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Cote Brasserie moves from 'herculean planning' to monthly budgeting cycle with adoption of Anaplan

Scott Carey | Nov. 15, 2016
UK restaurant chain Cote Brasserie has adopted Anaplan's cloud-based financial planning software in a bid to modernise the firm's budget and reporting processes.

When he arrived at Cote, Wilson said the organisation was languishing on the bottom layer "with absolutely no business partner piece".

For example, finance can now aid marketing and procurement when it comes to pricing decisions in near to real time. This is especially important in the current world where foreign exchange rates are so volatile.

He explained: "Being a French brand, all of our wine is sourced from France. Even if the underlying commodity price is the same, sterling has dropped 15 percent, so wine has gone up. So we need to know that from a pricing and sales perspective."

Wilson said that "before Anaplan we wouldn't have even bothered" trying to react to foreign exchange rates. "We would have asked the procurement team, they would say ask the supplier and we have no way of validating the number we get from them. You are just guessing in the dark."

IT department

Wilson doesn't plan to stop with Anaplan, as he wants to bring in a central data warehouse with Microsoft's Azure cloud and layer Power BI reporting capabilities on top.

Cote's existing Sage 200 ERP system is currently "just about good enough" according to Wilson, but he would like to improve that area also. It won't be Anaplan however, with Wilson saying he would rather "let Anaplan concentrate on what they do best, which is flexible analysis, planning and business insight. It could do the BI side but on the ERP side I'm not sure I would go with Anaplan".

Wilson laid out his role over the coming years: "I was brought in to professionalise the organisation. There was a recognition from the shareholders and CEO that we have probably grown too quickly and haven't looked at our back-end processes with enough focus and therefore what we need to do is step into the twenty first century to do that," he said.

Wilson is doing all of this without an IT team at present, and he doesn't see the need for more than maybe one IT person. "The challenge for me is to see if the cloud is sufficiently mature today to allow me to run an IT department without having one," the CFO said.

Wilson sees IT traditionally serving three functions: hardware support, help desk and development functions. "I think hardware we will get ourselves to a point where we don't have any at all. IT help desk is already outsourced.

"So the one question I have is if we would benefit from having IT development in-house. So as you start integrating these systems, someone who understands it and could evolve it over time [..] seems to me to be a worthwhile investment."


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