Leading Financial Services Company Goes Beyond Reporting to Improve Strategic Decision Making and Increase Profitability
ICON International engages in corporate barter in North America with a wide range of companies and suppliers, helping major corporations maximize underutilized assets through a variety of methods, including purchasing excess inventory and assets that no longer meet their clients’ strategic needs.
A wholly owned subsidiary of Omnicon Group, a publicly traded company (NYSE:OMC) and the world’s largest family of advertising, marketing communications and related firms, ICON is headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut and has a regional office in Toronto, Canada. Annual sales are nearly $400 million.
ICON wanted to find a user-friendly, more efficient analytics tool that would enable the finance department to provide high-value information and analysis to departmental managers and senior-level executives outside of the finance department. To achieve this business objective, ICON chose BIO Business Intelligence for Microsoft Dynamics. With BIO, ICON is now able to go beyond analysis and reporting to gain valuable, actionable knowledge that can be utilized across the organization—from the CEO to the client service teams.
Analytics for Microsoft Dynamics
ICON partnered with BIO Analytics Corp. to implement BIO to deliver self-service business information analytics for Microsoft Dynamics and other data sources. BIO delivers an easy-to-use and deploy solution that enables even non-technical users to analyze, understand, and act upon previously inaccessible operational and financial information derived from multiple software applications throughout and external to the enterprise.
Up and Running
One of the primary goals of the BIO implementation was to unlock the data that was in ICON’s existing Microsoft Dynamics system. ICON’s Jack Duffy, Vice President of Finance, wanted the ability to analyze sales and gross profits by customer and then provide company executives and client service teams with immediate and easy access to this information in order to impact their business decisions. He also wanted to give these non-technical users the ability to model this information any way they wanted to see it.
Duffy and his team first set up views of ICON’s basic financial statements and then progressed to customer analyses. They began by tracking each of their contracts more closely—starting with the client, then the contract and then the specific projects under that contract.
Previously, ICON had to download general ledger transactions and then sort and analyze them in Excel—a very time-consuming process. And while the data was easy to download, Excel could provide only a one-dimensional view of the data, greatly limiting its usefulness.
With BIO’s predefined links to all of the data stored in Dynamics, ICON is now able to analyze the data one way and then quickly and easily look at it in another way to answer any other question without affecting the integrity of the underlying data. In Excel, ICON had to highlight the data, sort it, and re-subtotal it—a much more time-consuming process that had to be repeated to answer subsequent questions.
BIO’s analytics for Microsoft Dynamics has also enabled ICON to enhance the value of its existing Microsoft Dynamics platform to take advantage of data that just did not get analyzed before. Within Dynamics, there are many different areas and fields on the screen that offered ICON different way to cut and slice their data. However, until BIO, ICON did not have a really good analytical tool that could take advantage of all of those features that exist in SL, such as sorting and selecting by such characteristics as customer size, industry type, and geography.
Business Intelligence for Microsoft Dynamics
BIO’s many predefined reports now give ICON executives and client services staff more timely information that is available right on their desktops. Duffy and his team have set up views, triggers, and alerts in BIO that make these reports extremely useful tools for understanding the current state of the business, particularly for staff outside of the accounting department.
Client services staff, for example, are now able to know the profitability for each of their clients and can identify and respond to changes in client behavior much more quickly.
Duffy and his team have been using BIO for several years now and are always working to define the most essential views that will have the most direct impact on the company’s bottom-line performance as well as exploring BIO’s latest innovations and how they can benefit the company.