Ericsson Accelerates Their Business Case Workflow by 80% and Empowers Their Customers with Visyond

  • Industry: Telecom
  • Use Cases: Sales Negotiation, Impact Modeling, Analysis, Presentation

Summary

Challenge

  • Complicated workflow with many stakeholders.
  • Modeler was the main bottleneck.
  • The Excel model had to be encoded into a web-app to help clients test scenarios independently.
  • Analysis setup was manual and time-consuming.
  • It was hard to answer ‘what-if’ questions in real time.
  • Keeping visualizations up-to-date with the spreadsheet was problematic.
  • It was hard to track changes and supporting documentation.
  • Spreadsheet audit and error detection was time-consuming.
Solution

  • Secure and collaborative cloud-based platform for modeling and scenario testing.
  • Structured and controlled information flow using built-in data tracking functionality.
  • Powerful and easy-to-use auditing tools that reduce risk of errors and save time debugging the model.
  • Automated analytics with single-click autoanalysis.
  • Secure interactive web dashboards for self-service scenario testing.
  • Role- and object-based access management to safeguard the model, analyses, and reports.
Results

  • Significant productivity boost.
  • Stakeholders can see and interact only with what they are allowed to, reducing the risk of accidental changes and data leaks.
  • Modeler is no longer a bottleneck since stakeholders can securely self-serve on the model, analyses, and scenarios.
  • The cloud-based platform helped establish a single source of truth and made collaboration much easier, solving the ‘version chaos’.
  • Error and anomaly detection is faster and easier.
  • Analyses can be set up in minutes and are always up-to-date.
  • Stakeholders are empowered to safely test scenarios through spreadsheet-driven interactive dashboards and calculators.

Flexible. Familiar. Scalable.

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Case Study

Every time Ericsson has to prepare a business case to display the value of their solutions or a ROI, typically they use spreadsheets, Business Intelligence tools and PowerPoint presentations.

The business environment of Ericsson requires quick turnaround in model changes and active collaboration with their clients and internal stakeholders.

When account managers are in sales meetings, the modeler is asked to be ready to help in case changes to the model are required.

The stakeholders for this workflow are:

  • Chief Modeler - before Visyond, the Chief Modeler had to maintain many copies of the spreadsheets and presentations.

“I have been doing business impact modeling for many years. Since it is an iterative process, I needed quick turnaround in testing and presenting changes after client interactions.”

  • Account Managers - the Account Managers are responsible for presenting the value of their solutions to their Clients’ clients.
  • Clients - Clients request to test different scenarios and assumptions to better understand the value of a solution.

Workflow Setup

“Visyond has greatly improved my productivity by reducing time spent on spreadsheet analysis, presentations and updates by more than 80%. This allowed me to focus on business impact rather than the intricacies of modeling I had to deal with in Excel.”

Collaboration & Access Management

Without Visyond, Workflow Was Complicated

The typical process with Excel involved multiple versions of the model (for each account manager) that were sent via email or shared drives. Version control was done manually, resulting in a huge waste of time, slow responsiveness to customers and undetected errors.

Workflow Was Complicated

With Visyond, Each Stakeholder Interacts with the Parts of the Project They Are Allowed To

Visyond helped Ericsson to quickly build reliable models, perform analyses on-the-fly, securely share spreadsheets and effectively communicate with the customers in a controlled environment where stakeholders can model and test assumptions seeing and interacting with only what they need/can see while leaving the underlying core logic intact.

Stakeholders interact only with what they are allowed to

Change Management & Version Control

Without Visyond, Modeler Was the Main Bottleneck

After receiving the initial spreadsheet from the Chief Modeler, Ericsson’s account managers would discuss it (in meetings) or send it to clients who would make the changes in their copy, send it back to account managers who could add more changes before sending it back to the Chief Modeler for review.

During pricing discussions with large multi-national mobile telecom operators on multi-million request for proposals (RFPs), approximately 25-30 man days were spent on modeling efforts - mainly due to frequent changes requested by customers.

Identifying the latest ‘approved’ version for each customer was a frustrating and painstalking process. As every ‘Excel guru’, the Chief Modeler often was a bottleneck that resulted in long turnaround time to avoid accidental costly, difficult to detect, mistakes that are typically introduced when multiple people edit a spreadsheet.

Modeler was a bottleneck

With Visyond, Modeler Is No Longer a Bottleneck

Change requests became much easier to manage as manual data consolidation and version comparison were no longer required, which dramatically improved turnaround time and reduced the risk of errors introduced by clients and account managers.

Modeler is no longer a bottleneck

Data Tracking & Consolidation

Without Visyond, Information was Hard to Retrieve

In addition, tracking inputs and their authors was very challenging. This information was not readily available in spreadsheets, was hard to retrieve and was hidden in long email threads between account managers and customers making manual data gathering and consolidation process even more painful.

Visibility was obstructed

With Visyond, a Single Source of Truth Solved the Data Chaos

With Visyond, Ericsson formed a knowledge base that can be accessed anywhere at any time and contains all changes, multiple co-existing scenarios, supporting documentation and conversations. It made tracking inputs and identifying their origins simpler as well as removed the need to manage multiple versions of the same spreadsheet during data gathering and consolidation.

A single source of truth solved the data chaos

Error Detection & Model Audit

Without Visyond, Debugging was Painful

With Excel, the Chief Modeler had to spend a lot of time to ensure that the changes in the continuous back-and-forth communications did not accidentally break the model logic or override key assumptions. Obviously, this process carried a high risk of undetected errors.

Debugging was painful

With Visyond, Dependency Analysis and Error Detection Is Easy

Since the modeler, account managers and customers are no longer bounded by emails and multiple spreadsheet versions, the occurrence of errors was greatly reduced. In addition, Visyond provided powerful debugging and auditing tools to track dependencies and the root cause of errors.

Dependency analysis and error discovery is easier

Automated Data Analysis

Without Visyond, All ‘What-if’ Analysis and Stress-testing was Manual and Time Consuming

Routine analytical tasks, such as sensitivity (what-if) analysis or scenario comparison, were done manually, which shifted the focus away from getting insights from the data to setting up Excel.

Effort setting up analysis

With Visyond, ‘What-if’ Analysis Can Be Set Up in Minutes

Analyses that used to take multiple days to set up and finalize can be now completed with just a few clicks while also making them easy to update if customers request so, providing great flexibility and improving turnaround time.

Analyses can be set up in minutes

Collaborative Self-Service ‘What-If’ Analysis

Without Visyond, It was Impossible to Answer ‘What-if’ Questions On-The-Fly

During meetings with the customers, Account Managers were often asked questions like “can you tell me what happens if we do not get x% but y% improvement thank to your solution?”. Answering meant going back to the model to update and test it, redraw charts and update slides. By the time Ericsson provided answers, the customer had prepared new questions. Back to square one.

Impossible to answer What If

Without Visyond, the Excel model Had to Be Encoded Into a Web App to Help Clients Test Assumptions Independently

Customers often asked to test assumptions by themselves. Real time assumption testing was becoming a priority, especially at trade shows where Ericsson wanted to showcase the value of their solutions and visitors needed a simple way to interact with the model. Obviously, Ericsson could not share the Excel model on the flat screen at their booth because it contained sensitive data, would not look professional, and would be time consuming for customers to understand and edit it.

Therefore, the Chief Modeler had to hire software developers to create a web version of his model, sharing only certain key drivers, output cells and charts. Customers could test their assumptions in a simple and intuitive user interface without risking to break the model logic. However, this introduced various issues:

  • High error probability in encoding an Excel model into a programming language
  • Long delays between changes in model logic or correction of errors or software bugs, and redeployment of the web page
  • Lack of flexibility if the customers or fair-goers wanted to play with assumptions that Ericsson decided not to code in the software

The Excel model had to be encoded into a web app

Without Visyond, Keeping Visualizations in Sync with Models Was Troublesome

The work didn’t end with the preparation of the model. After each iteration, the Chief Modeler had to manually update charts and presentations where they were included, as well as ensure that the data was inline with the source spreadsheet. Given the large volume of models the Chief Modeler is working on, having links between models and visualizations get broken by something as simple as changing the file name was indeed very annoying.

Visualizations in sync with the models

With Visyond, Customers are Empowered to Safely Test Assumptions

‘What-if’ questions can now be answered in real time without having to go back to the spreadsheet. The interactive online slides are an outstanding and elegant way to visualize different scenarios with the customer. Numbers can be tested directly in the presentation that is linked to the model without exposing it or changing its content or structure. Therefore, there is no longer a need to manually maintain separate presentation layers on top of the spreadsheet as Visyond can instantaneously adjust to changes in input, output or layout without requiring any development effort from Ericsson.

Customers are empowered to safely test assumptions

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