Business Budgeting Q&A: Chris Abbiuso, GDF Suez

GDF Suez Energy North America

Getting your budget managers involved in the sales planning process is always a challenge, particularly when implementing new technology. So what’s the best way to get them involved?

I posed the question to Chris Abbiuso, Project Manager for Process Improvement Implementations at GDF Suez Energy North America, who successfully implemented Adaptive Planning within his organization and got company budget managers to buy in. GDF Suez Energy North America is part of GDF Suez International, the #1 producer of non-nuclear power in the world, with nearly 220,000 employees in nearly 70 countries.  The company reported $125 billion in revenues in 2012, with $9-10 billion of investment per year planned over the next three years.

Here’s what Chris had to say:

Shauna: What was the biggest challenge you faced in getting budget managers on board with

Chris Abbiuso, GDF Suez, Business Budgeting Software, Business Forecasting Software, Q&A

Chris Abbiuso, Project Manager for Process Improvement Implementations, GDF Suez Energy North America

Adaptive Planning?

Chris: Our plant managers were coming from an Excel model that had a separate tab for each account. At the time, International Power was also going through a merger with GDF Suez, so there were a lot of software changes and multiple integrations happening simultaneously. Some of our managers were apprehensive to change another process or add another software.

Shauna: How were you able to overcome this challenge?

Chris: The International Power plant managers were already using Adaptive, so they helped spread the word that AP worked. I told these managers to speak with other plant managers since they speak the same “language.” This was much more effective than having just accountants speak with managers. I also held multiple training sessions during the implementation process to show budget managers what they would need to do.
Then I built sheets they could use and explained how it would help them. Rather than copying and pasting data to send to Corporate, they could go into Adaptive, enter the information, and automatically generate reports and metrics.

I explained that they could update data in out years instead of waiting for Corporate to send new templates. Most importantly, I told them that they were the best people to speak to their forecast. You don’t want the accountants speaking your truth.

Use of Adaptive has spread like wildfire because it’s so easy to use. Most questions are answered using the information within the application. — Chris Abbiuso, Project Manager for Process Improvement Implementations GDF Suez Energy North America.

Shauna: Do you think your end users have successfully adopted Adaptive Planning?

Chris: Use of Adaptive has spread like wildfire because it’s so easy to use. Most questions are answered using the information within the application. We have VPs generating their own reports. We also created report templates for them that mirror exactly what they were used to seeing in Excel. So they have the same reports, but the data can quickly be refreshed. Our goal is for all business units at GDF to run Adaptive.

A Look Ahead: check out Part 2 of Adaptive’s conversation with Chris Abbiuso of GDF Suez, on Thursday, June 27, 2013.

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