"The various teams and departments involved in the budgeting process can now be much more coordinated and the process of integration between departments has been greatly streamlined. Workflow management has been improved by the streamlined distribution of budgeting templates, authorisation and budget completion, and the finance team has greater visibility and control over the entire budgeting cycle." Ronnie Thangiah, Financial Accountant, Stellar Call Centres
About Stellar Call Centres
Stellar Call Centres was established in 1998 and is one of Australia's premier customer contact solutions providers. It has a national network of nine contact centres, with 1,700 seats and employing over 2,800 staff. Stellar Call Centres handle more than 150 million contacts a year.
Stellar Call Centres wanted to improve its budgeting process. Project goals included:
- Reduce data manipulation and labour time involved in the production of the budget due to multiple spreadsheets
- Eliminate manipulation of data into a suitable format for import into Great Plains.
- Improved version control.
- Improved cashflow forecasting and modelling, and improved integration with budget reporting platform.
- Reduce reporting times and enhance reporting capabilities.
- Provide a system to allow for future growth.
- Integration of budgeting with finance reporting tool.
- Improved revenue and expense forecasting.
- Increased budget reporting flexibility.
- Ability to create revised forecasts from existing budgets.
Stellar Call Centres implemented Microsoft FRx Forecaster, in combination with Microsoft Dynamics GP and existing Excel spreadsheets. Dynamics GP was used to import actuals and Excel spreadsheets were used to calculate budgeted call centre usage rates. This information is imported back into FRx Forecaster for the budgeting and forecasting of multiple departments and functional areas.
Stellar Call Centres signed off on its implementation planning study on 1 February 2005 and started the implementation on 4 February 2005. By the end of the month, the implementation was complete and key users had been provided with training.
Stellar Call Centres measured the results by conducting an internal post implementation review, including feedback from the internal budgeters in the call centres and the finance team members at head office. It also reviewed the objectives against the results of the budgeting cycle completed shortly after the implementation.
Stellar Call Centres now has a web based budgeting and forecasting tool which can be accessed remotely and provides greater security than the previous process of using Excel. The instantaneous consolidation of the budget is now possible, as is the integration of complex Excel spreadsheets with FRx Forecaster and Dynamics GP.
Stellar Call Centre has completed one budgeting cycle since the implementation and the second budgeting cycle is underway. The following savings have been identified to date:
- Preparation time for a new budgeting cycle has been reduced by approximately 4 to 5 days
- Manual error correction has been reduced saving around 3 to 4 days
- Training time has been reduced by half a day for each session
- Improved consolidation of multiple budgeting sources has saved 3 to 4 days
The total time saving per budgeting cycle has been estimated as at least 14 days.