When the global pandemic and subsequent health crisis hit in March 2020, Ramboll’s Finance team immediately knew that its annual budget and quarterly forecasts had become unusable. After initially attempting an Excel-based approach to enable faster forecasting, Ramboll worked with the Jedox Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) solution to accelerate the production of forecasts from a previous three month cycle to bi-weekly production. Jedox also enabled a much faster scenario modelling and rolling forecast approach for Ramboll.
Ramboll is a global engineering, architecture and consultancy company founded in Denmark in 1945. The company employs over 17,000 people across 35 countries. Ramboll works to create sustainable solutions across a range of sectors, with recent major projects including the largest offshore wind project in the US, Denmark’s first Ecolabel primary school and the design of Finland’s tallest timber building.
When the global pandemic hit, it quickly became clear to Ramboll’s Finance team that its existing 2020 budget and quarterly follow-up business forecasts were no longer workable. According to Mikkel Barth-Højgaard, Ramboll’s Senior Group Director for Finance: “the sheer scale of the crisis meant that we needed a new model that could keep the Ramboll management team informed and able to take any necessary decisions . This meant having a global view of our order book and current capacity. We knew we needed an approach that would support the business in being much more dynamic.”
The Finance team moved rapidly to get an Excel-based process up and running so they could start putting contingency plans in place. However, after one attempt using Excel to support Ramboll’s more frequent bi-weekly business review process, it was clear that Excel wasn’t right for this project. Issues around the operation of multiple independent spreadsheets, gathering and consolidating data meant that producing budgets and forecasts with Excel simply couldn’t meet the target timeframe.
Moving towards a rapid forecasting approach with Jedox
Ramboll already used Jedox for its annual budgeting process, employing the tool on a bottom-up basis to support 2-3 forecasting cycles per year. “Working with our specialist software partner Qbit we pivoted quickly towards using Jedox in a different way to support a more dynamic forecasting approach that would help us respond effectively,” explained Mikkel.
To achieve this, Ramboll’s Finance team worked to turn its model around and create a more active scenario modelling and rolling forecast capability. Using Jedox as a toolbox, Ramboll created an integrated digital model that can be used by Finance to support the management team, as well as across the company’s different business areas.
Using a global ‘check-in’ and ‘check-out’ approach allows each business area to work with different simulation and forecast models, enabling them to review their own initiatives and action plans before checking their forecast in to the Finance team. At head-office all forecasts are consolidated automatically, effectively creating an integrated forecasting model for Ramboll based on multiple simulations across the business.
Delivering rapid forecasts with Jedox
According to Mikkel Barth-Højgaard: “Ramboll is a traditional engineering company and we like detail, so we worked hard to produce updated global forecasts for our bi-weekly management team meetings. The Jedox approach, with its innovative top-down model was fully able to support this, initially enabling us to produce forecasts bi-weekly instead of quarterly – a full 6x faster than our previous process. However, having demonstrated the power of Jedox to deliver forecasts bi-weekly, we’re now happy to just run this monthly.
“The result is that each month Jedox provides us with rolling forecasts and scenario modelling capabilities that provide a completely updated view of the global Ramboll business,” added Mikkel. “In practice, what this means is that our management meetings can now focus on looking forward to how our year will end, rather that just focusing on past performance. Thanks to the Jedox solution we can be much more responsive, and that’s clearly been an important factor for the Finance team as we continue to support the business through the pandemic.”
Providing a platform for further FP&A development
With Jedox already delivering annual budgets, and now supporting monthly rolling forecast and scenario modelling for Ramboll, it’s clear that Jedox has become a key tool for the Finance team. Looking forward, the Ramboll Finance team is now focused on making its forecasting cycle even more data-driven, with the goal of using Jedox as its engine handling key inputs from across the business.
Powerful Jedox toolset has enabled Ramboll to produce forecasts at bi-weekly intervals – up to 6x faster than its previous quarterly cycle
Innovative, top-down forecasting model takes advantage of Jedox’s powerful rolling forecasting and scenario modelling capabilities
With the Jedox engine receiving updates from across the Ramboll business, and presenting monthly forecasts via Power BI, the company’s Finance team now has more time to focus on higher value activities
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