SNCF Network publishes its results by category in fifteen days instead of six months thanks to Anaplan.
The project was ambitious. Technically, it involved handling millions of entries. In human terms, it meant changing habits, adapting to the agile method and working in collaborative mode. Today, SNCF Network’s management controllers complete the income statement in a fortnight instead of six months. And it can better focus on its real job, analysing the results.
At SNCF Network, management control and the IT department worked hand in hand on the Anaplan project. “In the current context, we are happy to share a success story with you,” said Claude Delansay, the management controller, in his opening remarks. A successful project involving very large amounts of data – eight million transactional data to be managed per year with corporate repositories – and involving a change in the way of working.« We carried out this project in agile mode, a mode that is increasingly being developed within SNCF Network,” explains Thierry Borel, head of management control and budget IS at SNCF Network. We were able to meet the short deadlines, less than four months, and at the same time contribute to speed up a process to a very large extent. It used to take several months to get the data needed to manage the costs of the French rail network. Now it is done in a few weeks. The project was an obligation, dictated by the creation of SNCF Network following the 2014 reform, which required the management model to be rebuilt.
A powerful solution in SaaS mode
For Thierry Borel, Anaplan played an important role in the success of the project, as it is user-centred and quite easy to use. It may seem like a marketing language, but it’s a real solution, transparent, with very intelligible management rules,” he insists. It replaced custom development in PL/SQL and Registry as well as Excel tools. We now have a real IS solution with management rules for reallocating costs that can be understood by both the director and the user. All this with strong limitations. The account is provided to both the supervisory authorities and to the Arafer, the regulatory authority for rail and road activities. It must be possible to trace each figure from its origin to its appearance in the account by destination.
Performance is another key point, and Anaplan easily handles very high volume calculations, with a realisation of five million entries. Finally, the SaaS (Software as a Service) mode allowed for rapid deployment. “With Anaplan, the day after signing, you have an environment. The product shakes up the way things are done. Anaplan was a tool with very few references in the world of SNCF’s financial IS,” admits Thierry Borel. It was clearly the PoC (proof of concept) that changed the decision. In five days, we showed what we were capable of doing. Anaplan makes it possible to understand which of the millions of entries need to be corrected and has therefore greatly accelerated the processes.
BAW as a partner
We have reversed the 80-20 ratio,” says Claude Delansay. We used to spend 80% of our time collecting and processing data. Now data collection and processing are automated and we can concentrate on the true nature of a financial department, the analysis of figures. Today, the Activity-Based Income Statement is out in a fortnight, when it used to take six months. The success is indeed a team effort. “We were not in isolation, we really worked in an integrated way and with a partner, Business At Work”, summarises Thierry Borel.
This project is a first step. A second phase started in May. It concerns the regulation accounting, in order to put the real costs opposite each toll. Finally, a reflection is being carried out on the budgetary part in order to compare the budgetary income statement with the actual income statement. This year, it will be produced on a half-yearly basis, with the aim of producing it quarterly in 2019, or even monthly thereafter.