Case Study: Build and Implement Capital Budget Planning Application

Client: Global Information Management Firm

Function: IT Department

Project: Build and Implement Capital Budget Planning Application

The Business Process Automation Challenge

A large, global organization wanted to automate its’ yearly IT capital budget planning process. The client utilizes a bottom-up approach to create the IT capital budget utilizing dozens of spreadsheets from across the organization to be consolidated by the IT Finance department. The IT capital budgets needed to be summed by accounts and projects for the use by various financial planning systems.

Problems experienced in the past included various spreadsheet templates being used, vocabularies of account names and cost centers misaligning and differing versions of capital planning spreadsheets. All of these issues delayed and hindered the capital planning process. The IT Finance team had difficulty consolidating the multiple sources of truth for reporting to the CIO and various VPs the status of cost center budgets and the final capital planning numbers.

The Solution

The problem was obvious. The IT Finance team had no control over data input; too many spreadsheets to consolidate and inconsistent data definitions were used throughout the organization. Simple Excel templates had been tried in the past, but they lacked security to ensure the correct data definitions were used and the multiple individual spreadsheets did not help the IT Finance team consolidate the capital planning information.

Tool Creation

Developing a customized application to support the capital planning process, Intellilink Solutions was able to provide a quickly deployed cost effective solution to our client’s business automation challenge by utilizing Intuit’s QuickBase. The application allowed the IT Finance organization to control the vocabulary used in the capital planning process. All accounts, projects and cost center information changes were controlled by the IT Finance team. The application, being web-based, supported multiple users from all across the country and provided a single database of capital planning information. This prevented multiple versions of budgets from existing and being confused with one another. IT Finance team could actively report the status of budgets for cost centers and projects as the most current information was always available in a single location.

Change Management

Automating a process does little to enhance performance unless a solid Change Management program is created to ensure buy-in with users. Recognizing this Intellilink Solutions created scenario based training materials and led live and web based training sessions with all the top managers within IT. Utilizing real data from the previous year’s capital planning budget, the training allowed the users to walk through every aspect of the capital budgeting process and to understand the benefits the automation provides to the users and the IT Finance team. Reinforcing actual benefits to the users during training helped “sell” the new tool and provided a strong message of support. Based on feedback from the training workshops numerous enhancements were made to the application to improve the support of the capital budgeting process.