Ballance Agri-Nutrients used to base its budgeting and forecasting on an Excel spreadsheet system. With 254 interconnected spreadsheets, this system was becoming increasingly unreliable, says Ballance Agri-Nutrients’ financial planning and analyst manager, Bruce Harris. “It gave us a result we really didn’t know the integrity of,” he says.
The company had rolled out an SAP ERP system in 2009, and the plan was to add a budgeting and forecasting module a bit further down the track. When that time came around, Ballance investigated SAP’s forecasting solution, BPC, and got as far as developing a comprehensive blueprint for the system. However, unable to reach an agreement on price with SAP and concerns over the maturity of their product, Harris decided to bring in Ernst & Young to review Ballance’s requirements. Ernst & Young came back with two options – BPC or TM1, says Harris, and that was when he got in touch with Fusion5.
“Fusion5 came in very late in the process,” he says. “What swung us over were the user-friendliness of the IBM Planning Analytics (formally TM1) product; the capability of it; and, more than anything, the people.”
The fact that Fusion5 was New Zealand-based, and had a 10-year track record of implementations, was reassuring, he adds.