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McMillin Bolsters Consolidation and Reporting Processes with OutlookSoft CPM

  Product Review published in DM Review Magazine
February 2006 Issue
  By Mary Donahue
OutlookSoft Corporation
Review of: OutlookSoft Corporate Performance Management from OutlookSoft Corporation

REVIEWER: Mary Donahue, special projects manager for The Corky McMillin Companies.

BACKGROUND: The Corky McMillin Companies (McMillin) are comprised of five core businesses, each with its own specialty, united under the principle of simply providing the friendliest and most satisfying real estate services anywhere. The five companies include home building, land development, commercial development, realty and mortgage services.

PLATFORMS: Microsoft Windows OS and SQL Server 2000 database platform.

PROBLEM SOLVED: McMillin had far exceeded the capacity of its spreadsheet-based management and statutory consolidation and reporting system. The volume of work required to close the books using a manual process (in which data was rekeyed from the general ledger [GL] into spreadsheets before consolidations could be performed) was unacceptable in a company that was growing so rapidly. Because McMillin consists of more than 130 different legal entities, all with different charts of account, standardized reporting was nearly impossible. An enormous amount of effort went into "ticking and tying" data in order to mitigate the low confidence level in the accuracy of reports. With OutlookSoft CPM, reports that used to take a week to create now take hours. The switch from a manual system to a highly automated one has freed up staff time to work on value-added analysis activity. Productivity has increased as managers have been able to be proactive in their decisions rather than reactive.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: McMillin uses OutlookSoft CPM primarily for consolidation and reporting, providing McMillin with the confidence in the integrity, consistency and accuracy of the many reports generated in the solution. The company relies heavily on the solution's ability to handle financial consolidations by leveraging functionality for complex ownership that changes monthly, including allocations and inter-company eliminations. OutlookSoft also provided the ability to automate its manual close processes and have a standard chart of accounts and a standard set of report templates across all of McMillin's diverse holdings. These reports provide much more timely and relevant information for McMillin to use in making business decisions. From an end-user's perspective, McMillin capitalizes on the functionality delivered through the product's Excel user interface.

STRENGTHS: The strengths of OutlookSoft CPM are scalability, the ability to provide standardized reporting across all of our businesses and holdings, the Excel user interface and the ability to see live data in real time.

WEAKNESSES: Weaknesses include difficulty in modifying some report templates in the creation phase and limited journal reporting. These weaknesses have been addressed in the latest product release.

SELECTION CRITERIA: McMillin needed a stable product that was able to grow with the company, easy to implement and not disruptive to current operations. From a functionality perspective, the ability to handle complex consolidations and ownership that changed by period was extremely important. OutlookSoft's unified approach helped McMillin to meet all its CPM needs in a single product.

DELIVERABLES: OutlookSoft CPM provides all of McMillin's financial statements. More than 100 reports are generated from the OutlookSoft solution for management and statutory reporting as well as for analytics. Key reports used to understand and manage McMillin's operations include investment activity, financial, intercompany eliminations, prior-period comparison, actual versus forecast, line of business and market segment reports.

VENDOR SUPPORT: OutlookSoft's product support team is very responsive and is always willing to go the extra mile to make sure issues get resolved. The OutlookSoft implementation team did a good job partnering with McMillin's implementation consultants from TopDown Consulting. One of the best things about working with OutlookSoft is that when we do ask for support, we find the knowledge level in the product support group is high.

DOCUMENTATION: Online documentation is helpful. Because this was such a customized implementation, we relied heavily on one-on-one support directly from OutlookSoft and TopDown Consulting.

OutlookSoft Corporate Performance Management
OutlookSoft Corporation
One Stamford Plaza (11th Floor)
263 Tresser Boulevard
Stamford, CT 06901
(203) 964-3100


For more information on related topics visit the following related portals...
Corporate Performance Management (CPM).

Mary Donahue, special projects manager for The Corky McMillin Companies.

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