What level of data should your EPM system hold?
This is a question that Hyperion Insurance have grappled with over recent years.
Hyperion Insurance Group is an international firm of insurance brokers and underwriters. With over 4,500 employees worldwide, Hyperion Insurance is one of the world’s leading insurance intermediary groups. Since humble beginnings in 1994 as a small London broker, Hyperion Insurance has become a leading independent, international insurance group.
Hyperion Insurance has grown from nothing to a $700m revenue global business in just 20 years using a strategy of organic growth by highly autonomous insurance teams, and through international acquisitions. This has driven the need for data models that can respond flexibly and provide data needed to test growth strategies.
Fortunately, this has coincided with the evolution of EPM systems, from traditional consolidation into management and operational planning levels. Hyperion Insurance eventually made the choice to move to OneStream for financial consolidation, management reporting, account reconciliations, budgeting and forecasting.
With UK and Tier1 businesses migrated to Unit4 as the global ERP solution, it made sense to build an integration with OneStream which imports trial balance to the lowest level of analysis. With this rich mine of data, we have the confidence to respond to whatever business throws at us in the future, whether that’s Staff expenses by employee, IT spend by supplier, Capex by project or Account reconciliations. International subsidiaries with smaller hard-pressed finance teams keep a light-touch month-end process with minimal data requirements.
These different stakeholders across the group have very different data requirements – but only one central cube of Finance data. The Finance cube is the common standard for data across the group, providing consistency for reporting and consolidation.
With OneStream, Hyperion Insurance were able to leverage the power of a concept known as relational blending. The lower levels of data are kept out of the Finance cube in relational tables, but the relational data can be blended in a number of ways with cube data, providing drill-downs from the Cube to give further insight into balances, or building detailed bottom-up reports which reconcile.
The following two use cases explain how we have been able to deploy this concept to the greatest effect at Hyperion Insurance.
Organic Growth reporting
Organic Growth rate is a crucial metric which drives investment decisions and strategy at Hyperion Insurance. In order to measure the year-on-year revenue growth of the existing business, we need to go back to the underlying transaction currencies at a constant rate.
The lowest level business units are assigned into a ‘change’ dimension – allowing segmentation of the Group between existing, new teams and acquisitions. This also allows monitoring performance of previous-year investment decisions.
Standard trial balance data in the Finance cube is held functional currency – we extend to relational-level data, blending in transaction currency where available whilst maintaining completeness and consistency to trial balance.
Operational control and planning
At Hyperion Insurance, budgeting is an extensive process, where growth strategies can be fully tested and costed, ensuring cash and resources are deployed in the right place at the right time for expansion.
OneStream is beginning to deliver monthly operational control by blending plan and actual data. Examples include:
- Planned staff costs vs payroll actuals by employee;
- Planned insurance commissions vs actuals by policy;
- Deferred consideration and performance criteria modelling.
Relational blending means that we can offer flexibility to plan at a level which suits different group businesses – for some it’s a detailed bottom-up process that can be used for ongoing operation control, for others it’s a once-a-year high level process. Either way, there is completeness at Group level.
Achieving transparency, control, and governance across our international businesses was our biggest challenge with the system we were using before OneStream. Now the individual businesses can do local management reporting with a deeper level of data for analysis. We’ve been able to create a very seamless connection between our Unit4 ERP and OneStream, which works really well. Having a solution as valuable to the local businesses as to Group is critical for user adoption and our collective success.