“We have a number of subsidiaries internationally as well as joint ventures that don’t use the same ERP, so we didn’t have a consolidated view,” Tingey says. “And as we acquired the three new companies, we also needed to bring them together.” Faced with that challenge, GSF turned to cloud-based EPM from Host Analytics for help that Excel couldn’t provide.
Existing tools getting in the way of growth
Customizing and changing old Excel models by hand was not only difficult, but it didn’t yield much in the way of insight. And even when it did, getting a rough view of GSF’s global operation would mean hours of intensive extra work, time that could be better spent analyzing results.
“If you wanted to figure out how much the [foreign exchange] rate in a various currency impacted the results overall, or look at the company in a constant currency, we had the possibility of doing that but you’d need to manually build the model in Excel,” Tingey says.
In that sense, Excel was proving to be a bottleneck for GSF, a $6 billion global company with an appetite for long-term growth. Even minor changes to the business were problematic, with members of the finance team usually spending 8 to 12 hours of overtime just to close each month. Custom reports would take a half-day each.
Finding comfort, and answers, in Host Analytics
Tingey documented GSF’s problems with Excel and listed out requirements for a better tool, kicking off a competitive review between Host Analytics and Hyperion. Cloud-based EPM proved to be the ideal solution for financial consolidation. “We wanted this to be a finance-driven solution. We wanted to be in control of our destiny,” Tingey says. “With Host Analytics, we would be up and running and getting data in within a matter of hours after the environment was provisioned.”
What’s that mean today? Tingey says that Host Analytics provides consolidated insights into all areas of the business in minutes, providing “one source of the truth, which we didn’t really have before.” Members of the finance team are also free to use the data to answer questions not practical in Excel. GSF is using the answers derived from Host Analytics to better manage its global expansion.
Since implementing Host Analytics, Golden State Foods has completed a handful of new acquisitions and continued to make and sell investments. Tingey’s team tracks and reports on it all in the cloud. “Our Host Analytics solution has flexed to match requirements as these transactions change the structure of our organization. What would have been a nightmare to account for in Excel has, in Host Analytics, actually been very enjoyable.”
To learn more about how cloud-based EPM from Host Analytics can help your organization succeed, check out the customer video from Golden State Foods.