Integrated group planning & control at SPL TELE
Dual benefits: More efficient workflow-based group planning and improved commercialization facilitated by the enhancement of the company's own software product
With Board, SPL TELE replaced its Excel solution with an integrated, workflow-based corporate planning system in just three months to make reporting, analysis, and planning significantly more efficient. At the same time, the company used the Board platform to enhance its own software product "Rimo - Gives Control" with analysis options and process support for its customers. This gave the service expert in the telecommunications sector a flexible and powerful solution for managing its own business and a product that it can market to both its own customers and to interested external parties.
- Industry: Energy & Utilities, Telecommunications
- Department: Finance, HR, Sales
- Employees: 450
- Projects per year: 800
- Established: 1996
The company: A family business operating as a full-service provider in telecommunications
SPL TELE is a family business with 450 employees. Since spinning off from Siemens AG in 2003, SPL TELE has seen steady development as a full-service provider of telecommunications infrastructures for mobile and fixed networks. The company is a respected and reliable partner for network operators, both in terms of network renewal and maintenance. SPL TELE is already the market leader in Austria and is expanding in Germany. The portfolio also includes services in the non-telco area, logistics and transport solutions, e-mobility, and customized products and tools.
SPL TELE also develops and markets the "Rimo - Gives Control" software. Rimo has two primary functions:
- Projectplus supports planning, control, and monitoring of projects as a fully integrated solution across all company processes
- Cableplus supports the management, planning, and expansion of passive networks.
The challenge: Analyzing growing volumes of data is time-consuming and inflexible
SPL TELE was looking for a solution that would make reporting, planning, and analysis much easier, more flexible, and faster for the company. Until then, it had been using Excel to create evaluations and reports. The volume of data to be analyzed was significant:
- Approx. 400,000 time entries p.a.
- 800 projects
- 100,000 individual orders
- 500,000 goods movements p.a.
Complexity continued to increase due to the large number of projects involving 60 employees, six dimensions, two planning versions, and the constant use of two systems (ERP and the planning environment). Data entry and consolidation were already challenging and error-prone. Florian Schütz, CEO of SPL TELE explains:
The preparation of the data was extremely time-consuming for us and the performance of the evaluations was not satisfactory. Joint evaluations of technical data from our Rimo system and commercial data from the ERP were not possible at all.
A similar picture emerged when it came to reporting.
We had to struggle with a high time investment and correspondingly high costs in order to create fairly rigid reports in the end.
In addition, an outdated tool was in use for planning, which increasingly proved to be inflexible and unable to meet modern requirements.
The goal was to find a solution that would enable a high level of agility in planning and analysis so employees can work together on a unified system based on workflow. This will make the flow of information faster and the processes more transparent. Florian Schütz notes:
We had in mind a tool that would significantly reduce the time required for planning and reporting through targeted process control. We wanted to use the time thus gained for things for which there was no time before. This is an important point, especially for fast-growing companies like ours, in order to be able to develop the company strategically. In addition, we want to switch our planning to rolling forecasts.
A very special aspect was added for SPL TELE. Rimo is SPL’s own software platform for supporting project management processes and the operation of passive networks and offers (such as network planning, ticket and incident management, dispatching, orders, and order processing). Rimo required an appropriate Business Intelligence integration to offer process support and analysis functionality for customers.
The solution: A flexible platform for integrated planning and reporting, and a working partnership
Considering the given requirements, selecting the right solution was challenging. Gunter Leher, Head of Rimo Systems, explains:
It was not just a matter of selecting a system that would cover the complex requirements at our company. Our goal was also to enter into a partnership with the supplier and to further market the solution. Therefore, it was not only the product that was important, but also the modalities of the partnership.
As a customer, it is crucial for us to have a flexible product where we do not always have to rely on external consultants when we want to make a small change. As a partner, we put a lot of emphasis on the design of the partnership, with training, support and a joint concept for the future.
After a convincing proof of concept, the choice was made for Board. Gunter recalls:
We realized that it was not only the product that was right, but also the way we worked together.
SPL TELE had set itself a tight schedule for the project. From the start, the project team implemented the interaction with Rimo and was able to perform initial analyses that were not possible before. Next came integration with the ERP system so the finance department can perform new and detailed commercial analyses. This also formed the basis for integrated group planning and controlling, a real milestone in the SPL TELE Group. David Planner, CDO at SPL TELE explains:
We can now map complete actual reporting in Finance and Controlling, including variance analyses for individual projects and cost centers. This enables us to provide our management with important information for corporate control.
Another important area for SPL was project reporting with bottom-up planning. Andreas Sauer, Senior Board Consultant at SPL TELE reports:
This is really a broad field. It starts with time management and hourly evaluations on projects and employees and ends with complex project reporting with the evaluation and presentation of important KPIs such as booked times, material, external services, milestone progress, or revenue monitoring.
Another critical development for SPL was 'commercial project closing'. Sandra Stoll, Division Manager Finance and Accounting at SPL TELE notes:
Here, we consolidate and evaluate approximately 800 projects from a commercial perspective monthly. In doing so, we bring together data from the various data sources on the Board platform to analyze it. There's a very complex logic behind it. In addition, these values are generated in closing bookings, which are then transferred automatically from Board to our financial accounting system BMD. This application offers really great leverage and brings us added value and time savings.
But SPL TELE doesn't just use Board to develop solutions for its own challenges. Gunter Leher explains:
Why not offer your customers a product that we use ourselves and are convinced of? Our existing customers already using the Rimo software often ask for ways to extend their use with BI functions. With Board, we have the perfect add-on for Rimo.
The high demand for BI solutions that support the digitalization and agility of companies has prompted SPL TELE to market the Board platform independently of Rimo as a stand-alone solution. As a result, the company is tapping into new customer groups.
Customer benefits: More time and resources for important tasks
The integration of BI and Corporate Performance Management (CPM) in one platform provides cost savings that would have otherwise been incurred for separate products and projects. It also avoids the issues linked to isolated solutions. Florian Schütz comments happily:
We now have a platform that is available to employees and allows extensive analyses without performance difficulties. Each department gets the information that is important to them at the right time. This gives employees an overview of the current situation and enables them to make better decisions. The extensive authorization concept in Board ensures that each person or department only sees the information that is of interest to them.
The Board platform consolidates data in one place. This single point of truth solves many problems that SPL TELE had to deal with in the past. Complex data preparation only needs to be defined once and does not have to be periodically repeated over and over. All departments now work on a common, valid database. David Planner explains:
Activities, especially for daily report preparation, are now automated. Manual intervention in the daily preparation is no longer necessary. We now use this time for more important things. By defining KPIs and targeted analyses, we can now better monitor and steer processes. In addition, management gets important data to make the decisions that control and develop the company further.
Florian Schütz concludes:
We are currently introducing rolling forecasting. Board creates the conditions for implementing this quickly and massively accelerating the forecasting process.