Finnish Transport Agency wanted to replace its spreadsheet-based approach to reporting with a professional and efficient business analytics platform.
Formed in 2010 by the merger of the Finnish government agencies
for roads, railways, and waterways, the Finnish Transport Agency is responsible for the efficiency, safety and sustainability of transport
"Initially, we performed our calculations and accounting using manual, spreadsheet-based processes – just as it had been done when the three agencies (roads, railways and waterways) were separate. It quickly became clear that we needed to harmonize these processes to work effectively as a united agency," says Mauri Paukkonen, Financial Planning Manager – Department of Finance and Performance Management at the Finnish Transport Agency.
The agency worked with Valamis to replace its manual, spreadsheet-based processes with IBM® Cognos® Business Intelligence – enabling faster and more accurate reporting.
"We wanted to ensure that the cost of work across all of our business units and departments could be accurately tracked and fully accounted for – showing us, for example, our management and team leadership costs," Arja Kuivalainen, Controller – Department of Finance and Performance Management at the Finnish Transport Agency explains.
Monitoring costs and ensuring value
Letting go of manual spreadsheet-based process and implementing IBM Cognos Business Intelligence solution has helped the agency to achieve its goal of creating a single platform for accurate, transparent and efficient reporting across the organization.
"Any changes to our source data are updated in IBM Cognos daily, and each month we generate a complete overview of our operations and costs for accounting purposes. As a result, the quality of the information has improved significantly. This gives us a solid basis for pricing our services – helping to ensure that we deliver value to taxpayers."
As Finnish Transport Agency relies on a large number of stakeholder, including third-party suppliers, government contractors, and government employees, ensuring value is a key priority for the agency. Continuous monitoring of work is necessary to keep costs under control.
Planning ways to extend the solution
By moving away from its legacy spreadsheet-based processes, the agency has significantly improved the efficiency of the reporting process. This has enabled an agency to invest time in analytics processes, which add value to their operations.
"Using our legacy process, calculating our end-of-year balance sheet required technical calculations that took two employees three weeks of day-and-night work to accomplish. On the first balance sheet that we ran in IBM Cognos, we saved 1.5 person months of work." Paukkonen adds.
Inspired by the success of the IBM Cognos Business Intelligence project, the agency is now planning ways to extend the capabilities of the solution.
"From the very beginning, Valamis has been a solid partner with top-class IBM Cognos know-how," says Kuivalainen. "The design and configuration of the new solution went according to plan, and it was deployed with the models that we had agreed on. The collaboration has been very flexible, and any problems we encountered along the way were solved quickly."
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* When collaboration started, the company was called OlapCon Oy. After company acquisition, it became part of Valamis.