Serviced apartment provider, Quest Serviced Apartments, has begun streamlining its operational forecasting, budgeting, reporting and planning for the 113 properties it operates around Australia, NZ and Fiji.
Quest's fully-serviced apartments are aimed primarily at long-stay corporate travellers.
It's new solution will be based around the IBM Cognos 8 Business Intelligence, Cognos 8 Planning and Cognos 8 Controller as its performance management platform.
Under the deal Cognos will install separate reporting systems with an integrated performance management dashboard for budgeting, tax, management and statutory consolidated reporting.
Quest said the Cognos software will provide an overall view of the business in order to meet management reporting requirements across its four business units - franchise management, new franchise establishment, property development and property investment.
Quest CFO Doug Hutchinson said that Quest's current business systems were disparate and that the company was seeking to bring together systems used in franchises and the corporate office.
"We're not really in that sense replacing existing systems, we're introducing a new system - something that we haven't had before. We're replacing our internal planning processes, which are largely manual and Excel-based solutions, with a much more robust method for business planning," he said.
Hutchinson said Quest looked at solutions from all the major vendors as well as some of the smaller players, and contemplated stand-alone solutions for planning, consolidation and other BI applications.
"But from our point of view we saw a real benefit in a single service provider. Ultimately the Cognos solution was the best fit for our needs."
The performance management dashboard will unify Quest's financial reporting and provide a basis for continued performance management and franchise expansion both locally and abroad.
"We're looking at substantial improvements in data quality, the speed at which we manage our business, and substantial reduction in timeframes for planning processes. It will also assist from a management point of view - shifting the role of planning away from the finance domain into the respective business units and departments," Hutchinson said.
The new software will be progressively implemented over the next eighteen months with Cognos Planning due to go live in November, Cognos Controller in December, and Cognos BI for management dashboards and Balanced Scorecard reporting during 2009.
"We've already in the last week begun work on the project so there will be progressive deliverables over the next 18 months. Our first priority is our planning system - we'll be building components of the data warehouse and progressively bringing on other business systems, reservation systems and so on into that environment to aid the transparency capabilities of analyzing our business performance," Hutchinson said.