“Our budget development process, for instance, has been shortened considerably. Everyone can add their input and make changes to the budgets and then instantly see how their changes will affect all other areas of the operation,” Gilman continues. “The beauty of this system is that we can see how our assumptions about a particular catalog campaign actually did and how it impacted the entire enterprise, not just individual [departmental] financials.”
Gilman compares this instant access to actionable data to the company’s old way of gathering needed information. Before Geac PM was implemented, requesting or querying the database would put a good deal of stress on the transactional data-retrieval process, she recalls. “So we often had to run queries in the evening, and other times we would get a lot of out-of-date information, often by a month or more,” she notes. Carstens adds that even after getting the reports, they often required a good deal of manual manipulation to garner the necessary data.
Says Gilman, “But we’re in the fast-paced, direct-to-consumer business, and we needed managerial tools that enabled us to retrieve data quickly so that we could react quickly.” Now with the Geac PM system, Miles Kimball’s CEO, for example, “can take a quick glimpse and see how our strategies actually are impacting the entire operation,” she says. Plus, Gilman continues, the data are offered up to managers’ desktops “in a graphical, colorful format that’s very intuitive and easy to understand.”
The third and final phase of the Geac PM implementation, which was still ongoing as of March, will bring a strategy module online. Once that portion of the program is operational, Gilman says, managers will be able to devise specific operational tactics and assign responsibility for achieving those goals. Performance then can be tracked through the Geac PM program.