Networked Planning With Powerful Planning Engine, SAP BW and Google Cloud Platform
Munich, September 11, 2023: Swarovski and valantic (www.valantic.com) have implemented an agile financial planning solution including forecasting using artificial intelligence that serves as a future-proof platform for successful, intelligent business decisions. The solution offers many clearly quantifiable benefits, including huge efficiency gains, a sharp drop in manual work, clear timelines, enhanced agility and scalability, and more accurate forecasting. Swarovski operates 2,400 stores in more than 150 countries and is rolling out the solution enterprise-wide, in small, manageable go-live iterations.
The financial planning and forecasting solution was already in the implementation phase when the digitalization, consulting and software house valantic took over the project. Swarovski wanted to improve the solution architecture and the models used. The most daunting challenges included highly complex workflows, very tight deadlines and complex, manual, financial planning processes that had still to be integrated.
“Our goal was to create a driver-based and AI-assisted, predictive planning and forecasting solution for the entire group,” says Michael Nudelmann, Director Controlling and Head of Financial Planning & Analytics at Swarovski, about the project requirements. “valantic’s experts convinced us with their exceptional tool and process expertise and outstanding project management competence. They successfully completed the implementation, handing over to us an agile financial planning solution and a planning process that lets us make better decisions at short notice,” he adds.
Many benefits supported by hard KPIs
The financial planning solution that valantic developed at Swarovski offers many compelling benefits that are supported by hard KPIs. These include huge efficiency gains, lower operating costs, a sharp drop in manual work, significantly lower error rates, as well as automated data integration processes. Overall, transparency and forecasting accuracy have notably improved; and from now on, Swarovski also benefits from high-speed what-if and scenario analyses, a high degree of process integration across operational and financial levels, greater agility for all forecasting and planning processes, and much enhanced scalability.
In a nutshell, the technology consists of three main building blocks: SAP BW serves as the primary data source from which the continuously consolidated data are loaded into the planning application and then saved back after processing. As an intermediate medium, Swarovski uses the Google Cloud Platform with various forecasting components. And Swarovski’s business units use various reporting tools from different vendors, depending on their needs and preferences.
Besides state-of-the-art technology, a high level of technical expertise, professional project management skills and excellent process know-how, a further prerequisite for the project’s success was the smooth and seamless cooperation of the mixed team, comprising six Swarovski and five valantic experts. “Despite the numerous holiday and weekend shifts needed due to the tight schedule, every single member of the Swarovski and valantic teams remained highly motivated throughout,” recalls David Mandl, Principal Consultant and Project Manager at valantic. “Our proven valantic Best Practices, which view projects holistically from a technical, business and professional project management perspective, place great emphasis on close cooperation to guarantee a project’s fast and transparently plannable success,” explains Mandl.
Positive feedback from Swarovski’s key users
The financial planning solution is user-friendly and appreciated very quickly as a powerful tool by its users, according to feedback from Swarovski’s key personnel. Another positive spin-off is that the Swarovski Group has been able to reduce the number of planning tools it uses worldwide. The networked financial planning solution implemented by valantic, supplemented by infrastructure and peripheral systems, is an excellent platform for intelligent and successful business decisions at Swarovski.
Founded 1895 by Daniel Swarovski in Austria, the company has raised the art of cutting and polishing crystals to the highest level of perfection. A combination of passion, innovation and design excellence has earned Swarovski a place as one of the world’s leading brands of jewelry and accessories. To this day, the company remains family-owned and operates over 2,400 stores in more than 150 countries with more than 18,000 employees worldwide.