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An acquisition meant all general and administrative functions had to be transferred

Grass Valley was a broadcast division of Paris-based Technicolor S.A. (formerly Thomson S.A.) before Francisco Partners (a San Francisco-based private equity firm) acquired them. Before the acquisition, Technicolor managed all centralized general and administrative functions for Grass Valley; now, all those functions had to be transferred to San Francisco. While the company was able to license and maintain some systems, Grass Valley needed to build a new financial consolidation system from the ground up. 

Problem

Grass Valley’s Finance Director, responsible for corporate financial consolidation, reporting, and analytics application for the company had to select a new system and manage its implementation. This process had to happen quickly as Grass Valley needed to complete its transition from the previous consolidation system within 12 months. As he considered his options, there were key requirements for success: 

  • Gain insight into local account balances and regional consolidated data. Grass Valley’s current system didn’t provide the flexibility, granularity and consistency he needed, nor did it provide user-friendly features. The Finance Director also sought a better way for consolidating data to help calculate the consistent gross margin for the local and regional accounts.   
  • Decide on support for future projects. Grass Valley hoped its new solution would have a planning and forecasting component.  
  • Build an architecture that matched a new internal organization. Now that Grass Valley was a newly spun-out company, it needed to re-establish its processes and procedures. This new “internal organization” would impact its reporting and consolidation needs during the implementation and would also require greater flexibility and adaptability going forward.  

Solution

Archetype kicked off the implementation with a three-day meeting, which was an organic and collaborative session that married education about the system configuration options with architecting a solution to meet Grass Valley’s specific needs. After reviewing options, Oracle Hyperion was selected with the goal of the project to implement both Hyperion Financial Management (HFM) and Hyperion Financial Data Quality Management (FDM).  

As Grass Valley learned more about its own business needs and the capabilities of HFM and FDM, the scope of the project increased. For example, the team decided to redesign the chart of accounts rather than keep the old version, which FDM allows through data mapping and transformation. This enabled reporting at a more granular level by displaying operating expenses by nature (travel expenses, salary, etc.) and cost center (e.g., manufacturing, marketing, and finance). Grass Valley also wanted gross margin calculations that included a unique combination of certain accounts, product lines and cost centers. Archetype’s knowledge of the system enabled them to easily code the rules file so that Grass Valley could easily make changes such as adding new product lines or cost centers for inclusion in the calculations.  

Result

Archetype’s analysis enabled Grass Valley to create a system that helped their team work self-sufficiently. Archetype built in several user-friendly features, including functional task lists and validation reports to warn if a source file is out of balance and shows total assets, liabilities and equity. The reports also warned of retained earnings in a file that don’t match expected retained earnings in the system. Archetype also reduced the need for IT intervention by creating error messages that included suggested links to additional information for solving issues. 

Archetype helped Grass Valley achieve its goal of moving off the legacy financial consolidation system on time and on budget, resulting in:  

  • A highly successful project and an enjoyable collaboration 
  • An excellent solution design turned around quickly 
  • A strong foundation for implementing in Hyperion Planning in future years  

Grass Valley’s Finance Director said this about his work with Archetype: 

I felt really comfortable with the team after speaking with them. While reviewing other firms that could help with the implementation, it became very clear that Archetype had the specialized knowledge needed to make this project a success. Archetype understood our business situation and coded the solution that perfectly fit our specific needs. Now, we can easily make changes to the metadata without having to touch the code, which makes us more efficient and less dependent on outside resources.