Automated forecasting tool streamlines
monthly project monitoring.
Real-estate company Wallenstam put a lot of effort into producing monthly forecasts for project monitoring and control of
their construction projects. In order to streamline the work Wallenstam began a collaboration with Obnex to introduce
Xcellplanner. Wallenstam now has an automated forecasting process with increased safeguards, a higher quality of
submitted forecasts and saves about 500 man-hours a year.
Wallenstam is one of Sweden's largest real-estate companies, managing, building and developing properties in Gothenburg, Stockholm and Helsingborg.
Wallenstam makes monthly forecasts for all ongoing construction projects to ensure that their cost parameters are followed. The project managers felt
that the amount of work required to make these predictions was very time consuming. It was largely a manual effort, where project managers input data
manually thus increasing the risk of errors.
The work was performed in Microsoft Excel. Håkan Lindhén, project controller at Wallenstam, says:
"We dealt with a variety of files that could be difficult to structure. Another problem was that our users have different levels of Excel knowledge
and use templates in different ways, resulting in an unsafe and unreliable template.".
Wallenstam’s controllers had to expend much time and energy to help project managers in their efforts to develop forecasts.
Meanwhile Wallenstam employees were used to working with Microsoft Excel and it was perceived as a problem to switch to a completely new solution.
"I've worked in web-based cost management programs in the past and the problem is that they are so extremely inflexible that you always encounter problems.
They become difficult to work with and can result in project managers not using the system." says Håkan Lindhén.
Over six months, Wallenstam’s IT department together with Obnex and Håkan Lindhén from the finance department implemented a new solution for project monitoring.
"The introduction of Xcellplanner has worked very well. The employees who will work with the program have been able to see the progress and
influence the design of the final solution along the way. This facilitates implementation because the project mangers’ views are incorporated and through their
participation they are already motivated to start working with our new forecasting tool." continues Håkan Lindhén.
Xcellplanner connects to Wallenstam’s data warehouse so that the comparative data is loaded into the forecasting program automatically. -
"To automate the input of comparative data into the forecast will save a lot of time and we know that the values in the forecast are identical to those we
have in the financial system."
Wallenstam saw a great benefit with the security of Xcellplanner and the ability to manage approval and authorization directly with the program.
"Now we can digitally sign and therefore live up to our process description and the auditors will be satisfied. At the
same time we reduce printing and save time in terms of administrative effort."
With Xcellplanner’s web-based Excel interface, Wallenstam employees can easily access the program via the Web. "With Xcellplanner we get a
very consistent and pleasing interface, with a common entrance to both current and archived forecasts. In addition, it’s easily accessible via the Web.
It gives us a much more unified view."
When users work with Xcellplanner, they receive a lot of automatic support - "Now it is handled mostly by automation which means that
project managers can spend more of their time running their projects instead of creating forecasts. In retrospect, I can say that this partnership, which
has been very enjoyable and stimulating, has resulted in a program that I have sought after for many years."
- Saves about 500 man-hours a year
- Ability to digitally sign forecasts
- Project managers can spend more time running projects
- Higher quality of submitted forecasts
- Better understanding of the forecasting process