Commerzbank is using an IBM Cognos solution for across-the-board cockpit-based control of its banking business
IBM Software Business Analytics
Commerzbank is using an IBM Cognos solution for across-the-board cockpit-based control of its banking businessOverview:Challenge Commerzbank was looking for an integrated BI system capable of effectively supporting all decision making processes, while considering IT compliance. Why IBM? In addition to traditional BI functions such as analysis and reporting, IBM delivered more extensive support for controlling workflows. Solution IBM Cognos TM1 and IBM Cognos 8 BI have provided Commerzbank with a powerful performance management system for across-the-board control of its banking business. Key benefits The new solution brings significant gains in terms of time, quality and flexibility. It provides a clearer picture of business development, optimises controlling processes across all banking areas and reduces staff workloads.
Commerzbank is Germanys second largest financial institution and ranks among the most significant players in Europe. The merger of Dresdner Bank with Commerzbank in May 2009 resulted in the creation of one of Germanys leading private and business banks, supported by the combined strength of the effective and extensive experience of two long-established institutions. In total, the new Commerzbank serves around 14.5 million private and business customers all over the world. With around 1,200 branches, Commerzbank boasts the most extensive network of all German banks. (status 6/2010; source: www.commerzbank.de)
Challenges facedIn recent times, significant changes in financial markets and the real economy have prompted banks to refocus their business policies, resulting in new requirements for control concepts and solutions. In 2007, Commerzbank decided to develop an integrated Business Intelligence system to implement its new control concept. The new solution needed to be capable of providing effective support for all decision-making processes, while considering aspects of IT compliance. One key requirement was the creation of transparency in relation to the development of Commerzbank units to identify critical areas of action.
The IBM Cognos 8 BI platform and the professionals from conuit have enabled us to achieve a 60 percent reduction in reporting costs and times.Nicole Grothe, Group Finance-Controlling Department Manager Control & Metrics, Commerzbank AG
Control through standardisation, measurement and continuous comparison of target valuesThe guiding objective was for Commerzbank to integrate all relevant key indicators into a standard, multi-dimensional and consistent platform. This would help them produce meaningful reports and, if required, generate detailed analyses at any time. Additional objectives included preventing data loss and reducing set-up and processing times. Because the existing control process involved a high volume of manual data entry, spreadsheet-based data exchanges and other manual processes, it was very error prone and time-consuming to maintain. Technical support for workflows, with central data storage and decentralised input, would eliminate format mismatches throughout the entire control process, from local data entry to comments and reporting, thus guaranteeing high data quality.
IBM Software Business Analytics
The development and implementation of this kind of performance management system involves a wide range of organisational, business and technical aspects, as well as requiring access to advanced tools and experienced consultants with extensive business, industry and IT skills.
Innovative tools and competent partners are essential requirementsCommerzbank already had positive experience with IBM Cognos products from a previous project. It also had existing contacts with conuit GmbH, a consultancy specialising in planning and control, and an IBM business partner which is one of Germanys leading Business Intelligence consultancies. After assessing the potential partners and technologies for this project, Commerzbank entrusted conuit GmbH with the task of working out sustainable concepts and alternative solutions to meet its requirements, along with an assessment of associated benefits and drawbacks, and preparing realistic cost-benefit plans. As well as classic BI functions such as analysis and reporting, a conceptual approach was taken to fully support controlling workflows linked to BI. In addition, the aim was for the entire system to be administered independently, as much as possible, by the technical department.
The new solution exceeds even the most ambitious expectationsAfter successfully completing the first expansion stage of the new solution within six months, conuit spent the next few months working with Commerzbank to fine-tune the concepts. The system meets all specified requirements while ensuring IT compliance: all controlling indicators are now available centrally, and are up to date at all times. This allows flexible analyses and supports the entire comments process by controlling. Indicators and comments are entered locally, via a user-friendly Web interface. The technical department is responsible for administering this control system and can implement any required technical changes directly in the system. The new solution therefore represents an integrated performance management approach, helping to continuously improve the main drivers of corporate value growth, profitability, productivity and risk profile. It systemises goals for the group, segments and business areas while at the same time monitoring financial and operational key performance indicators. The user-friendly solution supports coherent and stringent decision making in relation to resources, based on a standardised framework of indicators across different business areas. It also acts as an early warning system, promptly flagging up unexpected trends and enabling the appropriate corrective action to be taken. Integration with Microsoft Office allows the automated creation of data-driven presentations in PowerPoint or exports to Excel files for more detailed analysis.
IBM Software Business Analytics
Intelligent integration of powerful sub-systemsThe original data management systems are SAP R/3 along with various separate database solutions for individual banking and product-specific applications, such as risk and equity capital data. As the central component for analytical data management and the evaluation system, the IBM Cognos TM1 multi-dimensional database is used to record and analyse key indicators. Special check routines ensure the integrity of online entries, while automatic ETL processes provide the required data and indicators from the operating systems. To validate key indicators, controllers can access the associated definitions and metadata online at any time. A customised online application from conuit GmbH is used to handle all aspects of process and application management.
Competitive advantages through gains in time, quality and flexibilityThe IBM Cognos 8 BI platform and the professionals from conuit have enabled us to achieve a 60 percent reduction in reporting costs and times. We are also now able to respond flexibly and rapidly to any changes requested by management, explains Nicole Grothe, Commerzbank technical department project manager. In particular, support for comments has enabled us to optimise controlling processes across the board, significantly reducing the burden on controlling staff. Finally, we have also observed a significant improvement in the data quality of reports. Because the solution provides automatic generation of content and graphics, it provides a view of trends over time, and allows crossreferencing as well as rapid and intuitive understanding even for managers from other areas. Continuous analysis of the defined dashboards has helped to create a far clearer picture of business development in individual areas, for controlling and within each business line. The highly flexible structure of the data model opens up the possibility of rapidly amending indicators to reflect the latest developments. The fact that these indicators are also standard and accepted within the market makes it possible to compare the performance of the individual entities within the Commerzbank group. They are also used as the basis for internal analyses of strengths and weaknesses.
About IBM Business AnalyticsIBM Business Analytics solutions deliver world-leading enterprise planning, consolidation and BI software, support and services to help companies plan, understand and manage financial and operational performance. IBM Business Analytics solutions bring together technology, analytical applications, best practices, and a broad network of partners to give customers an open, adaptive and complete performance solution. Over 23,000 customers in more than 135 countries around the world choose IBM Business Analytics solutions.
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