Case Study: Financial Exchange Operator’s ERP Selection Process

ERP Selection Process Leads Financial Exchange Operator to Eliminate Disparate System and Align Processes with Oracle NetSuite. 

Executive Summary

A growing financial exchange operator was dealing with siloed processes, multiple disparate systems and manual processes, which prevented the company from achieving the level of reporting they desired and created an inability to implement the expected level of controls. The client realized it was time to develop and align their growth and technology strategies. Withum performed an initial assessment, provided a Summary of Observations and to conclude the Assessment, presented an Options to Consider deliverable detailing multiple solutions to bridge the identified process and technology gaps, including the migration of the business’s financial functions to a modern and robust ERP software.

The client decided to pursue its modernization initiative by implementing Oracle NetSuite. Withum guided the client throughout the NetSuite procurement and implementation processes, ultimately helping the company optimize the chart of accounts, reporting dimensions and providing a framework for the future.

The Client

Headquartered in Princeton, NJ, the client is a parent holding company with deep-rooted experience in developing, operating and trading on exchanges. The company had been steadily growing since trading commenced on its first exchange in 2012.

The Challenge

The client reached a point where existing systems and processes were struggling to meet the needs of its growing business in the face of continued rapid growth through further product development and planned future acquisitions.

Specifically, the company approached Withum due to difficulty consolidating financials, performing reconciliations and closing the books in a timely manner, allocating operating expenses to appropriate accounts and subsidiaries, managing its payables and employee expense processes, and transferring revenue data from their proprietary trading platforms into their accounting system. Furthermore, the client found themselves unable to achieve the level of reporting they desired and unable to implement the expected level of controls. The arduous manual processes collectively resulted in a duplicative effort, unnecessary risk of errors, and an inability to understand the business in real-time.

Acknowledging that its present-day pain points would only be exacerbated as they continued on their current trajectory, the client recognized the need to develop and align their growth and technology strategies.

The Approach And Solution

While the client was aware their existing processes were inefficient and cognizant that their technology was not serving as the enabler it should, they were unsure of the best path forward. To help them articulate and document their struggles, prioritize their most pertinent pain points to remediate, and better understand the possible solutions available to them, the client engaged Withum to perform an Options to Consider Technology Assessment. The approach empowered the client to make an informed decision regarding their planned business system modernization project.

Following a project kickoff intended to engage client stakeholders, encourage buy-in and memorialize the project goals, Withum began with a review of the client’s existing situation. During this time, a review of the client documentation and critical business processes led to a series of interviews and cross-functional workshops with business process owners to understand our client’s current state. Our Summary of Observations work product identified several key themes prevalent throughout the organization that impacts the business’s ability to reduce their heavy reliance on manual processes and improve data visibility. Key themes included insufficient and multiple disparate systems, siloed processes built around inefficient controls to minimize risk.

With a proper understanding of where the business stood at the time, Withum next convened workshops with key stakeholders to align the client’s future state vision and identify gaps where current processes and technology would deter its realization.

To conclude the Assessment, Withum presented an Options to Consider deliverable detailing multiple solutions to bridge the identified process and technology gaps, highlighted by the migration of the business’s financial functions to a modern and robust ERP software. The options included a summary of industry-leading ERP software supported by a pros and cons product comparison tailored to our client’s core business needs. Also, a potential sequence of events for their business system modernization project and high-level pricing estimates provided our client with a full understanding of the opportunities at hand.

The Results, ROI

After reviewing Withum’s Options to Consider deliverable, the client ultimately decided to pursue its modernization initiative and selected Oracle NetSuite as its future state ERP solution. Furthermore, being aware of Withum’s relationship as a NetSuite partner, the significant business modernization experience, deep NetSuite system expertise, the client requested Withum’s support throughout the procurement and implementation processes.

Since then, Withum quickly guided the client through the NetSuite procurement process, navigating the NetSuite product licensing and finalizing a multi-year software contract. Also, Withum harnesses proprietary Withum Implementation Methodology during the multi-phased implementation approach in collaboration with the client to drive change through the organization. Speed and agility for the future were key drivers to the approach, and Phase 1 was intended to optimize the chart of accounts, reporting dimensions and provide a framework for the future. The accelerated Phase 1 Go-Live in NetSuite was achieved, and Phase 2 will see the gradual rollout of additional functionality and advanced NetSuite features or third-party add ons to optimize their investment.

Companies will have their motivations and drivers for their modernization projects, and this client experienced an on-time, on-budget Phase 1 Go-Live that enabled the quick cut over to its future state system. An underlying priority is gaining comfort with the new system and improving processes with quick wins that take advantage of NetSuite’s most intuitive and advantageous features and continue to invest in their system over time to achieve the financial and operational excellence that will help the business further accelerate its tremendous record of success into the future.

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