The challenge: The international expansion of Vaillant Group – with 16 production and research sites and sales in more than 80 countries – made effective corporate investment management indispensable. The heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning technology specialist with 12,400 employees and annual sales of €2.4 billion was faced with managing a growing number of active investments with an increasingly complicated structure.
The solution: To cope with the high administration overhead for its corporate investment portfolio, Vaillant Group opted for CIM. This corporate investment management software automatically implements legal and company requirements in reporting and documentation. CIM was developed by Heidelberg, Germany-based zetVisions in close collaboration with SAP, and its investment management functions enhance SAP’s financials solutions.
The goal – optimized data quality
Before CIM was up and running, Vaillant Group had redundant investment data, historical data was not available, and reporting functionality was limited. “This resulted in data quality that was no longer consistent with the needs of a globally networked company,” says project leader Andreas Winterberg, Head of Group Accounting at Vaillant Group.
Vaillant Group had a long list of requirements for its investment management solution:
- Avoidance of redundancy
- Better data quality
- Improved history and document management
- Optimized communication
- Standardized application with no homegrown development
- Automatic update of company master data in SAP ERP (customer, vendor, and consolidation) and of key financial performance indicators from consolidation components
Vaillant Group chose CIM, ultimately convinced by its functions, its operating costs, and its ease of integration with the company’s processes and applications.
The solution meets Vaillant Group’s specifications by using a central data pool that contains all investment-related information, enabling greater transparency and improved control options.
zetVisions CIM is based on the SAP NetWeaver technology platform and was developed using Web Dynpro technology in accordance with SAP standards. Users access the software from SAP NetWeaver Portal or an Internet browser. SAP NetWeaver Business Intelligence (SAP NetWeaver BI) is used for reporting. Service and support is provided by SAP Solution Manager combined with the existing service infrastructures. The software can be integrated easily into large SAP landscapes, uses existing user and authorization management, and communicates with SAP’s consolidation solutions using standard interfaces. Die Software zetVisions CIM is certified as “Powered by SAP NetWeaver.”
CIM automates all processes – from running investment management and creating reports through meeting external tax authority requirements. In pre-CIM times, new and changed data had to be entered manually into three different databases. Now it only needs to be entered once: Changes are made automatically thanks to the interface to the SAP database. Furthermore, employees no longer have to draw up reports manually.
The solution creates standard reports, ad hoc reports, and organizational charts at the touch of a button. Previously, forms had to be filled out by hand and delivered by snail mail, but now, with zetVisions CIM, all forms are processed automatically and sent using the Internet.
Transparent and up-to-date financial data
All company master data in SAP ERP for customers and vendors and the key financial performance indicators for reporting are updated automatically, significantly easing the financial department’s work burden.
The new solution updates master data every day, thereby blocking inactive companies. The software enters data for all subsidiaries systematically and in full, including all executive officers and contact persons. This means that legal reporting obligations are met automatically.
The ownership list required for the annual report is generated at the touch of a button. A key advantage here – in addition to the time saved – is the reliability of the information, guaranteed by the constant update of the data pool. Even the annual report to the German Central Bank in accordance with foreign trade regulations is transmitted automatically.
“With zetVisions CIM, all departments have available to them a single, reliable pool of investment information,” Winterberg explains. Thanks to the preconfigured processes, data can be entered quickly. It was also possible to actively tap the SAP expertise that already existed within Vaillant Group. “By implementing CIM, we have drastically reduced the time it takes to create reports – and at the same time improved quality of them. What used to take two weeks or more can now be done in a day,” Winterberg adds.
Corporate investment management
Corporate investment management covers all operational and administrative tasks that a company must perform with regard to its corporate investments. Some companies have to manage more than 6,000 interlaced and mutually conditional investments. Others notch up some 500 merger and acquisition transactions a year on a global scale. The duty to ensure audit-acceptable compliance (fulfillment of legal conditions and regulations) for subsidiaries, branches, and majority and minority stakes today makes the use of specialized tools such as software solutions unavoidable.