Experian plc is a leading global information services company, providing data and analytical tools to clients in more than 80 countries. The company helps businesses manage credit risk, prevent fraud, target marketing offers, and automate decision-making. Experian also helps individuals to check their credit reports and credit scores and protect against identity theft. The company maintains its corporate headquarters in Dublin, Ireland, with operational headquarters in Nottingham, United Kingdom; Costa Mesa, Calif; and São Paulo, Brazil.
Experian maintains four diverse businesses—credit, decision analytics, marketing, and Experian interactive—and over the last five to six years, the company has made approximately 200 acquisitions, driving huge growth and complexity throughout the enterprise. Experian faced a global challenge, as each region and individual business unit ran its own, disperse, financial management and reporting systems, making it very difficult, if not impossible, to gather a timely, global view of financial data. Due to the volume of disparate systems—including Oracle Financial Analytics, OutlookSoft (SAP), Cognos, Prophix, and a myriad of Microsoft Access databases and Excel spreadsheets—the company was also experiencing data quality issues.
Experian knew it wanted to replace its multiple systems with one, global, enterprisewide tool. It turned to Oracle, deploying a full suite of Oracle Hyperion enterprise performance management (EPM) applications—including Oracle Hyperion Data Relationship Management, Oracle Hyperion Financial Data Quality Management, Oracle Hyperion Financial Management, Oracle Hyperion Planning, and Oracle Essbase—to address these challenges. At the same time, the company upgraded to Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12 to take advantage of new application functionality and streamline integration with the Oracle Hyperion EPM suite.
Experian used Oracle Data Integrator to integrate Oracle E-Business Suite with the Oracle Hyperion system. On the first five workdays of the month, the system loads data from Oracle E-Business Suite into the EPM suite every two hours. For the remainder of the month, there is a daily system update.
“Previously, it could take hours or days to gather our financial data across regions and business units and push it through our myriad reporting tools—and even then, there was no guarantee that the information was accurate or timely. The standardized processes enabled by the Oracle Hyperion solution, as well as the continuous refreshes, help us on a day-to-day basis and also greatly help streamline our month-end and year-end financial close processes,” said Kulbir Sandhu, senior director, global reporting systems, Experian plc.
Experian can also pull financial source data from acquired companies that have not yet been integrated into the Oracle E-Business Suite instance by loading the data directly into Oracle Hyperion Financial Data Quality Management—providing the company with a full enterprise view without losing precious time.
“We have 800 users across the Oracle Hyperion applications. The system gives our financial management teams a truly global view of data. They can log in, pull profit and loss and growth reports, and track performance in Asia Pacific and in North America and have confidence that they are using standardized data to make decisions,” Sandhu said. “The platform also gives us a great platform for the future. For example, we’re looking at deploying additional sales reporting capabilities in the EPM system.”
The system also provides Experian with the flexibility to load all data in local currency, automatically completing conversions and budget rates and thus providing a robust set of reports in constant currencies. The ability to aggregate large volumes of data in Oracle Essbase puts information at the finance teams’ fingertips very quickly.
“With Oracle Hyperion, we spend less time building reports and more time on actual analysis. Our various business units within our regions can support their sales and marketing organizations and provide them with the analyses they need to help drive and grow their business,” Sandhu said.
Prior to the Oracle Hyperion implementation, if the company wanted to conduct a global aggregation of its financial performance data, it would need to wait for each region to upload numbers and then reconcile those numbers to their source systems.
“It could take more than a day before we could even access that data,” Sandhu said. “Now, with our continuous refreshes between Oracle E-Business Suite and Hyperion, we can run the end-to-end process in 90 minutes or less.”
Experian has also accelerated its year-end financial close process from seven or eight days to just three.
Another key benefit from the implementation is improved flexibility in human resource management. Previously, with a number of reporting systems in place worldwide, it was difficult to move employees from one region or business unit to another without requiring extensive training on systems.
Now, with one standard global system, Experian has greater flexibility to offer employees new opportunities without needing to invest as much in training.
In addition, with Oracle Hyperion Smart View for Office, users have the freedom to view, import, manipulate, distribute, and share EPM data in familiar tools, like Microsoft Excel, Word, and PowerPoint.
“Oracle Hyperion Smart View also enables our users to be more self-sufficient. Once they go through training, they can easily interrogate and report on data without IT assistance,” Sandhu said.
Of course, change does not always come easy. Sandhu noted: “With our implementation, we had a lot of changes at once—consolidating three Oracle E-Business Suite instances into one, putting in a brand new chart of accounts, and replacing all our local reporting systems with the integrated Oracle Hyperion suite. Initially, it was a challenge. But, with a little time and training, we have reached a point where our employees see this as a tool that they cannot possibly do without. The Oracle Hyperion solution is critical to our success, and our users like the ad hoc capabilities of Smart View to slice and dice data the way they want.”
With its comprehensive implementation, Experian knew that the integrated applications in the Oracle Hyperion suite could address multiple requirements, from data validation across multiple source systems, to financial consolidation and reporting, to budgeting and forecasting.
With Oracle Hyperion Data Relationship Management, Experian can more easily maintain its downstream systems. Without this tool, if Experian needed to make any changes to metadata or add new values, it would need to go into each Oracle Hyperion application and repeat the process. Now, the company can make any necessary changes in Oracle Hyperion Data Relationship Management, and the tool pushes the changes down into all Hyperion applications.
Experian also uses Oracle Hyperion Data Relationship Management to support alternate hierarchies to provide different views of the business for sales reporting, profitability analysis, and strategic client reporting—without having to recreate common dimensions each time—saving a significant amount of time.
“Oracle Hyperion Data Relationship Management allows our lines of business to analyze and report from their points of view, but still gives us the confidence that all our critical applications will tie together, from the top down. We have true consistency,” Sandhu said.
In addition, by replacing multiple reporting systems worldwide with one global tool, Experian has reduced its total cost of ownership. The company previously had various teams across regions that maintained the local applications. With one global system, Experian was able to consolidate and establish one team to maintain applications and data, worldwide.
“We especially see this benefit with upgrades. Previously, we would have had to upgrade our myriad systems—it was not feasible or cost-effective, so it was difficult to stay up to date. With Oracle Hyperion, we can do a one-time upgrade, and everyone immediately benefits,” Sandhu noted.
“We chose the Oracle Hyperion suite due to the vendor’s reputation as a global leader for reporting and consolidations,” said Kulbir Sandhu, senior director, global reporting systems, Experian. “When Oracle acquired Hyperion, we saw the benefit in staying with one strategic vendor for our financial and reporting systems, due to easier integration between ERP and reporting.”
Implementation Process – In 2009, Experian decided to bring its three instances of Oracle E-Business Suite onto a single instance to implement one, global chart of accounts, while upgrading to Release 12. At the same time, the company chose to deploy the reporting tools—the Oracle Hyperion applications and Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition—to support its ERP system.
Experian worked with Oracle Platinum Partner Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) on the Oracle E-Business Suite implementation and with Oracle partner Hackett Technology Solutions on the EPM (Oracle Hyperion) deployment. The company went live on all systems in January 2010.
Experian has a long-standing relationship with TCS, which has maintained and supported the company’s systems for a number of years. TCS provided the technical resources for the Oracle E-Business Suite implementation, completing the technical build and configurations, creating the test scripts, and making sure the integrations between the applications worked appropriately.
On the EPM side, Hackett Technology Solutions provided technical and functional support, helping Experian develop its business processes and understand how the Oracle Hyperion tools could support the business. Hackett also completed the technical implementation and built the integration to the Oracle E-Business Suite environment.