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When most people hear the name “Switzerland", what springs to mind is snow and mountains. A fascinating world full of challenges - as if made for sporting activities. For more than a hundred years, the Swiss-Ski umbrella organization has been promoting and supporting a wide range of snow sport disciplines. Performance is also important in administrative matters: budgeting and monitoring are paramount for the various business fields. An unbeatable trio are fresh off the starting blocks, comprising Abacus, AXview and Jedox.
The "Swiss-Ski" Association, founded in 1904, is the umbrella organisation for Swiss snow sport and combines the disciplines of alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, Nordic combined, ski jumping, biathlon, snowboarding, ski cross, freeskiing, moguls skiing, aerials and Telemark.
Swiss-Ski promotes top sport and is thereby looks to the best nations in the world. A further core task of Swiss-Ski is to promote popular sports. The association is also actively involved in holding international events such as World Cup events, World Championships and Olympic Games in Switzerland.
Industry: Non-profit (Association)
System environment: ABACUS
Implemented technology: AXview, Jedox
Axept Business Software AG is one of the most important Swiss sales partners of ABACUS and offers a comprehensive product and service portfolio throughout the ABACUS environment. In collaboration with Axept, Informatec has developed the BI Individual standard solution iVIEW for ABACUS (or AXview).
While older generations wistfully recall slalom and downhill racing on Saturdays with the famous names of ski racers, young people are no less enthusiastic about disciplines such as snowboarding, freeskiing or ski cross. For young and old alike –the enthusiasm and fun for snow sports is still there. The Swiss umbrella organization Swiss-Ski, with its 12 regional associations, 770 clubs and around 100,000 members, plays a large part in this. In addition to the 300 athletes who are members of a Swiss-Ski team, Swiss-Ski employs around 150 coaches and supervisors in the field of competitive and junior sport. At the business offices in Muri BE, around 50 employees do their utmost to provide the best possible foundations for the figureheads of Swiss snow sports.
This is not an easy task, because coordination between the association’s headquarters, the sectorial associations and the various trainers is extremely challenging. Financial planning is thereby an important issue. From budgeting to ongoing monitoring, expenditure and revenue must be coordinated, consolidated and monitored at all levels. So far, this has been tediously done via Excel tables, which had to be sent back and forth several times via e-mail when making adjustments. Through repeated copying and data pasting, errors crept in. The entire process was sluggish and hindered rapid, transparent assessment of both the overall situation and the individual areas.
"We want to have a central, shared IT system instead of having to fight through a jungle of mails and files." - Daniel Grossniklaus, Director of Finances and Services, Swiss-Ski
Cost centre managers only had the corresponding statements at their disposal, based in each case on the Excel input data and historical data. Hitherto, the complexity of the various tables became increasingly opaque.
With clear performance goals at the start It was clear to Daniel Grossniklaus, Director of Finances and Services at Swiss-Ski, that the situation at that time could not keep pace with the requirements of a modern association. The lack of transparency and flexibility during evaluations, but also incorrect use of current data and the huge coordination effort were contradictory to the sporting ambitions of Swiss-Ski. The declared goal was therefore to simplify the entire process, from budget planning and creation, through monitoring and down to forecasting, in such a way that the Association and the cost centre managers had access at all times to current, historic and also future data. For this, digital tools were to be used, based on the already available Abacus financial software. To provide the correct data in the right places at the right time was the underlying principle of this. Clear data representation was thereby as crucial a criterion as ease of use with the budgeting system.
«With the jointly developed solution, were are going in the right direction in an increasingly digital world.» - Daniel Grossniklaus, Director of Finance and Services, Swiss-Ski
Finding the right partner for sophisticated IT projects is not easy. Trust thereby plays a central role. The discussions with the Abacus partner Axept were thus particularly important for Swiss-Ski. The concerns of the Association were discussed intensively and no questions were left unanswered, according to Daniel Grossniklaus. This resulted in an intensive, constructive collaboration between Axept Business Software AG and Swiss-Ski. This partnership was complemented by the company Informatec. Together, a solution was developed that was tailored to the needs of the Association. Each of the three partners contributed their skills towards this.
With AXview, Axept provided the optimal extension to Abacus' existing financial solution for reporting and KPIs. In combination with the Jedox planning and analysis application provided by Informatec, the entire planning and budgeting process was covered and integrated into AXview. Financial expert Daniel Grossniklaus was not only responsible for overall coordination, but also for know-how transfer: "Combining common process understanding at all levels – technically, professionally and in an industry-specific manner – was highly complex. However, thanks to the immediate coordination of all involved partners, it went really well.” - Daniel Grossniklaus, Director of Finance and Services, Swiss-Ski
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Qlik includes very good data discovery and reporting functions for analysing past data so that companies can understand what happened and why. Jedox seamlessly expands Qlik by adding high-performance planning and predictive analytics, so that you can recognise what will happen so you can manage your company appropriately. Stop making decisions based on your gut feeling, and base them on substantiated forecasts.
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Instead of an obscure Excel construct, an intuitive solution is now available to users. This includes functions such as planning and budgeting, including approval processes, ongoing monitoring, extrapolations, forecasts, individual evaluations and analyses. Cost centre managers can thereby access current year-to-date figures, including accounts payable documents, at all times. The necessary values are provided, so to speak, at the touch of a button. As a result, forecasts and budgets are not only much more accurate, but the overall planning process is also far more efficient. "Thanks to the new system, we can always get an overview of the current state of play at Swiss-Ski – be it during the planning phase or when monitoring the budget. Instead of having to deal with mails, today we can have a central system", explains Daniel Grossniklaus about the design idea. The great thing about it is that the users perceive the new solution as a unified system. AXview was simply supplemented by a further “Planning” area. Here users can evaluate the figures from Abacus, manage their budgets and extrapolations and release them by means of a sophisticated approval process. There are detailed comment functions for each budget step. When someone changes the budget, the responsible persons are automatically informed by e-mail. If the budget is approved, it can be imported directly into Abacus' financial accounting. An essential element is the authorisation and security design. Budget managers only see the data from their own cost centre. Instead of having to inquire at the head office, users can access current and historical data at any time. A look into the future is also possible. So-called "game versions" of the budget and the extrapolations allow the calculation of what-if variants. These can be adapted continuously and then easily transferred to the normal budget process.
Efficient processes and structures are not only of paramount importance to an association, but also reflect its innovative power. Swiss-Ski has bid adieu to the old Excel times when budgeting. Today, around 25 users at Swiss-Ski benefit from a highly useful, comprehensive, modern solution Daniel Grossniklaus’ experience and knowledge about the Association has thereby been incorporated in large measure: «There is increasing acceptance of digitisation among associations. We wanted to proactively use the associated advantages, even though we were taking a certain risk as a pioneer in the process. Thankfully, together with our IT partners Axept and Informatec, we have been able to successfully implement our ideas. I am convinced that the resulting solution would also be of interest for other associations.» - Daniel Grossniklaus, Director of Finance and Services, Swiss-Ski
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«As a sports club, we are used to providing services and turning ourselves out in top form. This also includes the internal processes, especially in the financial sector. Together with Axept Business Software and Informatec, we have developed a unique solution for budgeting, monitoring, medium-term planning and calculation. In this way, we gain in efficiency, speed and accuracy.» - Daniel Grossniklaus, Director of Finance and Services, Swiss-Ski