The HALO Trust has implemented Adaptive Insights to transform the efficiency of its business planning process. The HALO Trust is a not-for-profit organisation that works to help some of the most vulnerable people living in countries ravaged by war. It assists them through clearing landmines, managing the removal and safe destruction of weapons and explosives, educating people how to stay safe and helping families rebuild lives.
The organisation employs 8,700 people across 25 countries. Enterprise Times asked Mick Darby, finance director at The HALO Trust some questions about the Adaptive Insights Business Planning Cloud project.
In the last three years The HALO Trust has doubled in size. That growth has brought challenges and the decision was made to move to a cloud based solution that would enable access from any location.
Darby explained how life before Adaptive Insights looked like. He said: “Prior to adopting Adaptive Insights, The HALO Trust’s business planning process produced hundreds of spreadsheets per year. And since we’re spread across 25 countries with multiple currencies and local managers, you can imagine the challenge that presented in getting a clear understanding of our budgets and forecasts.
“These spreadsheets were built by different people in different countries and contained complicated macros and links. It made the review process complex and also once someone left the program, it was difficult for someone else to pick that up. That’s why putting it into a centralised system was so important for HALO.”
The replacement was not quick. Enterprise Times asked Darby how long the implementation took. Darby replied: “We went into this without adding any project resources so it has taken longer than we’d hoped. For complete implementation, it took two years and was a complex process as the infrastructure had to be set up for project management where projects span multiple time periods. We now have 75 users and we’re definitely seeing the return on our investment.”
How is HALO using Adaptive insights? Darby said: “HALO uses Adaptive Insights to support the project management process, from budgeting to financial reporting. Utilising Adaptive has created efficiencies, particularly when staff move between HALO’s international programmes, when remote support is providing during the budgeting and reporting process and when financial assumptions change and need to be reflected across a portfolio of projects.”
The decision to implement software oneself is rarely optimal. It makes sense to take professional services from the vendor or a partner that has delivered similar solutions. Darby regrets the decision not to use professional services. When asked whether he would do anything differently he confirmed: “With hindsight, it would have benefitted HALO to have had a better understanding of what the software can and cannot do, and have a very clear model documented pre-build. Hving dedicated project resources would definitely have helped.”
The knowledge can sometimes be transferred during pre-implementation training. It is something that businesses can achieve by building better relationships with reference customers. Spending time with them to understand their challenges and the wider benefits that they have realised is useful. It is also a reason to attend vendor conferences in order to network and talking to other users there to find out how they implemented the solution and what other benefits they have derived.
Once moved to the cloud, the planning process has become scalable to meet any further growth that HALO has. The global distributed team are able to access Adaptive Insights and use a standardised approach to planning. Adaptive Insights is localised, supports multiple currencies and rolls up the data for a consolidated view.
While Darby was unable to quantify the savings that the new solution has made it is substantial. On the subject of benefits he commented: “The benefits HALO has observed from using Adaptive Insights have not necessarily been related to time saved, but rather increased efficiency, accuracy, and smoother workflows.
“Being able to holistically manage real-time changes is critical to our success. With a single, powerful system in the cloud, we’ve eliminated the headache of working with siloed spreadsheets and have significantly reduced the time taken to produce high-quality financial models.”
What next for HALO?
When Enterprise Times asked Darby what is next? He responded : “The next step in The HALO Trust’s process to improve the financial planning and analysis process will be to look into upgrading the already existing accounting package to meet our evolving needs as a high-growth organisation.
“We also recognise that with all of our data in Adaptive, the possibilities for reporting are endless. So we’re excited to think outside the box and do some really interesting things.”
Enterprise Times: What does this mean
Adaptive Insights already has more than 750 non-profit organisations running its software. After Workday acquired Adaptive Insights in 2018, there were clear synergies between the two companies. As it has proven at HALO, Adaptive Planning can integrate with many other ERP solutions. Having done so it also helps to build the relationship for a wider Workday solution.
Workday will almost certainly hope to replace the Sage 200 software that is currently in place at HALO. Several non-profit organisations already use Workday solutions. These include The British Heart Foundation, the Salesforce Foundation and the Wounded Warrior Project.
The HALO project shows how a cloud based planning system can make a significant difference to a multinational organisation. The important lesson is that investment in software needs an investment in professional services to maximise ROI. Importantly, Adaptive Insights has made a difference at HALO. The time it has freed up at HALO should also make a positive difference in achieving its humanitarian goals.
Robert Douglas, planning director for Northern Europe at Adaptive Insights commented: “We’re proud to provide organisations like HALO with more time to focus on the important humanitarian work they do by simplifying and modernising their business planning process. By streamlining budgeting and forecasting, we’re helping to make every pound and every volunteer hour count, which in turn helps HALO maximise the impact on its mission to save and protect lives.”