Small and midsize enterprises’ own solutions often fall short of what is needed for corporate analysis, strategic controlling and structured bank communication. This was the conclusion of a study conducted in 2004 by the Business Management (Controlling) Department at the Westfälische Wilhelms University in Münster. This is astounding given the fact that it is in the SMEs’ own interest to use structured information to correctly analyze, evaluate and classify all information relating to business transactions. After all, informative figures for operational (liquidity planning) and strategic issues (investment planning for e.g. Purchases/Procurement, Production) are essential if companies are to draw the correct conclusions necessary for future success on the market.
Process-focussed controlling is crucial
However, this requires powerful, cutting-edge controlling software to be linked seamlessly with future-focused standard business management solutions. “Linking up the bob Controlling Suite and SAP Business One was therefore a logical step for us,” explains Reinhard Oborski, CEO of SAP Solution Partner bob Systemlösungen (bob).
Fully integrating the bob Controlling Suite in the SAP standard software using SDK (Software Development Kit) has several advantages according to bob. Users employ the standard menu structure of SAP Business One to immediately access the controlling solution and can then utilize its full range of functions. This also applies when switching back to the SAP solution. Reinhard Oborski explains that, thanks to its “seamless integration”, the bob Controlling Suite delivers comprehensive, continually updated and up-to-the-minute analyses for evaluating and controlling the business processes (purchases, sales, stock management, production, accounting) utilized in SAP Business One.
To this end, the Erftstadt-based SAP Solution Partner has equipped bcs with a whole range of functions, including profit contribution and deviation analyses, target/actual and actual/actual comparisons, profit center and project analyses, cost unit accounting and complete corporate planning.
Transparency in all sectors
The solution adopts all features from SAP Business One such as articles, article groups, customers, territories and representatives. These features are used as flags for structuring the complete data material in the bcs. The information is also made available to all divisions such as Sales, Purchases, Stock Management, Production and Accounting. Process cost accounting enables corporate success to be categorized according to customer, article and territory structures. This is necessary in order to conduct effective benchmarks with market and competitor data. The key component for this is territory marketing.
The bob solution also supports all processes required for effective overhead controlling, cost center analyses and cost allocation. bcs is of particular benefit to enterprises looking to consolidate the results of various individual companies into a group result. Clearly structured reports can be used to compare individual cost centers over several reporting periods (e.g. monthly, quarterly) or to provide a direct comparison of several cost centers within a single period. Companies can therefore decide at the end of a period (month, quarter) whether any residual costs relating to a cost center, for example, are to be allocated to the individual cost units. “The reports also ensure complete transparency, since they reflect (cost) developments in the various divisions such as Purchases, Sales and Production,” explains Reinhard Oborski. They also provide a platform for complex planning scenarios (e.g. over periods longer than one year, shorter than one year, rolling, based on seasonal curves, budgeting, pricing) which the bob Controlling Suite maps on any chosen level of the company.
Focusing on the target group
Oborski cites an example to illustrate the possible applications. Sales uses information about contribution margins to control its operational business. In addition to the usual KPIs, bcs in conjunction with a geo-database supplies important geographical information on which products are sold on which (regional) markets at what terms and conditions. The relevant market data is shown in graphic form (based on postal codes, for example) and provides information on how one’s own company is faring compared with the competition as well as data on possible sales potential. This can be used to develop focused (direct) marketing strategies with appropriate advertising and sales campaigns. Companies can cut costs thanks to precise analyses and the ability to address a specific target group with pinpoint accuracy. Advertising measures that cast a wide net are a thing of the past.
The bob Controlling Suite can also satisfy specific requirements involving the sale of products: These include billing using the “Dual System” (DSD, The Green Dot) or GEMA when selling audio media.
Quick to install, powerful in use and easy to operate
Despite its many functions, the bob Controlling Suite is quick and inexpensive to install and can be adapted easily to individual needs and industry-specific requirements (production, service operations, trade and commerce). Oborski quotes an average installation time of around 10 days (including a workshop where the various controlling requirements are specified, prototyping, the test phase and the actual implementation phase). “Since the bcs requires the same powerful database as SAP Business One for its business information warehouse, no additional hardware is needed. The Suite runs on the SAP Business One Server.” Standard workstations are used as clients. Oborski also points out that there is no minimum number of users. Used in conjunction with SAP Business One, this will be “three to five users on average, however.” Training requirements are also minimal, since the software is extremely easy to use. This is because everything can be completely integrated into the look and feel of SAP Business One, historical data can be adopted easily and conveniently, clearly structured graphical analyses are supported (e.g. geomarketing), as is access via a standard rights concept (Single Sign-On).
“The bob Controlling Suite and SAP Business One is an ideal combination of cutting-edge, future-focused commercial software with an effective controlling solution,” rounds up Reinhard Oborski. “This provides midmarket companies with new opportunities for planning and controlling future transactions successfully and effectively today.”