Part 2 – Building a commercial manager toolkit

Stage two of our work with Robertson Group commenced in 2014. There were now twelve business groups and they were set for further growth.

Having implemented IBM® Planning Analytics and removed spreadsheets from the annual budget, monthly management accounts and weekly cash forecasts, the next step was to look at the cost value reconciliations (CVRs).

This presented a slightly different demand on the system – in addition to storing and aggregating data, it now needed to be able to enhance it. Robertson Group required the source data to be combined with manual inputs and for calculations to then be performed on it to produce new outputs; not just reports, transaction forms as well.

To add to the challenge, the user group of quantity surveyors were used to the freedom and flexibility of Excel and were resistant to change. They were unhappy at the prospect of moving to a centralised system where they wouldn’t be able to check for themselves exactly how a reported figure was being calculated.

In order to overcome this, we built the IBM® Planning Analytics model to exactly mirror the current spreadsheets, allowing the users to maintain their input methods and produce the same outputs. This system was the commercial manager toolkit.

In the five years that the commercial manager toolkit has been in place, Robertson Group have replaced an additional 9,000 islands of construction industry cost value reconciliation data with another data continent. This sits alongside the existing continent of budget, actual and forecast data created through the initial stages of our implementation.

Having successfully delivered the commercial manager toolkit, there was one business-critical management information process remaining to overhaul. Similarly Excel-intensive, the detailed monthly business performance and forecast reports needed to be addressed.

For a free healthcheck to review your planning processes contact us today.

Simon Bradshaw

I have worked in finance and business systems development since 2001 and am an associate member of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants. In 2016 I became a founding member of Spitfire Analytics, a consultancy specialising in IBM Planning Analytics. We are committed to building long-term relationships across all industries. I focus on my CPD through CIMA and IBM badges, ensuring I am always abreast of best practice and developments within the industry.


Spitfire have a depth of understanding not only in Cognos/TM1 technologies, but also in finance and accounting. It is this combination of expertise and their ability to get to the heart of business problems that has resulted in such confidence in their delivery and capabilities. The insight and value-add they have brought is evident.

- Peter Smith, Head of Solution Delivery, Edrington

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