Procurement Alliance Cuts Monthly Close Time by 87%, Replacing Excel with Real-time Planning & Writeback in Power BI
BuyIn is the world’s biggest procurement alliance in the telecommunications industry, with sourcing activities on 5 continents. They provide procurement services for 45 operators, including Deutsche Telekom and Orange, who serve over 498M end users. Its mission is to deliver strategic procurement services, leveraging global scale and innovation. With a combined annual spend in scope of more than €20 Billion, BuyIn delivers best-in-class procurement results by continuously analyzing millions of data and price points. The companies’ success largely builds on procurement experts and a fast and accurate measurement, sound analyses, and sharing of huge amounts of information.
It’s quite a task to drive €20B in procurement accurately and efficiently across millions of price and data points within 5 continents. It becomes demanding to do it with rapidly changing business needs, multiplied by the pandemic. But that is exactly the challenge faced by BuyIn Analysts and Controllers every month.
Controllers needed to manage data quality and simultaneously meet tight deadlines for month-end project reporting. The company migrated from Excel to Power BI years ago to streamline and speed up shared analysis and reporting. Since Controllers’ monthly updates still required input, and as Power BI is a one-way “consume” interface, Excel was back in service as a data collection and entry tool. Supporting Analysts have noted that they still had to collect Excel files, many with errant inserted rows or columns. They manually had to upload the data to Power BI’s core SQL tables, before the consolidated results could be viewed in Power BI within BuyIn and Procurement Alliance members.
This process of investigating and updating procurement performance & budget items, as well as the manual SQL data uploads & updates, continued to take a large amount of Controller’s and Analyst’s focus. As a consequence, they had less time for more value driven business topics that they were striving for.
- 20+ spreadsheets shuttled back and forth
- 5+ days: Monthly Procurement performance reporting close
- 12+ hours: Devoted to monthly procurement reporting
A team of BuyIn business analysts sought a way to leverage their existing Business Intelligence platform, Power BI. If they could keep analyses as well as entry within Power BI, they might avoid the manual issues of data collection, validation, and reporting via spreadsheet templates. All of them required to attain an accurate account of each procurement project across 30 countries, 45 operators, 100s of product groups – a recurring task month by month.
In the past, the process was requiring the management of several intermediate steps and time-consuming iterations with the stakeholders before getting to the end-result.
BuyIn streamlined the distribution and collection of the latest procurement details, across all Controllers, by choosing to add “write-back” to Power BI with Visual Planning from Power ON. With this solution, the Controllers enter the latest information directly into Power BI without searching for the latest spreadsheets, demonstrating the simple method of how BuyIn uses Power ON to improve collaboration. Analysts and Controllers see the data update as it writes-back to the transaction system of record in real-time. In mere minutes, the Controllers now complete investigation and data validation work directly inside Power BI using Visual Planner.
By adding the Power ON solutions to Power BI, BuyIn optimized their Controllers’ ability to share, collect, audit, and maintain data quality across their entire monthly forecast process.
Write-back from Power ON allowed us to remove most of the frustrations and delays for our Controllers and project managers in charge of ensuring quality reporting. ~ Diana Álvaro-Villanueva, Junior Project Manager Finance
How BuyIn uses Power ON Visual Planner is demonstrated through tangible results: controllers reduced their reporting production time from 5+ days to <2 days (in reality it’s a few hours, however it is a business process demand to keep a spare time of two days). Adding write-back to Power BI the Controllers were able to eliminate nearly all the manual, error-prone pain points, which they used to have with standard Excel project analysis and data validation.
Using Visual Planner for Power BI, BuyIn Controllers achieved their objective to increase the speed of producing their reporting without sacrificing data quality standards: previously 3 days for spreadsheet alignments back and forth, plus 2 days of data consolidation to nowadays less than 2 days of validation and mere minutes to publish reports to Executives. With Power ON for Power BI, the same people are able to submit, consolidate and share reports and dashboards in less than 2 working days.
Another team that benefits from this new write-back capability is BuyIn’s Finance Services (accounting department). They are using Power On to collect real time budget and re-forecast entries from several budget owners. This enables the company to have the collected data immediately to be used.
With Power ON, the BuyIn Analyst team extracted more value and data accessibility, turning Power BI into an analyze + write-back, two-way street business application; and in doing so they are able to continue delivering on their mission of adding value for shareholders and customers. Thanks to this solution, Controllers have now time freed up from low value standard tasks and are able to focus on more value added business topics.
The results of how BuyIn uses Power ON stand for themselves: significant reduction in time, improved collaboration, and powerful new insights.
- No more never-ending spreadsheet exchanges
- <2 days: Monthly Procurement performance reporting close
- <3 hours devoted to monthly procurement reporting
- 2 additional use cases for other Finance teams
We now confidently present timely, accurate reports to senior executives with much less effort, using a tool inside Power BI.
In our fast-paced and complex industry, this level of efficiency helps strengthen the position of our Alliance as telco frontrunner.