During Part 1 of our conversation, Chris Abbiuso explained how he overcame challenges and was able to get plant managers to buy-in to a new budget forecasting software at GDF Suez Energy North America. 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.
During Part 2 of our conversation, Chris explained the planning and reporting efficiency improvements made as a result of using Adaptive.
Shauna: How has more participation in the planning process helped your company?
Chris: Before the merger with GDF Suez, International Power had a 9-day close. With Adaptive, we reduced it to 7 days. Before Adaptive, we wasted time sending Excel files back and forth. With Adaptive, everyone is working at the same time and we don’t have to create budget templates every year. After International Power merged with GDF Suez, there was a big time savings around accessing data. Different Corporate groups, outside of Generation, at GDF can now self-serve and view data in the system. They spend less time answering questions from other groups because they just give those groups access to Adaptive so they can look for themselves.
Shauna: What are some tips you would give to others in Finance who want to get their budget managers more involved in the planning process?
• Get input and buyoff from others.
• Communicate what you’re doing and why.
• Show them the value-added.
• Emphasize that they will control their own budgets.
• Create a user manual and offer training sessions to help your budget managers know how to use the application.
• Remember that Finance isn’t an expert on site operations and the site managers aren’t finance experts. Use Adaptive to bridge the gap and bring the two together.
• Be there after the go live date. Don’t assume that people “get it” just because one month is done. Follow up reviews after go live can close gaps of understanding quickly.