Budgetary Control Financial Functions with SAP Business Intelligence
Cost Accounting & Controlling Department – financial accounting unit of SAUDIA, ensures that the airlines’ expenditures are kept within the authorized budget. Until the recent deployment of an interface provided by SAP Business Intelligence platform, the department was having difficulties getting the right & timely feedback from cost centers. Now with My Budget Cockpit – an analytic application developed internally by SAP BI Team at ERP Center of Excellence of Saudi Arabian Airlines, the managers can easily provide the required feedback on operating and capital expenditures, whenever required.
“If Numbers are the Alphabet of the Business World, Then Financial Statements and Budgets are the Books”.
Waleed Hablain, General Manager, Cost Accounting & Controlling,uses the quote to describe the volume of work his department has.
His department is part of Finance Organization and works with 1,000+ Cost Center heads to ensure that the airlines expenditures are aligned with the budget. The cost center heads, referred as managers in the organizational hierarchy leading various teams, report to departmental management for respective areas. For their spending, operating and capital, they report to Cost Accounting & Controlling department which requires managers to provide feedback on funds they consume / have available from time-to-time for budgetary analysis.
Pain Points: Time Consuming & Inexact Figures
Managers, to provide the figures, had to further coordinate with their teams, each managed by a system manager. The consolidated feedback was often time-consuming and sometime not an exact representation of consumed and available funds at cost centers. The cost accounting & controlling department, therefore, was looking for a solution which could address this issue.
Business & IT to work together for a better solution
Mr. Hablain, the ambitious General Manager of the department, therefore, thought of a comprehensive reporting solution which could present all of the required figures at one place and sought IT help. The then head of ERP Center of Excellence assured him of the CoE’s capabilities to meet the complex business requirements through SAP BI platform.
SAP BI Dashboard as a solution
The SAP Business Intelligence team, led by Jehad Batal, worked closely with budgeting team to understand the business requirements and to propose & develop a solution. With 4 months of a joint effort, which was more like an adventurous journey, the team developed “My Budget Cockpit” – solution described by Batal as follows:
“My Budget Cockpit is an interactive dashboard interface provided by SAP Business Intelligence platform to organize and present managers with accurate and timely budgetary analysis including commitments and actual expenditures across various time frames in a way that is easy to read and interpret”.
What made it unique?
The project was referred as an adventure by Batal – Sr. SAP BI Consultant at ERP CoE, for quite a few reasons foremost of which was automation of security.
“The logic is same as in ERP for structural authorization but the concept is new” says Batal. “In BI, for the application, we needed evaluation paths to read through the Cost Centers hierarchy, not the Organizational Units”, he added.
In addition to security, the application merged Business Warehouse and Business Objects as well for which the BI expert said, “We could safely say we’re among the first few to implement this idea”.
Having developed, delivered and deployed such a great application, he was very confident in referring the Integration & Quality Assurance section of ERP CoE to Cost Accounting & Controlling Department to seek business feedback on the new solution.
Clear view of consumed and available funds
Mr. Hablain and his team were very happy with the application when interviewed by Integration & QA lead for business feedback stating
We always wanted cost centers to have clear view of funds they have consumed and the amount they’ve available to commit for potential expenditures. We, therefore, sought IT help to develop a tool which could present the required information in easy to understand format.
“The cost center heads can now control their spending after having good view of their operating and capital expenses”, Finance SMEs (Mr. Ehtesham and Mr. Fiaz) from his team mentioned when inquired to briefly describe the SAP BI based analytic application developed for 1,000+ cost center heads at Saudi Arabian Airlines.
The department, under the leadership of Mr. Waleed Hablain, aims at full integration of material management functions with budgetary Control function to ensure real-time check of transactions each time a document is entered or updated at each decision point.
About SAP Center of Excellence, Saudi Arabian Airlines
The CoE is headed by Dr. Hatem Bakheet and is part of application management unit of Saudia Information Technology Division. The organization helps various strategic business units of Saudi Arabian Airlines with its SAP Consulting, Customer Support, Business Process Management, Change Management and Training expertise. It is a SAP Certified Center of Excellence and is known for its quality services to its internal customers. Mr. Bakheet and his team are happy to serve Budgeting Control Function of the airlines and are ready to help the department with their additional needs.