Client Case Study

West Midlands Trains

Speeds up period-end reporting process and enhances control for forecast and budget preparation

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Financial Transformation

  • Industry

    Transport, Train Operating Company

  • Employees

    2,500

  • HQ

    Birmingham, United Kingdom

  • Website

    www.westmidlandsrailway.co.uk

  • Product & Services used

    Oracle EPBCS, Qubix Journey to Cloud

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West Midlands Trains moves away from spreadsheets and adopts enterprise cloud planning.

 

West Midlands Trains is a new Train Operating Company (TOC), formed in December 2017, combining the London Northwestern Railway and West Midlands Railway brands. With new systems required to support the eight-year-old franchise, they turned to Oracle's Enterprise Planning and Budgeting Cloud Service for their forecasting solution. They selected to partner with Qubix to carry out the design and implementation of their new reporting and forecasting solution.

West Midlands Trains had to move away from a spreadsheet-driven process which was laden with risk and inefficiency. Moving to a cloud-based platform enabled a fast rollout of management, regulatory and group reporting based on an automated load of GL Data.

 

"Moving from a highly intensive spreadsheet-based finance function to using Oracle Planning & Budgeting Cloud, we have been able to streamline our processes, reduce the amount of manual tasks and improve the robustness of our financial data ('one version of the truth'). This has had a significant impact on the overall performance of the financial function and our users can now focus on analyzing business results and help the business make faster decisions."

Headshot - Mark Hall

Mark Hall
Head of Finance

 

West Midlands Trains leveraged Qubix's Journey to Cloud methodology to achieve their finance transformation objectives - a best practice approach that combines our deep industry and technical expertise to design, implement and manage your migration to the cloud. Qubix assisted West Midlands Train to configure their budget and forecast processes. This included staff costs model, non-staff costs model and revenue integration. We also provided end-user training and on-going application support.

 

"Oracle Planning and Budgeting Cloud was the clearest solution we reviewed and the links into Microsoft Office through Smartview makes it a very user-friendly experience. In addition, the speed of implementation was crucial, as there was a small window in which to do this."

Headshot - Mark Hall

Mark Hall
Head of Finance

 

 

Challenges

  • Have an application up and running quickly after the new franchise had been set up on new systems.
  • Reduce the time taken producing period-end reports, particularly those for the group which operates on a calendar basis rather than the industry four-week period standard.
  • Harmonize disparate forecasting process in Excel, varying in detail between directorates.
  • Provide additional regulatory reporting splits of the data.
  • Reduce the risk of manual errors within the Excel forecasting sheets.

Solution

  • Implementation of Oracle EPM Planning Cloud Service (EPBCS)
  • Qubix Journey to Cloud Methodology to accelerate delivery to the cloud

Results

  • Simple loading mechanism from Excel into EPBCS for long-term plan data and historical data.
  • Data uploads are scheduled every night and more frequently at period-end allowing more frequent and automated updates of Actual numbers.
  • Automated loading of GL and Staff cost Actual data and production of Cost Centre level reports directly to Cost Centre managers via email reduced the reporting time significantly.
  • Simplified reporting of information through Smartview enabling quick access to information and consistency throughout finance.
  • Reporting by brand (a regulatory requirement) was simplified through additional slices of data derived from a matrix that split accounts and cost centres which could be used across all data types (actuals, forecast, plan).
  • System controlled models for staff costs and driver based costs (e.g. fuel, electricity and track access), standardising the approach across the business and improving accuracy of forecasting.
  • A further stage built a staff costs model, specific models relating to the top six material cost lines and a mechanism for forecasting all remaining P&L accounts. This enabled full P&L variances analysis, including the ability to comment on the variances on the face of the reports.
  • Less reliance on IT with system management and maintenance executed within the finance function supported by Qubix.

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Why did West Midlands Trains choose Qubix?

" Qubix has been excellent in the implementation phase. They have understood our business and our requirements for simple to understand models. Through testing and into live use, the developers have been responsive ensuring that models do what they should and have adapted to our needs. This has been critical to the overall success of the implementation. "

Headshot - WMT

Alex Muir

Finance Business Partner

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