Business planning at organizations is often characterized by a multitude of spreadsheets and lots of manual activity to bring data together from disparate sources. The result is a time-consuming exercise that is less than optimal. According to SAP research, best-in-class organizations achieve 90% forecast accuracy while the worst performers achieve only 80%.
Founded in 1954 in Melbourne, Australia with a drive-in cinema, Village Roadshow has been listed on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) since 1988. Today, Village Roadshow operates core businesses in theme parks, film and DVD distribution, cinema exhibition, film production, and marketing solutions. While creating strong and diverse earnings streams, these businesses are complementary, targeting a similar customer demographic and providing significant cross-promotional opportunities.
A four-phase approach to an ambitious project
Two years ago, the company set out on an ambitious company-wide business intelligence and sales and operational planning project. The four-phase approach was designed to transform financial planning, forecasting, and consolidation. In a webinar with SAP and EY, Michael Dayaseela, Village Roadshow’s manager of business intelligence, described how the team went about it.
In the initial two phases, the company built the technical foundation for the new solution and implemented common financial reports across the group. These were necessary first steps. While each division has its own reporting requirements, there is a need to consolidate financial information for corporate reporting.
However, the real benefits of the new solution came from the third and fourth steps – empowering each division with self-service capabilities for analytics and reporting and implementing a common financial planning, forecasting, and consolidation solution across the group.
Large-scale operational planning
Today business managers at Village Roadshow are able to perform large-scale operational planning across the entire business, as well as undertake highly detailed sales and promotional planning within each division. According to Michael, “The flexibility of the system has taken business planning and consolidation to a new level.”
For example, in its Roadshow Entertainment business, managers don’t want to launch a new DVD if it isn’t going to be profitable. With the new solution, they can now analyze various scenarios, including using social media and other external data, and instantly produce profit-and-loss reports that predict how profitable each DVD will be.
Optimized revenue and a streamlined process
The solution is not only helping the company optimize its revenue. It has also streamlined the whole process; allowed operational staff to focus on more value-added activities, rather than building and managing manually intensive spreadsheets; and improved the accuracy of forecasting.
As Scott Taylor, partner, EY Asia Pacific, said in the webinar, “Village Roadshow is one of Australia’s greatest success stories – an Australian company taking on the world. It is extremely innovative in the entertainment markets and is always looking for new ways to do things better and more efficiently.”
The new financial planning, forecasting, and consolidation solution has certainly been a resounding success.