Prior to implementing its cash management optimisation project, Brocade faced a number of issues, including manual processes throughout the finance department and having no automatic feed or central storage of bank statements, images or reports. From a systems point of view, there was also a reliance on bank portals and host-to-host connections, as well as duplicate payment systems and processes. Additional challenges included less than optimal bank relationships and account structures; independent working groups with limited touch points and understanding of fellow groups’ roles and a lack of optimisation of existing technology such as Oracle and Orbit TMS.
“Our goal was to implement an efficient, economic and scalable solution utilising the latest treasury technologies available, while minimising bank costs and redundancies,” explains Chris Hanson, Director, Treasury.
To support its overall optimisation goal, Brocade established a benchmarking project to identify best professional practices and organisational standards to maximise value for the company.
To benchmark industry best practice it took the following steps:
It began by asking a broad ‘big picture’ question: how does Brocade use its banks for cash management?
- This was supported by sub-set questions:
- Are cash processes manual or automated?
- Do we have the optimal banking structure in place in order to automate?
- Do we have the most efficient cost structure?
- Do we have the right system and technology in place?
It then conducted an internal process review:
- Brocade conducted numerous meetings on cash management with each process owner from domestic and international GL, AR, AP, payroll and tax. All 28 processes that used banking information were documented using process mapping spreadsheets and flowcharts. It also asked for feedback on what their pain points were when working with banks or bank reports.
Finally it carried out an external process review:
- Brocade held various discussions with banking partners, reference clients, SWIFT clients, TMS vendor clients, and other treasury organisations in its network.
The objectives were to identify the best professional practices and the best organisational standards to maximise value to the company in the most cost-effective manner, while also identifying alternatives and different approaches to help broaden out the company’s professional experience, developing professional networking.
Best practice and innovation
Brocade’s treasury took a leadership role in finding the right solution to its technology challenges by having deep-dive conversations with multiple industrial leaders, system vendors, peer companies, and banking partners. It also spent time with each process owner and completely mapped all cashrelated processes across functions. Only after this exercise did they truly understand everyone’s pain points and issues, and come up with a complete wish list from each function. After thorough research and analysis, it chose the most innovative solution that could bring the most benefits to the organisation.
“What we put together was a holistic solution that incorporates Oracle, Orbit TMS, and Swift connectivity all at the same time,” explains Yun Kong, Manager, FX and Treasury Operations. Benchmarking played a key role in developing this holistic solution.
“Additional highlights include integrating Oracle and Orbit for end-to-end cash processes, adopting ISO XML & SWIFT MT Standards, establishing central bank report storage/being paperless and minimizing bank portal usages. All these were realised within a short timeframe with a moderate investment, resulting in a remarkable ROI payback within a year,” explains Hanson.