About the Customer
Laura Ashley plc is a British textile design company now controlled by the MUI Group of Malaysia. It was founded by Bernard Ashley, an engineer, and his wife Laura Ashley in 1953 then grew over the next 20 years to become an international retail chain.
Scope and Challenges
It was important to the company to get detailed and up-to-date information on financial performance across all channels so that they can monitor profitability and align strategy to take advantage of emerging opportunities.
The existing financial consolidation platform had been a mainstay of the business for many years, but it ran on a platform that was reaching end-of-life. They knew they would have to update the software to mitigate the risk of running such a business-critical system on an unsupported operating system.
Outcome and Implications
Laura Ashley decided to work with IBM to implement a new financial performance management platform built around IBM Planning Analytics and IBM Cognos Controller. The finance team loads data from spreadsheets into the Planning Analytics database, which automatically feeds it into Cognos Controller to perform the consolidation process, and updates the results in the company’s JD Edwards ERP system.
With the solution in place, Laura Ashley can consolidate financial data from cost centers throughout its business much faster than before. The project went live in 2018.
"IBM Cognos Controller makes life substantially easier for the finance team during the busiest days in our calendar.” - said Darryl Fernandes, Group Finance Manager, Laura Ashley.
“The IBM solution doesn’t just give us the breakdown by legal entities—it also gives us a much more detailed picture of the management structure of the business. That means we can get a real insight into how each of our channels is performing.” - said Sean Anglim, CFO, Laura Ashley.
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