The critical requirements of the ERP project were ensuring data integrity and security, as well as streamlining club reporting to the AFL. Like most shared services functions, data security between entities is required to ensure the integrity of the arrangement and the ERP solution was designed accordingly.

AFL requires each club to submit an annual Club Financial Report (CFR). “Basically, all the clubs provide a standardised set of financials for actuals and budgets, and that creates a standard benchmark across the industry. So, it’s critical that transactions are categorised correctly,” says Luke Harvey, AFL Finance Systems Lead. “AFL aggregates the information to create a picture of how the clubs are performing. The data is collated and reported back to clubs so they can benchmark their financial performance against their peers.”

The CFR is a critical task within Club Finance team remits. These reports have historically been Excel-driven, and the process to collate and prepare had been largely manual.

A secure and streamlined reporting solution

To provide a solution to the challenges of club privacy and reporting, Fusion5 integrated Workday Adaptive Planning with Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations and enabled an individual instance of Workday for each AFL club to ensure their stringent privacy standards are met.

Fusion5 worked closely with all entities involved in the project to define and achieve an overall consensus on their requirements for planning, budgeting, and forecasting. This meant that each club environment could be set up to report to the same level of detail as a standard, the platform has since been enhanced to offer more advanced functionality like capital expenditure and cashflow forecasting to the clubs which require it. To date, Fusion5 has worked with AFL and clubs to tailor their reports and models to their specifications.  

As part of the larger project, Fusion5 designed and built a cloud data platform to store and manage AFL’s data assets. This ensured that each club’s instance of Workday Adaptive Planning only received its own data, ensuring complete privacy. Data is refreshed between Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations and Workday Adaptive Planning every 20 minutes, giving AFL and its clubs their first taste of real-time reporting data. This functionality enables the clubs to make decisions based on close to immediate data.

The outcome? No AFL club can see another’s data, and the individual reporting capabilities of clubs have been vastly enhanced. The AFL and clubs all benefit from sharing a single ERP while maintaining the privacy of their own reporting and financial modelling environment in Workday Adaptive Planning.

Training, club by club

As each club is, in essence, a standalone business, Fusion5 has delivered individualised training to each.

“While we’re all under the same AFL umbrella, that umbrella, in effect, shelters sixteen different businesses,” says Harvey, “so it was important that our clubs could learn to administer their own instance of Workday.”

Harvey says that Fusion5’s expertise in Workday Adaptive Planning and its ability to deliver training has been critical to the solution’s successful adoption.

“It’s been a steep learning curve, however our clubs are now competent and comfortable using Workday Adaptive Planning thanks to Fusion5’s training.”

Luke Harvey, AFL Finance Systems Lead

Club financial reporting, from weeks to minutes

Today, Workday Adaptive Planning makes annual CFR reporting effortless and enables each club to deliver a report in the exact format required by AFL.

Each club’s data is loaded into a Cube via a mapping table. This segments the data appropriately and uses the Microsoft Excel Office Connect add-in to produce the exact format of reporting that the AFL requires.

The beauty of this for the clubs is that after the first time, they never need to go back and remap the data.

If more data hierarchies are required, Adaptive Workday Planning’s integration mapping functionality makes it simple to add a new mapping, transforming the overall process to a matter of mere moments instead of the days previously required.

With data now refreshed at 20-minute intervals, the CFRs can be updated on demand. This has added value to the report as each club can see how they are performing by the month, week, day, or even by the hour.

Fully aligned reporting

Hayley Lacy is Finance Manager for Aligned Leisure, a 100% subsidiary of Richmond Football Club. Aligned Leisure operates and manages 29 leisure centres, community stadiums, pools, gyms, and other facilities, and employs over 600 staff to cater for the 2.1+ million visitors that use their facilities annually. They’re supported by the business systems of Richmond Football Club.

Lacy says the timing couldn’t have been better for a new ERP and reporting system.

“Aligned Leisure has quite a different business model from Richmond, but we needed Workday Adaptive Planning to meet both our needs. We’d been heavily reliant on manipulating data in Excel for our reporting. To create our monthly management reports, we had to go into the back end of the finance system and change the report parameters, and even rebuild them to a certain extent to get what we needed. But that’s all changed. With Workday Adaptive, it’s now all automated, so we can easily achieve what we want. All of our cost centre managers can use the Workday reports and get what they need out of them without having to manipulate or rebuild anything in the background.”

Lacy says that previously they could only generate monthly reporting right at month’s end. 

“The old financial and reporting systems didn’t enable us to get any reports out until that point in time. I’d then have to spend time reconfiguring and running the reports, exporting data to Excel, and making changes. It wasn't a good use of our time."

"Now, the reports we need are available at the click of a button, and our managers can run them throughout the month to track performance in real-time. They no longer have to wait for month end to get that information. That’s been a real gamechanger"

Exactly what was needed

Aligned Leisure reports directly to their own heads of departments and to Richmond Football Club, so Lacy says the easier the process, the better.

“I initially found the new reporting challenging because the core reports were built more for a typical AFL club. But we worked with Fusion5 to design the specific reports that we need, and now we have those, I find them simple to use.

“All of our managers picked up using Workday Adaptive Planning very quickly and they’re big fans of the system. It's so much better than what we were working off before and they're using it really well. Everyone was more than ready for a positive change.”

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