Working Links was founded in 2000 and operates in more than 100 locationsacross England, Scotland, Wales, Poland and the Middle East employing more than 1000 people. It is a unique organisation that delivers services to tackle social exclusion and poverty by helping disadvantaged individuals and communities. The organisation's programmes have helped more than 240,000 people get back to work. Working Links helps and supports people who face significant challenges and barriers such as those who have been unemployed for a long time to former offenders, lone parents and older workers. It also works with employers and the prison and probation services to help prisoners in over 55 prisons.
The Finance team had managed the annual budget process for more than six years by relying on a TM1 system. Various parts of the organisation accessed the tool in order to input specific budget data. Unfortunately, as the organisation grew it became more and more difficult for the finance team to manage the system and conduct the type of scenario modeling and forecasting that they wanted to do.
"Facing another budget cycle relying on TM1 meant that we would once again not be able to conduct the type of modeling we wanted to do," said Nigel Richards, Commercial Finance Director, Working Links. "This triggered the budgeting and forecasting project we embarked on."
The finance team researched a number of providers and invited three organisations in for a demonstration. Clear Plan, a leading Adaptive Insights partner was one of the companies who presented to the organisation. After Clear Plan and the other two solution providers presented to the finance team, Adaptive was selected due to its intuitive interface, scenario planning functionality using complex modeling, forecasting capabilities and ability to meet a short implementation time frame.
"We asked all the vendors to do a proof of concept," said Julie Bashford, Financial Planning Analyst, Working Links. "Clear Plan's proof of concept was very much in tune with how we wanted to manage the budgeting and forecasting process. The Adaptive Planning product could do what we wanted it to do and the support services from Clear Plan were exactly what we needed to implement the solution successfully."
The finance team at Working Links worked closely with Clear Plan to implement the solution in less than two months. They rolled Adaptive out to 15 users by conducting training via WebEx.
"Adaptive has enabled us to make the budgeting process much more efficient," said Richards. "From an end user perspective, the solution is a lot more intuitive and users were pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to pick up and use. Now we better understand how changes in our model impact our cash flow position and can be confident in the data. An additional benefit is a reduction in the amount of headcount spent on the budget process. Finally, there is increased transparency in the numbers and we can easily identify the source of the number by drilling into the cell in the model."