CloudCloud Management

How Specsavers Improved Visibility Of Planning And Reports

Duncan MacRae is former editor and now a contributor to TechWeekEurope. He previously edited Computer Business Review's print/digital magazines and CBR Online, as well as Arabian Computer News in the UAE.

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Adaptive Planning took Specsavers to the cloud for improved business planning and analytics

Specsavers is a partnership of almost 2,000 locally-run businesses throughout the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Spain, Australia and New Zealand, all committed to delivering high quality, affordable optical and hearing care in the communities they
serve. With over 28 million customers, one in three people who wear glasses in the UK buy them from Specsavers.

The challenge

Using spreadsheets to manage its budgeting and business planning, Specsavers faced a lack of collaboration across management teams in more than one hundred cost centres. Consolidating data into a single overall budget was not only time-consuming, it was often prone to human error. With the company’s plans to expand, such problems were only set to get worse.

“We were living in a world of Excel silos,” said Matt Buckley, group planning and reporting lead for finance at Specsavers. “Budgeting and planning had become a version control nightmare among numerous stakeholders and contributors, and inaccuracies increasingly threatened to throw business goals of course. We were in desperate need of a single version of the truth on which we could base current and future budgeting decisions.”

The solution

Specsavers deployed Adaptive Planning for faster, more reliable planning and reporting to guide business decisions and company growth opportunities.

aws“Adaptive Planning alleviated any fears in our leap to the cloud,” continued Buckley. “It was quick to deploy and has the look and feel of Excel, but the power and analytical capabilities
of a much more sophisticated solution. It’s helping us produce error free, standardised versions of our budgets, forecasts, and financial reporting that helps us make decisions with confidence in the data.”

Adaptive Planning has allowed Specsavers to allocate budget far more simply and efficiently – reducing any unnecessary costs and minimising the hours spent correlating data from different cost centres. Planning has been accelerated by 50 percent, thanks to automated aggregation and pre-population of planning sheets with data from the company’s general ledger and ERP systems.

Today, Specsavers generates monthly tailored reports and models complex ‘what-if’ scenarios within Adaptive Planning for decisions on hiring and making new investments in the business. Specsavers can easily understand the financial impact of potential new FTE’s and can quickly flow through the impact of varying retail performances to the bottom line. With Adaptive, Specsavers has automated its variance analysis and monthly retailing KPI reporting.

“By holding our retail data and KPI’s within a robust application instead of across multiple spreadsheets, we have easy access to one version of the truth that has become the go to database for reporting this information,” Buckley explained. Furthermore, the detailed reporting means that Specsavers has a reliable audit trail.

Self-service financial reporting has been quickly utilised by the most senior decision makers within Specsavers. All of the executives have simultaneous and instant access to the very
latest financial information and forecasts, giving them better visibility of what’s happening across the organisation to make quicker, more strategic business decisions.

“Adaptive Planning offers Specsavers visibility into all of our key performance metrics all through a single pane of glass. We can rest assured that this information is both accurate and up-to-date, which is vital when we’re planning and making predictions,” continued Buckley.

“Anyone who has spent time and effort trawling through Excel spreadsheets, never quite achieving the perfect final picture, would greet the ease and insight afforded by Adaptive Planning with open arms. It has allowed us to drive discussions based on a single view of the entire business, giving us the historic picture that allows us to look forward based on real trends, proving that the entire business can now benefit from a more collaborative, better informed and empowered finance team.”

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