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Uncover insights for better decision-making with automated budgeting

Industry Marketing Manager, IBM

Do you maintain your household budget in a spreadsheet? I’m sure you have experienced the effects of one small error cascading through your budget—with the result that suddenly you have lots of money for dining out and nothing for dining in. While eating at a different restaurant every night might have short-term appeal, in the long run it’s not good for your health and well-being. Similarly, a major global company that manages its finances on spreadsheets is the equivalent of you managing your budget on the back of a dinner napkin.

Velan, a world leader in valve manufacturing, has grown since 1950 through innovation and an entrepreneurial spirit that continues today. The company produces a world-leading range of cast and forged steel gate valves, highly engineered severe service valves, and steam traps for all major industrial applications. Velan now operates 17 production facilities in North America, Europe and Asia, five stocking distribution centers and service shops around the world. It employs over 2,000 people and reports revenues of more than $450 million. However, its innovation didn’t extend to the finance department, which was still using spreadsheets—25 complex, connected spreadsheets for budgeting, forecasting and consolidating numbers for the organization.

We learned from Alex Salvaggio, finance and budgeting manager at Velan, how moving from spreadsheets to automated budgeting with IBM Cognos gave the finance team time to acquire real insight from its data through numerous analytics. 

Salvaggio says, “The financial reports that we generate with IBM Cognos go all the way up to our board. We’re seeing a continual demand for more information because our directors now know that we can get them the insights that they need, much faster than ever before.”

Implementing the IBM solution has enabled the finance team to work more efficiently and, therefore, redefine the role played by their department within the company. In the past just compiling financial reports would take the finance team days, and with the new solution this has been cut down to just hours or even minutes. The entire team is much happier now because they have time to use the skills they were trained for – digging deep into the data to identify problems and opportunities, and acting as trusted advisers to executive decision-makers.

Read the full Velan success story.