Affecto helped Pohjolan Voima to get more out of the Cognos environment. The new data warehouse has speeded up many of the company's working processes, reduced the number of errors and improved cost efficiency.

Pohjolan Voima has been accumulating experience from the Cognos environment for over ten years. Originally, the system was introduced just for generating financial reports. People got used to the system and were generally satisfied with it except that more muscle was hoped for. While new software versions added a few new features, they did not have much of an impact on performance.

Objectives

In spring 2011, the company realised that Cognos was seriously under-used. This was due to performance problems and  he needs of the financial administration that had been growing and changing over the years. It was also common knowledge that Cognos had the potential of supporting both the business and financial administration more effectively. “We were looking for greater performance to develop the BI environment and to get more out of the Cognos environment,” says Pekka Törmänen, IT Manager, Pohjolan Voima. A key objective established for the project was to shift the focus from reporting fixed on the rear view mirror to the analysis of financial information, back-to-back forecasting and the clearer presentation of financial indicators. It was recognised early on that it was advisable to replace the database-based silo-like systems with a uniform company-wide data warehouse. Once the objectives were clear, Pohjolan Voima selected Affecto, an experienced Cognos expert, as its partner.

Solution

The project to build the new IT systems started with an analysis and description of the process required for back-to-back forecasting. The process description was converted into a digital format with the assistance of Affecto’s experts, after which it was imported into the Cognos environment. The new system is based on a data warehouse built on the Informatica technology. Its performance and scalability outshines the previous system based on decentralised databases.

“Performance improved substantially when the architecture was modified.”

Pohjolan Voima’s Cognos-based BI environment has a three-tier management model. On the strategic level, objectives are evaluated annually; on the tactical level every three months; and on the operational level on a weekly basis.

“Affecto’s involvement in the efforts to develop the Cognos environment introduced a systematic approach conducive to business goals,” says Törmänen.

The new system also provides dashboard views for people serving in different roles. As a result, people on all levels of the organisation have access to the same information to the extent it supports the management of one’s own work.

Once the back-to-back forecasting model was up and running, the operational model based on the data warehouse and more efficient utilisation of the Cognos environment was introduced to other functions within Pohjolan Voima, such as working hours recording and the automation of electricity billing.

Benefits

The new system has greatly speeded up many of Pohjolan Voima’s working processes. The automation of manual work has reduced the number of errors and freed resources for other tasks. Cost efficiency has improved and the investments made in information technology have brought substantial benefits now that the IT systems are operating at a high capacity.

Development

Smooth cooperation with Affecto is continuing in the form of project deliveries in addition to maintenance services.

“The prospects for new projects are excellent because Affecto has a good idea of our BI environment and they know our processes. Together, we’ve worked out a roadmap for developing and making better use of our BI environment,” explains Törmänen.

The objective of Pohjolan Voima’s IT administration is to generate up-to-date information on the current situation as well as produce forecasts for the future on an on-going basis.

“The foreseeable projects are related not only to financial administration but also to monitoring results and forecasting, better visualisation of the data and risk management.”

All the development efforts are based on a stable data warehouse. “Creating the data warehouse was a major project. Working with Affecto’s specialists was based not only on their solid expertise but also on good personal chemistry. We set great store by people getting along with one another on a project. After all, it’s having the right people that makes the difference,” concludes Törmänen.