SBAB Modernises Budgeting and Planning with Oracle Cloud
SBAB Bank AB (SBAB) is a Swedish bank founded in 1985, focused on mortgage lending and borrowing. SBAB’s business model is to be mindful and innovative in their offering of loan and savings products to consumers, tenant-owners’ associations and property companies in Sweden. SBAB’s aim is to have the best mortgage offer in Sweden.
For many years, SBAB has been using Oracle Planning and Budgeting on-premise, in combination with Essbase, to support the organisation with the processes around budgeting and planning and to help the controllers analyse the information in a flexible way.
SBAB started looking into a more cost-effective Cloud-based way to deliver the same service to the organisation but also to provide more interactive and self-service reporting analytical tools. The possibility to upgrade or patch the environment continuously, when needed, was also requested.
Need for change
SBAB was experiencing limitations in their existing EPM solution. From an EPM process and analytic model point of view, the performance, quality, flexibility and depth were state-of-the-art and the solution delivered according to expectations. But there was a need for more features and to make the solution easier to use and administer for the end-users.
Users were bogged down in time-consuming and inefficient tasks, administering and maintaining several spread sheets. A more straightforward, pre-packed and more automated solution was therefore requested.
Another key driver was to cut costs, with the aim of finding a solution which can do more for less.
In 2018, inlumi’s consultants moved the Planning and Essbase on-premise environment to Oracle’s Cloud platform; a combination of Planning and Budgeting Cloud Service (PBCS) and Essbase Cloud Service, a component of Oracle Analytics Cloud.
By choosing Oracle EPM Cloud, SBAB could keep the model and processes as-is, in addition to new features and a more holistic and user-friendly solution.
With the use of Cloud software, scaling and increasing the number of end-users over time will become much easier, compared to SBAB’s previous on-premise solution. In OAC, the licencing is not billed per user (such as with PBCS) but instead per CPU hour of the system. Taking that in consideration, the increase in users that are working actively in OAC can scale over time with a limited increase in cost and new products can be tested with a minimum of effort and cost.
SBAB is now also able to use a new easy-to-maintain platform in which they can continue developing their EPM model. Most importantly, the modern platform enables users to work more efficiently, opening up resources to do the real work of analysing and understanding data.
Advice from SBAB
“Do not hesitate to take action to change. Even though it feels like the safer option, staying in an old environment can hurt productivity and will probably cause more struggles in the future than if you embrace and work actively with change.
“When the project is decided, a convenient start could be to change the platform (if you are happy with the EPM model as-is) and look at what is easiest for the end-users. Then continue with the development of the EPM model in the new platform or environment.”
Jonas Melander, EPM Architect and Controller
Partnership between SBAB and inlumi
Jonas Melander, EPM Architect and controller at SBAB, was already acquainted with inlumi’s consultants when SBAB was considering a new EPM solution. inlumi was a partner in developing their initial solution, and therefore already understood SBAB’s business needs. Because of positive experiences with past projects, Jonas and his colleagues therefore selected inlumi as the partner to set up the EPM solution in the Cloud.
Jonas was the main customer contact and the internal project manager. During the project, Jonas worked actively on testing technical and functional features and implementation, but also coordinated the project more generally.
As this was a pioneer implementation of OAC in the Nordics, the inlumi team had to do some investigating in how Oracle had delivered the solution in the past. It was a challenge to understand what to configure and what not to configure. Nevertheless, inlumi’s consultants leveraged their skills during the project and were able to implement a workable environment for SBAB.
Another challenge was the migration of SBAB’s ASO models (self-loading structures in Essbase that automatically load from Business World and SBAB’s Data ware house) that could not be moved as-is from their on-premise solution to Cloud. This was solved by close cooperation between inlumi and Oracle by finding a way to migrate Essbase rules to the Cloud.
inlumi faced some technical issues that also were solved in co-operation between inlumi and Oracle. Because this was the first implementation of OAC in the Nordics, enough resources were provided from all parties, but the challenge was to reach the right person for the right problem. The consultants from inlumi used their technical knowledge and experience to provide the right support during the project.