Optimising performance."It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change." The Charles Darwin mantra mantra (măn`trə, mŭn–), in Hinduism and Buddhism, mystic words used in ritual and meditation. A mantra is believed to be the sound form of reality, having the power to bring into being the reality it represents. is a favourite of Noel Gorvett, group business systems manager at publisher, the Pearson Group, and for him it underscores how technologies that support better, faster decision-making can create a dynamic, agile organisation.
Pearson boasts annual revenues of almost [pounds sterling]4 billion and employs more than 33,000 people across 60 different countries. With that global footprint often resulting in data overload See information overload and overloading. for managers, Gorvett has been leading a programme to transform the organisation's decision-making and reporting capabilities through the roll out of a BPM system See BPM. .
The first task, was to bring consistency to the sources of Pearson's core business data. From 2002, the company amalgamated a·mal·ga·mate
v. a·mal·ga·mat·ed, a·mal·ga·mat·ing, a·mal·ga·mates
1. To combine into a unified or integrated whole; unite. See Synonyms at mix.
2. 80 separate accounting systems, eliminating differences between the way data is defined and collected.
Gorvett recalls the group had poor systems and processes, inconsistent reporting periods and was swamped "Swamped" is the seventeenth episode of The Batman's second season. It originally aired in North America on June 11, 2005. Plot Synopsis
Killer Croc, a half-man, half reptile plans to submerge all of Gotham in water in order to facilitate his plundering of the city. by information. "The decentralised Adj. 1. decentralised - withdrawn from a center or place of concentration; especially having power or function dispersed from a central to local authorities; "a decentralized school administration"
decentralized , independent finance and IT units impeded im·pede
tr.v. im·ped·ed, im·ped·ing, im·pedes
To retard or obstruct the progress of. See Synonyms at hinder1.
[Latin imped collaboration and resulted in a lack of cohesive decision-making," he says.
To create that cohesion, the company set about building PRIME (Pearson Reporting &Information Management Environment), a financial management platform based on technology from BPM software company Hyperion. "Now we have an environment with vertical and horizontal communication rather than separate divisions," says Gorvett.
One of the clear aims of PRIME was a "faster close" of financial results. Prior to the new system, the group was reporting its figures about 20 days after the close of a business period; now it is typically around the sixth of the month.
There is now far less 'number-crunching' among the 250 users of the system worldwide, says Gorvett. "We are [now] able to perform consolidations in a structured and controlled process," he says. Data is entered in local currency at the lowest reporting entity level and, supported by process management, PRIME allows a multi-dimensional account expansion through customer dimensions such as product, market, channel and foreign exchange.
Ensuring that data is gathered, defined and entered correctly is a key part of the process. "Data cleanliness Cleanliness
See also Orderliness.
Cleverness (See CUNNING.)
unkempt herself, demands cleanliness from others, especially children. [Ger. Folklore: Leach, 137]
continually “washes” itself. is vital for consolidation of multiple systems," he says.
The centralised Adj. 1. centralised - drawn toward a center or brought under the control of a central authority; "centralized control of emergency relief efforts"; "centralized government"
centralized database provides a transparent, consistent set of business data - both financial and non-financial. "There are consistent corporate policies [now for] cashflow, inter-company allocations and journal posting," he says. And Gorvett evangelises on the benefits of moving from basic financial reporting to the more comprehensive BPM, saying that although it was a risk, it was the "easiest implementation I have ever done".
PRIME went live in February 2004, but it is by no means a finished project - "we wanted to reach in and get more out," says Gorvett. He has identified that the HR structure of the company would benefit from a similar overhaul.
With continuous feedback from users - both positive and negative - the interfaces and processes used in PRIME can still be improved, but that evolution can only enhance Pearson's responsiveness to change - and so its chances of emerging as a dominant species.