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Agile Business Intelligence

Cranfield University

see logix in action

With Logix, Cranfield’s Finance department can now pull together in minutes ad-hoc real-time views of data which have previously taken hours to achieve.

The University

With 2500 students, 1800 staff and a turnover of £157 million, Cranfield University, a wholly postgraduate institution, is one of the top five research-intensive universities in the UK. The activities of the University include teaching, research, design and development work in the fields of engineering, applied science, manufacturing and health.


Identifying the need

The university have been users of UNIT4’s ERP solution, Agresso Business World (ABW), for eight years and its financial controller, Ian Sibbald, is currently Chairman of the Agresso UK User Group. Sibbald was quick to recognise the incremental value that Logix, a real-time data analysis and reporting tool, would deliver to their Agresso system and took the decision to implement Logix initially in the university’s finance department.

Sibbald explained, “What really struck me when I first saw Logix was not only the quality of the product but also its ease of use. As extracting and analysing data was becoming more of a time consuming process in the department, I recognised the value that Logix would deliver as a self-service analysis tool that would allow us to interact quickly and easily with the data held in Agresso.”


Implementation

The  installation of Logix took only three days – including a half day’s comprehensive training – and currently the product is being used to support Cranfield’s key financial operations including Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, General Ledger, Procurement and Fixed Assets. Throughout the implementation and post-implementation phases, Sibbald and his team have been impressed with Logix:

“The support we have received has been excellent”, commented Sibbald. “From the outset, they demonstrated a detailed understanding of our requirements and on the same day installation was complete, we were already seeing value from the solution.”

The speed and simplicity of Logix has also had a positive impact on other members of Sibbald’s team as Elizabeth Evans, Cranfield’s project accountant, explained,“The software quickly delivered visibility and interaction with Agresso that had simply not been possible before.


Benefits

Empowering the users to easily access the data they need has resulted in Cranfield’s Finance department being able to pull together in minutes ad-hoc real-time views of data which have previously taken hours to achieve.

A good example of this was evidenced recently when the university was putting together its bid for Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) funding for an emarketplace system. Such a system would offer significant cost benefits to Cranfield by enabling them to streamline their purchasing processes so that they can select and order goods from their suppliers electronically and track order status and receipt of goods
online.

In order to build a good business case for why Cranfield would benefit from such a system, Sibbald and his team needed to demonstrate that for the majority of suppliers they work with, purchase order numbers are assigned.


Improved Fixed Asset ad-hoc reporting

Another key area where Logix has delivered immediate value is Cranfield’s fixed asset reporting which is the responsibility of Helen Castle, Cranfield’s financial and treasury accountant. Previously Castle has had to work with external consultants to build and create the reports needed for this area of accounting. Castle is confident that for this year’s accounting audit the department will be better placed to handle any ad-hoc queries the external auditors may have by using Logix to give them fast and easy access to the data required.


More Effective Supplier Relationship Management

Logix is also helping Cranfield build a more detailed picture of its supplier network. By equipping the finance team with improved access to information about the university’s suppliers, Sibbald and his team can now track the university’s expenditure with its existing suppliers at a more granular level, for example, by school and/or product. “Like many other higher education organisations, reducing costs is high on our agenda,” said Sibbald. “Logix provides us with greater visibility of our suppliers and the value for money we are getting. In the longer term, this will help us to rationalise our supplier base and negotiate more competitive terms.”


Delivering Value from Day One

One of Logix’s unique capabilities is its out-of-the-box pre-configured analytics for core financial management activities including Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, General Ledger, Budgeting, Procurement and Fixed Assets. These pre-defined analytics allow customers such as Cranfield to gain immediate value from Logix.

Sibbald concluded, “Based on our experience to date, I would happily recommend Logix to other higher education institutions that are looking to maximise ROI from their existing finance systems through faster and easier
analysis of their data assets.”


Download the Cranfield University case study.