Arcadia Housing Group emerges from a sea of spreadsheets to implement Rocket Software’s budgeting and planning solution
Arcadia Housing brings together a group of companies dedicated to providing housing solutions for people living in the South and West of England. The Group’s companies own and manage over 11,000 homes across 38 local authority areas from Hereford to Portsmouth, and from Minehead to Marlborough, making the organization a prominent provider of affordable homes and housing management services in the region.
In July 2008 Arcadia Housing Group selected the Rocket CorVu Performance Management System to manage its performance indicators, risks, action planning, and performance reporting. Based on the success of this implementation, in 2009 the organization deployed the CorPlanning module to improve efficiencies in its budgeting, financial reporting and forecasting routines. More than 90 people are now using this module, which replaced the previous paper-and-spreadsheets approach to data management.
Robert Kerse, Group Director of Resources of the Arcadia Housing Group, says, “We initially selected CorVu because of an identified need to improve the management of information so that our managers could run the business more efficiently and effectively. We were also seeking a system that would help us to manage the ‘Golden Thread’ between our business planning, risk management, project program management, and our operational performance. CorVu allows us to integrate these functions.”
“After we had been using CorVu successfully for a year, we looked at the CorPlanning module. When I saw a demo of the product, I could see immediately that there was a substantial benefit for us, so we implemented it.” Budgeting and planning through spreadsheets can be time-consuming, error-prone, and inflexible. Keeping track of various versions maintained by distributed budget contributors can be particularly difficult to manage.
Purpose-built budgeting and planning solutions can greatly simplify the budgeting process because workflows can be automated, versions can be controlled and the entire budgeting process can be monitored and managed. CorPlanning is designed to automate, simplify, and control an enterprise-wide planning and budgeting process. Most importantly, a financial plan can be maintained to support the evolving business plan including the performance drivers, performance targets, and strategic initiatives that are monitored by CorVu’s Performance Management solution.
According to Kerse, “CorPlanning helped us with our budget management process, which was traditionally done by a group of more than 80 people using spreadsheets. We actually used up to 260 different spreadsheets to build our annual budget, prepare our monthly reports, and come up with our planning documents. As you can imagine, this was very time-consuming, and we weren’t getting real time information. CorPlanning eliminated all of these problems.
“CorPlanning has enhanced our performance in a number of ways, including empowering our budget managers to see all of the information they need instantly. It has reduced our budget-setting process by a full month, and it’s taken two days off of our reporting cycle every month both of which have allowed us to reallocate our resources to more productive purposes. And of course our budget managers are much happier because they can see everything they need at the push of a button, rather than having to wait for days or weeks to get the data.”