Visualising the IMI’s Integrated Management Accounts

Background

Founded in 1920, the Institute for Motor Industry (IMI) provides and continuously evolves how organisations and individuals working in the automotive sector can gain professional competencies and accreditations. The IMI also works as a membership body, representing the voice of its members to gain industry recognition.

With over 85,000 members and supporting over 500 centres delivering IMI accredited courses for over half a million individuals, the IMI’s reach is large, despite the business itself being relatively small. The IMI’s 100+ employees therefore need to work with technology that performs at the highest level to ensure efficient service delivery and informed decision making. 

The IMI aspires to be as ambitious, efficient, and economical as possible and IT therefore plays a significant role in achieving this. The project was underpinned by the IMI’s core IT strategic principles – consolidate, connect, enhance, and protect. 

Discover & Propose

The IMI’s aim was clear: collaborate with a highly consultative IT partner to take the business forward from a financial reporting perspective. The partner had to have experience in both Sage as well as Microsoft’s Power Platform, specifically Power BI, and take a data-first approach.

BCN were initially chosen by the IMI for a Sage 200 support role, but the later requirement on analytics – specifically around the implementation, visualisation and surfacing of Sage 200 insights through Power BI – led to BCN and the IMI working together on the much more complex project of visualising the IMI’s management accounts.

The project was aptly called the ‘Interactive Management Accounts’ reflecting a desire to focus primarily on the business benefits and outcomes it would bring, and less on the underlying technologies.

Testimonial

“We have gone from our management accounts taking several days to produce, to them now being available at the click of a button”

Simon James – Chief Financial Officer, The IMI

Transform & Adapt

BCN first engaged in a paid discovery process, gaining a clear understanding of the requirements of the project by gathering and analysing spreadsheets of previous months’ financial data.

The discovery process helped promote clear and consistent communication throughout the project. Specifically, it enabled the BCN team to understand what it took to produce the interactive management reports, where the major pain points were, where the data came from, and what was needed to achieve the final product.

By having these considerations visible, BCN were able to build user stories to better understand the unique challenges the IMI’s finance team faced, as well as their wants and needs following the projects completion.

The discovery phase ensured BCN worked towards the IMI’s end goal, whilst tackling specific issues and design choice to enhance the overall user experience. It also significantly de-risked the project by gaining clarity on requirements from the outset.

Our Approach

Taking a data-first approach, BCN were able to work out where the data was pulled from and how it worked, enabling a strategy that presented data in Power BI in a more standardised way.

The way data was visualised was key, but the underlying data behind that, and how it was processed and manipulated in a safe and compliant manner prior to being visualised was the cornerstone of the project.

From the start of implementing the mini sprints, to the full release of the software, the project took roughly four months to complete.

Testimonial

“The discovery phase gave us huge reassurance that we had chosen the right partner to work with, and significantly de-risked the development and implementation because we could see where the challenges were from the outset.”

Ric Sheldon – IT Consultant for the IMI

Images of the Solution

Testimonial

“BCN executed exactly as we expected, in a really engaging, iterative and frankly skillful way.”

Moh Haider – Finance Manager, The IMI

Managed and Evolve

The IMI were very satisfied with the outcome of the project and felt it went beyond their expectations. From a finance perspective the project has enabled the finance team to move on to more interesting, value-added business-centric work. It has delivered efficiencies and value by freeing up time for staff who would previously have been engaged in manual, repetitive processes.

As well as being delivered on time and to budget, the project also delivered the less tangible but equally important benefit of allowing the IMI to pivot away from a conversation about the technology itself, to a conversation on what the IMI wants to achieve as a business with technology. 

By simplifying the technology and situating it as an enabler to internal business operations, the IMI can tighten and evolve its other process, whether those are related to customer and sales reporting or pulling data for marketing purposes.

The broader project and beyond

BCN Group and the IMI continue to work together and are currently looking at ways in which the same data-driven methodology can be used. Work continues, reviewing other key upstream data sources and consolidating these into a central warehouse for subsequent visualisation using Power BI.

This work forms the backbone of the IMI’s ongoing digital transformation journey, and will support the overall strategic aim to incrementally consolidate its data, to create a single source for analytics and data-driven decision making. 

“By consolidating the IMI’s data into a new, central warehouse using the Informatica platform, and then implementing Power BI for visualisation, we have rapidly established a powerful new data platform for the future.”