant, McKenzie Aged Care: That’s an interesting story. A couple of years ago, I was working on a project that was ending, and one of my colleagues had been to talk to the CFO here about a tool that they were putting in. They wanted someone internally to own it. So I came over here and I found out they were putting in Jedox. At the time I didn’t know Jedox, but it was very much like TM1 and I knew TM1 very well.

Naked Data: What happened next?
David Sherwood, McKenzie Aged Care: We got the model working for actuals. With the recent upgrades to Jedox we are now able to drill-through to transactions in our Epicor Finance system easily. We’ve turned off Crystal Reports and Frx for our management reporting. Now Jedox does that for us.

Then we went to work on our budget and forecast models. The budget and forecast models are built at a very low-level of detail, and our forecast model is huge, and goes over 5 or 6 years. The models include P&L, Balance Sheet and Cash Flow, all integrated, all self-balancing. You feed in your P&L and starting balances and it rolls it all through.

Naked Data: Has Finance found Jedox easy to use?
David Sherwood, McKenzie Aged Care: Yes. Jedox has been a good project. I’ve enjoyed working with it. We create the reports ourselves. For example, I’ve created a report for the Directors of Nursing at our Aged Care facilities. They can review their monthly P&L and grab an account they want to look at, right-click, drill-through, and there’s the information. There’s far more we can do than we had ever anticipated. It’s been great.

Naked Data: How else are people using Jedox?
David Sherwood, McKenzie Aged Care: Our Directors of Nursing use a report – they probably don’t even realise the data is coming from Jedox since they’re end-users. They know to click on cells and expand rows, and then right-click on them to drill-down, but it’s all automatically refreshed when new data comes through in the monthly report. Everything updates for them.

We just give them a Jedox spreadsheet, and they can drill down to their transactions straight away. For example, we’re using it for the chefs in our kitchens. At the end of the month we just look at a report that shows their cost per resident, gives them a few graphs, and it’s all sourced out of Jedox. None of our operational people have to worry about it, for them it’s just an Excel spreadsheet.

We also do our external financial statements. We’ve got a management reporting hierarchy, and a hierarchy for financial statements. We give the auditors our financial statements and a cross-reference table, and off they go. That made it a lot simpler to produce our annual accounts. Once you understand what you can do with Jedox, it’s great. We want a new KPI? We add in a new rule, and there it is, done.

Naked Data: Have there been any IT issues along the way?
David Sherwood, McKenzie Aged Care: No, not really. The server sits within the world of IT and is backed-up and all that. But in terms of managing the models in Jedox, and for access, I determine what’s going to happen. We aren’t reliant on IT.

The main reason I talk to our IT is for an upgrade, to check the server machine is backed up and a snapshot is taken. Otherwise IT generally doesn’t come into it. The system just works.

Naked Data: Any further thoughts?
David Sherwood, McKenzie Aged Care: Having worked with TM1, I was happy to work with Jedox. I mean yes, TM1’s a nice product, but for well over $100,000 for basic budgeting and forecasting, whereas we did this for around $30,000. You can share Jedox with a lot more people at that price – and solve more business problems. Jedox does our actual reporting, it does our budgets, it does our forecasting. And as we grow, we can roll it out to our facilities easily. We’re developing 5 new facilities right now, so we’re looking at a strong growth path over the next 3-5 years.

Aged Care provider re-energises budgeting and financial reporting with Jedox

Solution Overview: Budgeting, Forecasting, Management and Facilities Reporting
Industry: Aged Care. 
Source System: Epicor

How a legal firm transformed planning and reporting with Jedox

Professional services firm Piper Alderman needed budgeting and management reporting capability that complemented their practice-management system, Aderant Expert.

Jedox Business Intelligence helps legal professional services Piper Alderman streamline management reporting and budgeting Piper Alderman is a full-service, commercial law firm with offices across Australia. The firm is committed to continual excellence in the practice of law, having been leading advisers to commercial interests across Australia for over 160 years. Piper Alderman’s success has seen it consistently ranked as one of Australia’s leading law firms and independently recognised as an outstanding legal provider.

In this interview with Piper’s Director of Finance, Tobias Crush, we discuss, their experiences with Naked Data, and how they’ve found Jedox for budgeting and management reporting.

Naked Data: How did you first hear about Jedox?
Tobias Crush, Director of Finance, Piper Alderman: I was looking at different cube-based technologies. I was aware of SQL-Server Analysis Services and I was looking for Finance-friendly products to meet our requirements. A key criteria was a user-interface with Excel, so we could Excel as an interaction and presentation layer.

Naked Data: So Jedox’s Excel interface was a strong point?
Tobias Crush, Piper Alderman: Yes, and the team has found Jedox very easy to use.

Naked Data: I believe that initially the IT department were more in favour of a Microsoft-centric solution?
Tobias Crush, Piper Alderman: Yes. The core skills in the IT team are Microsoft based. We did evaluate products that required us to first develop cubes in SQL Server / Analysis Services before we could use them. But running on SQL Server needed IT-technicians to make changes. For us, we needed a solution Finance could manage, without placing more dependency, or burden, on our IT. Jedox meant that if we needed to make changes, we could do it ourselves without putting a request in to IT. So our Jedox environment quietly sits there and does what we need it to do. It’s definitely low-maintenance from our IT team’s perspective.

Naked Data: You started with a Jedox Bootcamp. When Naked Data came in for the Bootcamp, what was your impression?
Tobias Crush, Piper Alderman: Really good. Naked Data came up with good solutions, put a lot of thought into how we could do things, how we could move forward. It was a really good experience. We’ve done more since, and we can still do even more. We’ve chipped the top of the iceberg, and we’ve not gotten down to water level yet.

Naked Data: Who was involved initially?
Tobias Crush, Piper Alderman: Our IT guys provided us with a server environment, then we connected to our Finance/Practice Management system (Aderant Expert) and created a financials cube. Then our finance manager also got hands-on checking data and setting up reports.

Naked Data: Was it easy for everyone to pick up initially?
Tobias Crush, Piper Alderman: Yes, people caught on immediately. A comment I’ve heard outside my office is “I love Jedox”.

Naked Data: What is it about Jedox that your staff enjoy so much?
Tobias Crush, Piper Alderman: Jedox is easy and flexible. There are many things in Excel that you can’t do with just a pivot-table, in that you can move your data around and format it exactly how you want it without manual manipulation. Jedox gives us that flexibility to manage how the data is presented and structured. Working through Excel is a familiar environment, so you don’t have to learn a new way of doing things.

Naked Data: What are some differences that Jedox has made?
Tobias Crush, Piper Alderman: Jedox has made reporting financials from our GL a lot more flexible and easier to manage. Jedox has saved a lot of time in the preparation phase. If we want to tweak something or change how we look at it, it’s really easy to do that. Before Jedox, it was quite an exercise – it wasn’t really easy to manage or be sure we had the right output, we had to open a manual every time we wanted to change something. Now with Jedox we’re much more confident, and it means that there is skills shared across the team rather than in one person.

Naked Data: Has there been anything that you didn’t originally envision using Jedox for?Tobias Crush, Piper Alderman: Originally we just planned to use Jedox for GL reporting. We then decided to use Jedox to replace our old budgeting tool. Jedox made our budgeting process a lot easier to manage and more flexible, which we hadn’t envisioned earlier.

Naked Data: How did you find the project management on implementation?
Tobias Crush, Piper Alderman: My experience in working with the Naked Data team has been very good. I found Basecamp [Project Collaboration tool] was beneficial for sharing documents, everyone was more than happy to communicate openly, if they weren’t onsite, on the phone. It was easy to pick up the phone and ask questions, from our end. Overall, I was very impressed with the way the guys ran the project. From my perspective it was a good experience, and when we’ve got support, it has continued to be a good experience.

Naked Data: Did the implementation exceed expectations?
Tobias Crush, Piper Alderman: Yes, it was good to see the goals were achieved. It made life so much easier. It didn’t take long to get together the reports that we wanted and use. It really was a pretty painless exercise by comparison to what we’d been doing.

Naked Data: Are there other uses you have planned?
Tobias Crush, Piper Alderman: At the moment, we have a profit sharing scheme that has historically been spreadsheet-based. Using Jedox for partner point entitlements and distributions, is a no-brainer, and we can estimate this in advance. We’d also like to be able to take some of the analysis we’ve done in Finance and share this in ways partners can easily understand through dashboards. From our budgeting perspective, another area is adding more HR data to enhance our expenses allocation methodology as well. We’ve also created new templates that non-finance people can use, so that we can show people where their budget is at, where they need to modify it, where they need to bring it on target.

Naked Data: Any last thoughts?
Tobias Crush, Piper Alderman: I had high hopes when we purchased the solution. When you start working with a new firm, you’re never entirely sure of what you’re going to get, but I’ve got to say, on both counts it’s been a great experience. It’s been a pleasure to do work with both the Jedox product and the Naked Data team in terms of their knowledge and their willingness to transfer knowledge and share it. Overall, it’s been a great experience.

Jedox Business Intelligence helps legal professional services Piper Alderman streamline management reporting and budgeting

Solution summary: Financial Reporting, Budgeting and Forecasting
Industry: Professional Services (Legal)
Source System/s: Aderant Expert 8.0

Jedox boosts financial accountability for not-for-profit

By improving Financial and Board Reporting and Budgeting and Forecasting, Interact Australia has fostered a culture of financial visibility and responsibility.

Jedox helps not-for-profit Interact Australia streamline management reporting and budgeting

Interact Australia is a not-for-profit that provides community, employment, training and hospitality services. The organisation provides services for Federal Australian Government including Job Services Australia and Disability Employment Services funded by the Victorian and Queensland state governments. 

As a not-for-profit, Interact’s charter is delivering as much value from its community services. However, effective financial management requires more than good-intentions. Here we speak with Phil Tankey, General Manager Corporate Services on how Jedox has helped Interact foster a culture of financial visibility and responsibility to manage their resources for better community outcomes.

Naked Data: What difference has Jedox made for Interact?
Phil Tankey, GM Corporate Services, Interact Australia: Jedox gives us the ability to access data easily and in real-time. We’ve improved our managers’ accountability because they can see their own numbers. And they’re expected to – accountability is really important for us! With Jedox, managers can drill-down and understand the information that applies to them in more detail. We’ve provided greater visibility – and greater accuracy.

Naked Data: What business issues did you originally face?
Phil Tankey, Interact Australia: We had our legacy accounting system, Attaché which had limited reporting. There were two main things we needed. Number one was more flexibility with reporting, and second was accessibility. Our Finance system only had a few users in head office, but we needed to share financials to people in the field as well. We needed to help them understand and manage their part of the organisation. The idea of using a BI [Business Intelligence] solution was to make sure they could access what they need rather than us just manually sending out reports when asked – obviously a clunky process.

Naked Data: So you wanted to empower the staff in the field and give them more insight?
Phil Tankey, Interact Australia: Yes, absolutely.

Naked Data: And what attracted you to Jedox initially?
Phil Tankey, Interact Australia: When we looked at Jedox, we saw we could improve things quickly. BI implementations can be long-winded and take time, but Jedox’s short implementation time was very attractive. Because it had an Excel feel to it, we could use it comfortably. This was especially important for the people in the field, as they weren’t that systems savvy – they’re operations people, not huge computer users. Instead of adding them to the Finance system, which meant learning all sorts of new skills, we could just hand them Jedox via Excel, which is really easy to get around. It was easy for them to adapt to.

Naked Data: How was knowledge transfer in practice?
Phil Tankey, Interact Australia: Our staff had reasonable Excel skills so the transfer was very smooth. They picked up on using the product well and it was easy for them to grasp the concepts.

Naked Data: Who now uses Jedox in your organisation?
Phil Tankey, Interact Australia: We have a combination of site managers, cost centre managers and Finance. All the people onsite use it for reporting and drilling-down when they need to check their P&L statements, and see how they’re going against budget. In Finance, we do corporate-level reporting and Board reporting as well.

Naked Data: You’ve worked with a few from our Naked Data team – how have you found us?
Phil Tankey, Interact Australia: We first started with a Jedox Bootcamp where Chris Mentor built the P&L model. Working with Chris was very good. I found it was easy to work with Chris, because he understood what we needed quickly. He appreciated what we wanted to achieve and had a very practical approach. We’ve also worked with Halim Joe. Halim always understands what we need. He always catches on very quickly, and I enjoy working one-on-one with him. He always gets the right results, we’re very happy with his work.

Naked Data: Angela Ho also worked on your model recently.
Phil Tankey, Interact Australia: Yes, and we now do Balance Sheet reporting with Jedox. We had Balance Sheet reporting before, but now it’s more sophisticated and we can run Cash-Flow reporting out of it. We wanted to take the data we were getting from the P&L, and input some budget and forecasts into the model.
I had a lot of confidence in how Angela did things, and it worked well. We got the outcomes, and it all happened in about a week. She set up a really good reporting system. I’ve been really happy with how everything’s worked and with the quality we‘ve received from Naked Data.

Naked Data: You mentioned one of the original challenges was less financial visibility than you were happy with. Has Jedox helped you in that regard?
Phil Tankey, Interact Australia: Yes, it certainly has. You feel like you’ve got your finger on the button a lot more, because Jedox provides us with information more readily. Things are easy to find, and Finance gets to be proactive. We can now review any cost centre P&L in seconds and during month-end we get more accuracy by quickly identifying possible errors. Rather than having to request a report from someone I can just look and find out exactly what I need. That certainly helps.
When I get queries from the CEO or the Board, I can address those queries myself. I can create ad-hoc reports quickly and analyse, which is really useful. With our Board reporting, we’ve got templates set up so that we can hit a button and have a report instantly. If I’m in a meeting and the Board want to see something, I can just bring it up straight away.

Naked Data: Are you using Jedox in ways you didn’t anticipate?
Phil Tankey, Interact Australia: One thing we have done is forecasting. We take the budgets and re-forecast two or three times a year, and do a full reforecast. When we first brought in Jedox in, I hadn’t anticipated being able to do that, but after we setup reporting, we realised what we could get out of it, so we started forecasting as well.

Naked Data: Looking to the future, what else will you use Jedox for?
Phil Tankey, Interact Australia: Greater analytics on labour costs. As services organisation, we are a labour intensive business. Right now, labour costs come through our underlying payroll system Chris21, which gets fed into our Finance system, and then that flows through to Jedox. We want to provide secure and confidential analysis of that data direct from Jedox.

Non-profit Budgeting and Forecasting with Jedox Business Intelligence

Summary Jedox Business Intelligence model: Management and Board Reporting, P&L, Balance Sheet, Cash Flow, transactional drill-through, Budgeting and Forecasting. Industry: not-for-profit Source system: Attaché.

How Jedox helps IT: An infrastructure overview

This paper answers questions common to IT managers to help understand and support Jedox deployments.

Jedox IT White Paper
How Jedox helps IT: A technical overview

When working with new organisations, I often find business users really champion Jedox because they can see immediately on how it can improve their business process efficiency and save them precious hours in a day.

As part of the procurement process, I sometimes find these business users must articulate technical fundamentals to their IT team. IT may prefer for a single vendor (perhaps a ‘mega’-vendor) and will want to ensure that Jedox, does not require major IT support.

To help this, I recently put together a brief white paper. By and large, I simply combined information from other Jedox  documents into a single overview.

It’s not an official Jedox document, but it may make it easier if you are in IT to help you understand how Jedox fits within your standard operating environment.

Jedox IT White Paper
Download here: How Jedox helps IT: A technical overview

Jedox Server Room

Council planning with Jedox

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.


Source: GL: Technology One – Finance One, SQL Server
Project: Long-term planning model

Better beverage budgeting with Jedox

De Bortoli Logo

De Bortoli Wines streamline budgeting with Jedox

De Bortoli Wines is a third generation family wine company, established in 1928. The winemaking philosophy is that great wine begins in the vineyard. With vineyards in some of Australia’s best known wine regions including the Yarra, King and Hunter Valleys. The Riverina produces the acclaimed Noble One and world-class premium varietal wines.

Anyone with experience in food and beverage production knows modelling these processes can be complex. From raw materials with expiry dates, to average costs versus standard cost for different parts along the supply chain. Fortunately, De Bortoli have some of the best and brightest working with them: their internal team actually developed a Jedox plug-in for the data integration tool Kettle. In this interview, we speak with Management Accountant Ian McLain, and Solutions Architect, Pieter van der Merwe about streamlining budgeting with Jedox.


Naked Data: Has Jedox made your budgeting easier?

Ian McLain, Management Accountant: Jedox Web has opened up a lot of new avenues. The branches can now enter their data directly and we can see them as they are updated and understand where in the workflow they are up to. Then the branch managers can review their input. It has cut out all that to-ing and fro-ing. The whole process is streamlined.

Pieter van der Merwe, Solutions Architect: Jedox Web has made a big difference. We used to send Excel spreadsheets out to the branches, and then get them back filled in, and then have to import these and make adjustments. But everyone gets access to Jedox Web, so it’s made a huge difference to our data collection and saved a lot of time.

Naked Data: How has your planning process benefited with Jedox?

Ian McLain, Management Accountant: Our pricing model has really benefited. We’re so much more precise now. We’re budgeting and planning by litres, we have a price list, discount and rebate structures based on our customer groups. For budgeting, we used to just take the budget from the year before and add on 3 percent. Now we can work in much more precise measurements, the results are more accurate. We can break down to any level of detail for variance analyses. Instead of trying to figure out whether or not we are under budget, we can see WHY we are or aren’t, we can see whether the discounts are too high, or if the litres produced are too low – or if the cost of goods is too high.

Pieter van der Merwe, Solutions Architect: Finance used to come to us with a general idea of what they wanted and then there would be back and forth as we tried to get an idea of what they wanted, now Finance comes to us with a model and says ‘build this’, and we can model it straight away in Jedox, linking to any operational data sources.

Naked Data: Does this mean you can model business processes more easily with Jedox?

Ian McLain, Management Accountant: Yes. It’s such a free format. For instance, at the moment we are building our own labour model. We used to just budget labour the same way as all the other departments, which did not provide enough detail to allow for meaningful analysis. Now we can extract straight off the payroll package, upload it straight into Jedox, and then have budgets right down to individual staff in the budget model. It’s fantastic for building your budget models on real time issues rather than dumping stuff out of the general ledger.

Naked Data: How quickly do you get to insight with Jedox?

Ian McLain, Management Accountant: Previously we used to update journals in the GL and then we would have to wait overnight for everything to update. We couldn’t get real-time data. That changed with Jedox, we now get info on the fly. When I’m in sales meetings, sales managers ask me if I can incorporate certain things into reports and plans, and I can do it there on the spot.

Naked Data: What next for De Bortoli and Jedox?

Ian McLain, Management Accountant: The writeback is useful for more than just budgeting. We are using this feature to record monthly comments on variances. At the moment we’re doing monthly forecasting as part of the budgeting cycle, but our next priority is rolling forecasting with Jedox.



Snapshot:​ ​​​ ​​Jedox budgeting & ​f​orecasting​ ​solution for beverage ​produc​er De Bortoli Wines.​Source​ systems​ include MFG Pro​.​