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Flexible reporting capability helps business process outsourcing group

The "Innovation Group", an international leader in specialised business process outsourcing (SBPO), takes on business processes that cause companies the most hassle, thereby allowing them to become more customer-centric and more efficient.

By leveraging the specialised skills of its 700-strong staff complement, The Innovation Group provides seamless solutions to problems for organisations in the motor manufacturing, dealerships, financing and insurance industries.  Ironically, The Innovation Group was in need of a solution that would allow the company to focus on its own core business, rather than be weighed down by the time-consuming task of creating accurate monthly financial reports.

Wanting to customise its financial reporting around its business processes The Innovation Group approached Dream Catchers to provide tools for information retrieval that would suit its unique requirements throughout distributed sites and 23 significant departments.  Dream Catchers not only provided The Innovation Group with a customised view into general ledger data, but also the ability to push monthly reporting down to divisional managers – in effect creating a self-help environment that can generate reports in real time.

The Innovation Group already had Ability Solutions’ financial package in place, which meant that the Dream Catcher product’s and Microsoft Excel extensions allowed direct and secure access into the general ledger information stored in the Ability Solutions accounting product.  The crucial component was the Dream Catcher’s – XLi, which is essentially an add-in for Excel that maintains and ensures the core security and integrity of both the Dream Catcher system and The Innovation Groups information. 

Previously, The Innovations Group's financial reports were exported to a third-party application before being emailed as PDF files.  On the back of the Ability Suite’s TCP/IP-based functionality, access to Dream Catcher reports can now be achieved from practically any computer with access to the SQL database.  24 non-Ability Suite (GL) users were brought into the financial management process through Dream Catcher, which freed up The Innovation Group’s  financial manager from the tedious task of having to generate and then cut and paste these reports.

According to Nicholas Campleman, Dream Catchers Group CEO and managing director, alleviating the hassle of creating reports manually has empowered non-financial employees by providing access for a greater number of people to financial and budgeting information.

The reporting and budgeting bottleneck has been alleviated. Everyone can participate in creating and managing both reports and budgets,” he says.  “All business comes down to transactions, and Dream Catcher XLi is an interactive offline tool that provides high-level reporting consolidation.  It's  user-focused, which enables a much wider range of employees to participate in managing their divisional reports and budgets.”

Campleman says Dream Catcher’s reports allow organisations to break down information and values, drilling down into individual transactions.  “Time spent dealing with queries is reduced drastically because it is no longer a matter of querying enigmatic amounts – Dream Catcher provides a complete breakdown of underlying costs, so that incorrect or exception transactions, where money was misposted or misspent, can be identified quickly and easily.  Increased efficiency arises from this operational change.”

Campleman claims Dream Catcher cut two full days out of each reporting cycle – a third of the average company’s reporting cycle.  “Data comes straight into Excel in the correct format, so there is no need for exporting or manipulating it.  Reports generated are then available directly, or can be sent directly to printed media, or a variety of industry-standard formats.  Dream Catcher’s real-time capabilities are exceptional – year-ends are no fuss, and the accounts workload is reduced significantly.”

Izell Ruytenberg, Manager SBPO Reporting at The Innovation Group, says flexibility, integrity and security have been the main benefits of implementing Dream Catcher.  “Before, pulling through information often meant having to remove all formulas first, which took a lot of time.  Now, with Dream Catcher, information is available in standard Excel format so anyone can read it.  This has saved a whole day from my reporting cycle, as well as taking care of the usual worries about data integrity and security.”

Ruytenberg says an example of Dream Catcher’s flexibility was shown when The Innovation Group's’ auditors requested information in a different format.  “It took a matter of minutes to create new reports.  It’s so quick and easy to change their format, whereas previously that would have taken a whole day.  In addition, we acquired licences for our divisional managers, who are now able to update information at will, which was previously not possible because they had to pass it on to the finance department.”

According to Ruytenberg, the finance department as a whole has benefited from Dream Catcher’s capabilities.  “Approximately 35% of queries no longer have to pass through the finance department because other departments are now able to query their own information by drilling down to transaction level.  This has reduced query turnaround times significantly.  Another time-saving feature is Dream Catcher's password protection, which restricts the different managers so that they can view only their sections of the report.  Previously, breaking up reports for different levels of access took a great deal of time.”

While The Innovation Group required a number of unique capabilities to be added to Dream Catcher, the system remained easy to use.  Campleman says the customisation process, defining information retrieval processes that suited the company’s needs, took less than a month and was the perfect testing ground for Dream Catcher’s ability.  “The Innovation Group was a great client for us because they really stretched the application.  The company worked very closely with us and we leveraged their knowledge and unique data structures – the customised processes from this implementation have become standard in Dream Catcher.”


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