Siun Sote’s Modern Financial Planning Software Meets the Needs of the Health and Social Services Reform

Siun sote wanted modern tools to support its financial planning and to ensure it’s ready for the future planning needs brought about by the health and social services reform. Thus, it launched a reform of its budgeting and forecasting system in spring 2022. The renewal will provide Siun sote with modern and flexible tools to meet its planning needs well into the future.

Business challenge

The old financial planning system was cumbersome and did not support the new planning needs arising from the health and social services reform. Controllers had to spend time getting the data into the right format.

Transformation

The old system was replaced by IBM Planning Analytics Cloud platform. It’s flexible and adapts to the needs of Siun sote well into the future.

Results

The first phase brought much-needed flexibility and ease of use to budgeting and forecasting. At the same time, manual work was reduced. Their finance professionals now have good, modern tools that allow them to work efficiently.

Reform of Healthcare, Social Welfare, and Rescue Services

Finland is undergoing a major reform of its public healthcare, social welfare and rescue services. The reform has led to the creation of 21 wellbeing services counties in Finland. A wellbeing services county is a self-governing public law entity separate from municipalities and the state. At the beginning, the statutory tasks of the wellbeing services counties include the organization of public healthcare, social welfare and rescue services. Responsibility for organizing these services will be transferred to the wellbeing services counties on 1 January 2023. Click here to read more about the reform of healthcare, social welfare and rescue services.

Case Story

Siun sote – Joint municipal authority for North Karelia social and health services organizes public health and social services and rescue services for a total of 13 municipalities in North Karelia. The Joint municipal authority started operating on 1 January 2017. Siun sote employs around 7,800 people and serves 166,400 residents in the region. As a result of the health and social services reform, Siun sote will change from a joint municipal authority to a wellbeing services county on 1 January 2023.

“When the new wellbeing services counties started preparing for the merger in spring 2022, we had already been consolidating our operations for several years. No further major changes to the organization were needed. We are clearly pioneers in the process of consolidating wellbeing services counties: for example, our information systems have already been integrated and we are well on track with the consolidation of operations,” says Samu Kuosmanen, Director of Digital Services at Siun sote.

Samu Kuosmanen, Director of Digital Services, Siun sote
Samu Kuosmanen, Director of Digital Services, Siun sote

IBM Planning Analytics is like a toolbox, and the importance of having a competent partner is emphasized. Intito’s experts really understand financial management and have in-depth knowledge of technology.

Samu Kuosmanen, Director of Digital Services , - Siun sote

Old System Did Not Meet New Planning Needs

Siun sote had a rigid financial planning system, complemented with Excel spreadsheets. The old system did not meet new planning needs. Forecasting and scenario building, for example, was difficult. The search for a new system started because the planning process needed transparency and flexibility. One of the drivers for the modernization was the health and social services reform and the associated changes. In general, Siun sote wanted to modernize its financial planning and improve usability and data exchange between different systems. The aim was also to increase the amount of automation.

“We will modernize our financial and HR systems at the same time. It felt natural to modernize budgeting and forecasting, while ensuring smooth data flow between systems. Another motivator for the introduction of a new system was the desire to provide our finance professionals with the tools they need to do their job well. It is not appropriate for Controllers to spend their time getting the data into the right format. We wanted time to be spent primarily on impact analysis, forecasting and scenario building,” Kuosmanen explains the underlying rationale.

Flexibility and Transparency as the Objectives of the Renewal

Siun sote made a quick comparison between different financial planning solutions and at the same time mapped out what solutions are currently in use in the public sector. However, it was soon decided that an industry-specific solution is not the direction where Siun sote’s financial planning should go. Accordingly, a list of use cases were made, and system suppliers were asked to present how they would respond to the use cases with the data provided by Siun sote.

“We wanted a flexible system that would adapt to our changing needs. Of course, it’s good to keep your goals clear in a software project, but the truth is that the world is changing fast. It is therefore essential that the solution is flexible. We chose IBM Planning Analytics because it is a technically very capable and widely used planning platform globally. IBM invests in its development, and they have good user forums for sharing best practices,” Kuosmanen continues.

The priority was to have annual budgeting, together with staff planning, in the new solution. It was also hoped that the first rough forecasts could be made during the project. Siun sote being a public entity, there is a framework for budgeting. The framework determines how the budget is prepared for major sections, such as hospital services. It was hoped that the news solution would enable more precise planning for subsections.

North Karelia Central Hospital
North Karelia Central Hospital

Intito Experts Show Genuine Interest in the Siun Sote Project

The cooperation between Siun sote and Intito started after a demo in early 2022. The demo was used as a basis for specifications, which were quickly put together. The first set of budgets was completed before the summer, and the rest will be completed during the rest of the year. The project has progressed in close cooperation with the entire group of end users.

“We held weekly meetings with Siun sote’s financial management staff. From the start, we invested a lot of time in training end users and building up new  skills. I can see that Siun sote will have a solution that will support their financial planning and help them move forward for a long time. It also enables new components to be integrated into the planning platform in the future,” comments Senior Consultant Teemu Hallikainen from Intito’s xPA (Extended Planning and Analysis) team.

“Intito showed a clear interest in our project. They seemed to understand immediately what we needed. They had put a lot of effort into preparing the demo and were able to modify it during the demo session to meet our needs even better. It demonstrated the technical capability and flexibility of IBM Planning Analytics. IBM Planning Analytics is like a toolbox, and the importance of having a competent partner is emphasized. Intito’s experts really understand financial management and have in-depth knowledge of technology. We have learned best practices from them. They also know how to offer different viewpoints and alternatives and dare to challenge us,” says Kuosmanen.

Aiming for a Comprehensive Solution for Business Planning for the Entire Wellbeing Services County

The first phase of the cooperation between Siun sote and Intito went into production in September 2022, taking Siun sote towards modern financial budgeting and forecasting. IBM Planning Analytics as a platform will support their planning needs for a long time, and further development plans are already underway. Already in the first phase, much-needed flexibility and ease of use was brought to budgeting and forecasting, and automation was added.

“We will continue to work with Intito as we expand and deepen the use of the new platform. Our long-term goal is a truly integrated planning solution that covers budgeting and financial forecasting for the entire wellbeing services county. First, we will add features such as investment planning to the system. In further development, we aim to improve forecast accuracy and reduce manual work, among other things. We also plan to be actively involved in the IBM Planning Analytics community to learn from other users about the possibilities offered by the planning platform,” Samu Kuosmanen reflects.

Siun sote

Siun sote – Joint municipal authority for North Karelia social and health services organizes public health and social services and rescue services for 13 municipalities in North Karelia. They also provide environmental health services throughout the province, with the exception of the municipality of Heinävesi. Around 166,400 people live in the Siun sote region. Siu sote employs a total of around 7,800 professionals from different fields, whose goal is to offer the people of North Kareli high-quality, equal social and health care services that meet individual needs, without forgetting cost-efficiency. As a result of the health and social services reform, Siun sote will change from a joint municipal authority to a wellbeing services county on 1 January 2023.

Solution components

- IBM Planning Analytics Cloud

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