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An award winning project unifies the planning process at Nottingham Trent University

Nottingham Trent University

Case Study: Student Planning, Resource Planning and Financial Planning

Client Overview

Nottingham Trent University and Simpson Associates embark on an award winning project, implementing IBM Planning Analytics powered by TM1 for Student, Resource and Financial Planning, thus unifying the planning process across the university.

Ambitious Plan

When Nottingham Trent University engaged with Simpson Associates they had an ambitious plan to develop a planning application to connect course data, student data and employee data to feed into a finance model to summarise student income and costs across the university. In order to meet an impending deadline the project was split into two phases;

• The objective of the first phase was to replace the University’s existing Student Planning model. This was built with IBM Planning Analytics software to provide a fit for purpose application that sped up the planning process and gave more time for analysis.

• The objective of the second phase was to add Resource Planning and Financial Planning to create an end-to-end planning process.

“We wanted to integrate our overall planning model to create a holistic view of the whole process: data flowing automatically between the student planning model and the staff planning model meant that we could save staff resource time maintaining them and ensure we were able to get accurate information out of the system in real time.”

Rebecca Radics – Project Manager

Skills Transfer

Nottingham Trent University engaged IBM Business Partner Simpson Associates to help develop their models; partly because they had worked with IBM Planning Analytics powered by TM1 software for a number of other Universities and partly because they were able to commit to a programme of mentoring and skills transfer with University staff. This approach ensured that the required deadlines could be met and that the University maintained ownership of the models into the future.

“We wanted to make sure we developed in-house skills so we developed a mixed approach to the project, where some of the models were produced by Simpson Associates and some of them we worked together on. During this process Simpsons mentored our team, helping them develop the necessary skills needed to make further developments in the future.”

Rebecca Radics, Project Manager

While the deadlines were particularly ambitious both the team at NTU and Simpson Associates worked tirelessly to deliver this project which ended up being delivered on time and on budget. Rebecca commented: “Simpsons worked really well with us. The consultants took the time to answer us no matter what time of the day. Overall the engagement with us and Simpson Associates felt like we just had one team, everyone was working together.”

Integration across the planning process

By integrating their planning models Nottingham Trent University have given themselves the ability to see the effects of modelling across their various planning systems without the need to move data around, thus giving them more time to analyse information.

Sue Reader
Corporate Finance and Planning Manager

Moving forward with IBM Planning Analytics.

Having completed the project with IBM Planning Analytics software, the University is now looking at utilising their investment for other purposes. Sue sees a number of opportunities: “Moving forward we’re looking at how we can use planning Analytics for other regulatory reporting that we do, for instance TRAC and HESA reporting.This would reduce our reliance on spreadsheets and allow automation of the apportionment process. Currently we use spreadsheets to do this so any changes that are required have to be fed through spreadsheets, which is a largely manual process.”

Benefits

  • The integration of their planning models has enabled NTU to have a holistic view of the whole planning process.
  • Reports come directly from the planning model improving the speed of access to information and the confidence in the accuracy of that information.
  • NTU can now spend more time doing analysis and adding value rather than concentrating on data input and consolidation.
  • NTU can now model different scenarios and see the impact on proposed changes to their budgets.

Following the successful implementation of IBM Planning Analytics, Simpson Associates were delighted to hear that NTU had awarded them the “Best Use of Technology” award at their annual supplier awards.

Rebecca Radics – Project Manager

Simpson Associates are a software and services consultancy specialising in delivering budgeting, reporting, forecasting and business planning solutions built on IBM Planning Analytics (formally known as IBM Cognos TM1), and the IBM Cognos suite. With clients including The University of OxfordSymington’sHolman Fenwick Willan and Nottingham Trent University we have the experience and expertise to help you discover, implement and adopt the technology.

Find out more about IBM Planning Analytics Consultancy Services here or contact us to book a demonstration.

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info@simpson-associates.co.uk

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