Destia’s Project Business Forecasting Elevated to a New Level

Destia is Finland’s biggest infrastructure service company and a forerunner in site automation and the digitalization of infrastructure construction. As a result of changed reporting and forecasting requirements, a decision was made to re-design and upgrade the existing solution in consultation with Intito. At the same time, the solution was streamlined and migrated to the IBM cloud. Usability was improved and the number of users skyrocketed. This made Destia’s reporting and forecasting more business-driven and gave the company a capability to use more accurate information in decision-making.

Business challenge

The existing reporting and forecasting system consisted of several applications that had to be used simultaneously. With the evolving needs and new objectives, the process became muddled and reporting was complicated. The existing local Planning Analytics environment was to be upgraded into a cloud-based Planning Analytics service that was easy to maintain and always up-to-date.

Transformation

Forecasting was brought closer to business by involving Destia's project managers in the process, as a result of which the number of users entering data into the system more than quintupled. Usability was improved by leveraging the flexible features of the Planning Analytics Workspace interface and replacing the previous separate planning applications with a single, straightforward process.

Results

With a revamped, straightforward forecasting and reporting process, Destia now has more accurate information to support business decision-making. The user-friendly forecasting solution allows a wide range of users to participate in the planning process. The clear-cut design solution, based on explicit architecture, improves efficiency while ensuring the integrity and reliability of the business data available.

Destia is the biggest infrastructure service company in Finland and part of the global Colas Group. Destia designs, builds and maintains infrastructure that is essential for the functioning of society, such as electricity networks, bridges, roads and railways. As part of its extensive service portfolio, Destia develops cities, offers telematics and lighting solutions, and offers comprehensive services for traffic and infrastructure management.

Destia has been using the previous versions of IBM Planning Analytics for financial planning since 2014. However, the objectives and needs related to reporting and forecasting had changed significantly in recent years, and so a decision was made to rebuild the system from scratch. At the same time, the company migrated from a locally hosted system to an IBM SaaS service and modernised the user interface with the Planning Analytics Workspace.

Towards more business-driven process

The goal was to make the process more business-driven and use forecasting and budgeting to generate more accurate information to support business decision-making. This was achieved by extending the user base to those involved in the business on a first-hand basis, i.e., project managers. Further objectives were to streamline the reporting and forecasting process as well as to enhance project forecasting capabilities and improve accuracy in monitoring and foreseeing cash flows and working capital.

“Before the project was launched, controllers used to take care of reporting on behalf of their respective business groups. We wanted to involve people in the businesses by giving them an opportunity to express their views on the plans while at the same time offering them a view of the financial performance of the projects. This gives us more accurate data and them a better overview of the projects they are working on. Moreover, the solution was streamlined so that now data flows more consistently from bottom up without having to switch applications and leap from one level to another,” says Antti Vepsäläinen, Head of Business Control and Development of Destia.

When this project was launched, we had no need to replace the existing technology. IBM Planning Analytics is highly flexible and hence well suited to our fast-evolving business.

Antti Vepsäläinen, Head of Business Control and Developement, - Destia

“When this project was launched, we had no need to replace the existing technology. We had carried out a survey of optional solutions a few years earlier, but it seemed natural to stick with IBM Planning Analytics because our controllers were already familiar with it, and we felt we could use it to model the things we wanted. IBM Planning Analytics is highly flexible and hence well suited to our fast-evolving business”, says Vepsäläinen.

Project was done iteratively and with smooth cooperation

The project was launched in the spring of 2021 and deployed in September the same year. Despite annual leaves, the project was wrapped up on a tight schedule thanks to smooth cooperation. As the project was carried out iteratively without cumbersome specifications, it was possible to respond to Destia’s needs and wishes very quickly indeed.

“Intito possesses extensive in-depth expertise in IBM Planning Analytics. Teemu Hännikäinen has been working on Destia’s planning solution for years and has therefore come to know our business well. He’s a calm and highly professional consultant. He provides us with information on best practices and advice on how our complex solutions should be implemented. Aside from Teemu, we have always had access to top experts to develop our solution further and complement Teemu’s expertise even at short notice,” says Group Controller Minna Hakulinen of Destia, commenting on the cooperation with Intito.

“Without smooth cooperation, we probably wouldn’t have been able to adhere to the timetable. At times we need to have changes and fixes on the fly. We’ve always received the assistance we required quickly and easily. Intito has an efficient and flexible crew on the job, which has facilitated cooperation.” says Business Controller Tuomas Kosunen of Destia

Destia’s objective was to improve accuracy in forecasting and budgeting, and this was accomplished. As the planning process is now more detailed and the number of users providing data has multiplied, there is a lot of data available which is analysed from several angles. A user-friendly solution capable of serving a large number of users was successfully incorporated into the Planning Analytics Workspace.

Straightforward forecasting and reporting process supports data-driven decision making

With the new solution, controllers can customise reports more flexibly to suit their needs and analyse data that is relevant to them. Moreover, the system plays a key role in the month-end close process: many bookkeeping records can be generated directly from Planning Analytics without the need for manual Excel work and maintenance. Overall, the reporting process was successfully streamlined by replacing multiple applications with a single model, which simplifies work and ensures data integrity.

“Of course, you also encounter some resistance to change in a process like this, but there was surprisingly little of it. The new system has been welcomed by people in the businesses and we are now getting more accurate data into the system. There seems to be quite a lot of interest in reporting and cash flow forecasting. Thanks to Planning Analytics and Intito’s flexibility, we were able to make changes to the system as the training sessions progressed to respond to the end users’ wishes,” Kosunen says.

“A number of ideas for further development are already being toyed with. The change of company ownership at the same time as the project is being completed will add its own flavour to reporting. As IBM Planning Analytics can adapt to our changing needs, the cooperation with Intito’s professional consultants will continue on this positive note”, Vepsäläinen sums up.

Destia

Destia is a Finnish infrastructure and construction service company. Destia’s roots date back more than 200 years, to the Royal Finnish Committee for the Clearing of Water Rapids, which operated in Finland between 1799 and 1809. Today Destia builds and maintains traffic routes, industrial and traffic environments, as well as complete living environments. Their services cover subterranean construction, extensive overground operations, and range from demanding foundation engineering projects to energy and engineer construction. As Destia possesses versatile expertise, they can carry out large-scale, advanced solutions.

Solution components

- IBM Planning Analytics Cloud

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