Collaborating across all areas of engineering, Morrison Hershfield participates in a wide range of activities. As an employee-owned engineering company, transparency is needed for employee-owners to grow the business. Financials are just part of the planning picture. Retaining top talent, supporting movement around the organization, promoting strategic initiatives and monitoring success are critical. When the company was 50 or 100 engineers, it was possible to do all the reporting in Excel. Now, with over 300 engineers, Excel doesn’t cut it.
As the world changes, Morrison Hershfield needs to be able to update forecasts to see exactly where the business is heading, and course correct as needed. The annual planning process used to take 3 months, combining input from 30 managers across the company, and consuming the Finance team’s time day and night during that period. After completing the annual plan, reforecasting on a monthly or quarterly basis was just impossible.
People are the company’s strength. They are smart, motivated and receptive to change. Together with Clear Insight, they trained up on IBM Planning Analytics to build a tool to collaborate on plans in real time and provide the timely, meaningful metrics employee-owners need to grow the business. Originally, they were going to slowly phase in the new tool, but decided to collapse their implementation timeline from 2 years to 6 months, with a very positive reception, engagement and adoption.
Instead of 3 months of stress, the annual planning cycle was done in 4 weeks, with no issues, each of the last 2 years. Beyond just financial reporting, they can measure the health of their backlog across each area of our business, and the staffing plans across specialties. Managers across the company have direct input for their area of the business, into salaries, merit increases and backlog projections.
When managers ask for ad hoc reporting, Finance can respond in minutes rather than days. When the board wants to play with strategic initiatives, they can do what-if modeling to give them accurate estimates of the impact of their decisions in the same conversation. When Finance needs to put together new reports or templates, they can do it on their own, without going to consultants. Morrison has brought the knowledge in-house, so they can build and update the tool as their business changes.
Their investment in software, services and training has paid off in transparent, trustworthy, reliable, actionable insights they all agree are critical to their success. Rather than hoping the reporting is correct from Excel, they have transparency and controls to ensure the data is clean and accurate. Their managers can be confident as they use the insights to steer the business together.