About the Customer
Booking.com, part of the Priceline Group, is the planet’s #1 accommodation site. Headquartered on a beautiful canal in Amsterdam, Booking.com has more than 184 offices worldwide. Our humble, talented staff of over 13,000 drives us forward every day. We love traveling, and we work hard to make it easier to book great accommodations in more than 200 destinations.
Scope and Challenges
Booking.com experienced a massive growth in the volume of data generated by various channels. Venkat Iyer who is serving as Director Financial Systems for Booking.com explained that there was a time when they were wondering what would happen if they doubled the number of properties on their website in the next three years and how the finance back-office would cope with this growth. They analyzed that the investment in more hardware alone would not solve the problem.
A comprehensive evaluation made them realize that to support the increasing volume of data, they will require massive scalability, which was not feasible on the existing ERP platform. It became essential for them to invest in a new solution, but that was risky due to the huge volume of unclean, unstructured legacy data that was a pain to deal with during the migration process, and little room for error during migration as it would push back scalability plans by several months.
Booking.com had been previously managing and operating its financial planning and analysis (FP&A) process through a manual, spreadsheet-driven environment. But after its substantial growth began to affect different areas of the business and resulted in exponential growth of available accommodations, sales, headcounts, and data sources—the company found that its forecasting and other FP&A approaches had become overwhelming, inefficient, and unsustainable. For this challenge, they needed another answer besides the ERP solution, so they decided to implement cloud-based Anaplan as their EPM Platform.
Outcome and Implications
Venkat and his team didn’t see S/4HANA as a mere database. Instead, they perceived it as a platform for innovation, an opportunity to change the way the finance teams work at Booking.com. For them, the implementation was not just about driving speed and innovation and improving the analytic skills of the workforce, it was about helping them understand the value of data and turn into a key driver for decision making.
The approaching problem from a positive angle provided the team a new direction. They realized that Booking.com’s limited knowledge was a constraint for the implementation. But they also knew that with SAP’s support and in-depth expertise of the solution, they could resolve the issue and achieve their ultimate objective as they successfully did.Booking.com has always been a data-driven company, but investing in S/4HANA provided the finance functions an opportunity to look at data in a completely different way.
The platform also provided the ability to dynamically analyze and refine financial plans in real time across all business levels to align different functions of the organization. The platform also complimented the company’s open-natured culture, which was a decision criterion that had been top-of-mind throughout the selection process.
In the second half of 2017, Booking.com expanded usage of the Anaplan platform to support its marketing, human resources and remaining finance and budget planning functions. Upon completion of the entire implementation at the end of 2017, the Booking.com team has begun discussions around expansion plans for different use cases within the organization.
Besides all of the solution they implemented in 2017, they also changed their HCM Platform in 2016 and went with the Microsoft HCM solution, LinkedIn Talent Solutions.
“We have an informal, open culture where we put focus on fostering creative work environments. We don’t like constraints if we see a better way to do something, we want to be able to change it. That’s one of the reasons why the flexibility of the Anaplan platform stuck out for us,” Chiara Guglielmetti, Finance Planning & Analysis Manager at Booking.com.
“Now, nearly all of our work is automated, which saves us valuable time and reduces our risks for human mistakes,” Chiara shared. “All of our calculations are completed in the Anaplan platform, and our process is now much more efficient and quicker.”
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