The information management division of Absa Bank says it has begun the roll-out of an Oracle balanced scorecard implementation on Oracle’s database platform. The new balanced scorecard structure, says Absa, will give management in Absa’s 42 business units a strategic framework within which to link reporting, analysis and decision-making functions.

The bank says the balanced scorecard roll-out is being managed by its business intelligence centre of excellence within the information management division. "Absa was facing a significant problem in that there was simply too much information for management to absorb, and very often there were various ‘versions of truth’ resulting in different answers to the same question," says Deidre Ackerman, head of the business intelligence unit. "We were receiving more than 300 requests for reports each month, and, after analysing the requests, we concluded that much of that information could be housed in a balanced scorecard."

According to the bank information delivery has taken a high priority within Absa, hence a decision to establish a division dedicated to the enablement of information leverage. According to Cornie Victor, GM with Absa’s information management division, the division was established as a separate business unit from the ICT department to provide, amongst other things, an information delivery infrastructure to Absa management that would be business- rather than technology-oriented.

"Absa established the information management division as a separate entity from our ICT department in response to management’s demand for business intelligence that is up to date and complete. We found that it was important to work closely with users within the organisation to understand their business needs and provide information and intelligence that enables strategy formulation and decision-making, and also assists them to increase profitability, decrease cost and increase productivity."

The balanced scorecard implementation, says Absa, is the largest and one of the more ambitious projects undertaken by the division, and will provide the basis of a standardised performance management system for the entire organisation.

The bank notes that the division is focused on identifying, with users, those metrics needed to measure the company’s performance in terms of sales, customers, financials, processes, people and statutory requirements. "We had to consolidate the amount of information we were producing to a manageable size, in a form that reflected all these aspects of the business," says Ackerman. "37 000km of paper was being used each year to produce these reports, so the saving in paper alone was significant."

"By implementing a balanced scorecard management can see clear trends of performance against objectives, and take corrective action immediately if necessary. This is particularly important if we are going to keep our competitiveness in the market in terms product delivery and innovation," Victor concludes.

ICT World