A city like no other
Previously the Council utilised MS Excel, having no fewer than 225 spreadsheets to collect, collate and analyse the budget managers’ plans. Drawbacks of the old model included having to manually convert information from disparate sources into a readily usable form, and the huge effort required simply to maintain the spreadsheets and process the data.
"Challenges encountered during the project included the inconsistency of existing accounting hierarchies and processes, and changing legislative and reporting requirements."
The Council evaluated a number of solutions and service providers and selected Mindfull to assist with the implementation of IBM Cognos TM1. The solution was selected for its speed in processing and features such as tight integration with MS Excel and its ease of use, as well as the expertise and experience of the Mindfull team. Mindfull had previously completed a number of other TM1 implementations at councils. Its staff provided confidence through their demonstrable understanding of the particular requirements of local government planning processes.
“Mindfull's approach and expertise, working in partnership with our knowledge of our business, has given us both the confidence of a robust solution”
- Graeme Trevathan, Manager Business Advice, New Plymouth District Council
The core of the project spanned ten calendar weeks and covered inception, specification, implementation, reporting, documentation and training phases. The IBM Cognos TM1 solution was used to collate information from different business managers with respect to their operating expenses, capital requirements and proposed new projects. This information was immediately available to the budget reviewers through TM1’s instantaneous consolidation functionality.
Additional functionality delivered included the ability to:
create an internal cost allocation profile based on input costs
calculate and report in detail on inflation as per reporting requirements
simulate and reallocate changes in costs, based on parameters (interest rates, inflation rates, %, etc)
phase expenditures and revenues into monthly periods based on predetermined
After the initial implementation, the Council opted to change its ERP. For Mindfull this meant pointing TM1’s data import processes to the new tables, a simple task that had no impact on TM1’s end users.
New modules have also been added to TM1, including:
modelling of Roading subsidies
modelling of movements in Reserves
mapping of transactions between related accounts
Future directions for the Council will include analysis of targeted costs, revenues and values. The simulation of general rate requirements and borrowing and loan repayment requirements will be merged into the system. Key performance indicators and the simulation of capital costs will also be considered at a later date.