Concentric Solutions

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Concentric Solutions's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Concentric Solutions is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

Connected business analytics –
the route to better decisions
Executive Director David
Watson, centre, is part of a
management team that has
a collective 70 years of CPM
Founded in 2005, Concentric is a business consulting and
technology firm based in London. It serves a range of clients,
from small and medium-sized multinationals to established
FTSE 100 companies, helping those across industry sectors
address their financial and operational planning, forecasting and
business reporting needs. Executive Director David Watson tells
The Parliamentary Review
how it helps customers drive better
business decisions through well-directed analytics.
Concentric began as an outsourced service supplier to Oracle Hyperion, a corporate
performance management software vendor, and over the past 14 years has evolved
into a multi-vendor solutions provider with an international base of customers. I
joined in 2007 from Hyperion, bringing with me talent from my own team. We
have 25 staff operating from London and Munich. Our focus is UK and mainland
Europe, though we also serve clients further afield.
Our approach
As software consultants, accountants and former financial controllers, the founders
of Concentric understood how dependent on spreadsheets and disconnected
technologies organisations had become. Recognising the need for better corporate
reporting, our team provides CPM strategy and advisory expertise, helping
customers define reporting requirements, select modern technologies and deliver
reporting solutions that transform data into useful management insight.
The culture of our firm centres on people: our customers and our staff. We
recognise that most clients are not looking for hero consultants that champion
»Executive Director:
»Founded in 2005
»Based in central London
»Services: Corporate
performance management
solutions, strategy and
advisory services and end-to-
end project delivery
»No. of employees: 25
Concentric Solutions
Highlighting best practice
a specific vendor offering, but
rather they want to be guided
by a trusted adviser who offers a
choice of practical solutions to key
Simplifying complexity
Size of organisation is no longer a
driver of complexity; some quite small
multinational firms face the same
operating challenges as their larger
counterparts. Firms that operate on a
global stage are exposed to shifting
market and economic conditions,
and at the same time they are
facing regulatory, compliance and
transparency pressures. Traditional
accounting concepts may not have
significantly changed, though the
overhead on internal finance teams
continues to grow. Examples of this
are solutions we have implemented
to help companies address recent
issues such as country-by-country
tax reporting and IFRS 16 lease
accounting, automating preparation
of necessary reports. However, such
external reporting needs to compete
with the requirement for timely
operational analytics. Without this,
organisations can’t hope to adapt to
change or remain competitive. This
need has resulted in a proliferation
of disconnected systems across many
organisations. It is this landscape of
disconnected reporting that makes
business users slaves to legacy
technology and processes.
The management cycle and
CPM software presents such an
opportunity for change in many
companies. These solutions sit on top
of disparate source systems, enabling
the business users to prepare, control
and report on that data. Our value-
add lies in helping to bring together
people, the process and the right
software into a more seamless and
efficient reporting platform.
We have particular expertise in helping
organisations that are going through
major mergers and acquisitions.
Implementation of new CPM-based
group reporting solutions enables
organisations to provide timely
internal and external reporting to
stakeholders post-merger without the
need for widespread re-engineering
of existing solutions. In the past 18
months we have helped a European
steel manufacturing group, a large
Anglo-US software firm, a European
waste-management group and an
international IT services group prepare
for post-merger reporting within each
of their organisations.
CPM solutions enable management
to develop strategic plans, build
operational plans and group financial
budgets (prepare for the future),
track and forecast against those plans
(monitor the present), and report on
results (record the past). This traditional
management cycle has often depended
on separate technologies. We help
our customers join those cycles
together through integration with
source systems, workflow automation,
and self-service reporting using a
choice of cloud and on-premise CPM
Driven by our clients’
business needs and
committed to a shared
vision for project success
The culture of
our firm
centres on
people: our
customers and
our staff
Making sense of the data
Multinational companies tend to run
several enterprise resource planning
systems and data warehousing
solutions aimed at capturing
transaction-level information. Such
systems typically have thousands, if
not millions, of records, fed by data
from across functions that are crucial
to the running of their operations.
As data volumes explode, the cost of
administering data is also growing.
Consequently, companies have invested
in business intelligence solutions that
enable presentation of analytics on ad
hoc reports and executive dashboards.
For point-solution requirements, this
is often an easy and cost-effective
approach. However, it still does not
resolve the proliferation of different
solutions serving the full management
cycle. Modern CPM solutions bring
those requirements together, with
application-based functionality for
complex accounting requirements
and reporting capabilities that provide
operational relevance to different
functions or business units across the
The step change in more recent
CPM solutions is the single-platform
approach that enables use of the same
data for multiple purposes, thereby
ensuring “one version of the truth”.
Efficiencies gained from streamlining
workflow processes through better
integration can be huge.
As an example, one of our larger
customers runs an international chain
of entertainments attractions. What
started out as a financial reporting
solution has grown into a platform
comprising much broader business
analytics. Venue sales flow through
to internal and external reports,
supplemented by footfall analytics
that helps drive forecast revenues by
attraction, and influences the timing
and allocation of marketing spend to
encourage better business performance.
Adapting to change
Regulation and legislation are often
significant drivers for change. The
challenge for many companies is how to
address such change without bolting on
even more disconnected technologies.
This challenge presents us with new
business opportunities. Our focus has
traditionally been within the finance
domain but with clients needing more
detailed analytics in reaction to their
business environment, there is scope
for us to expand the reach of our work.
We see a trend towards pre-built data
models for domain-specific requirements,
for example, IFRS 15 revenue accounting
or IFRS 16 lease accounting regulations,
serviced from a common platform.
Similarly, the trend towards narrative
reporting requires tools that can deal
with contextual information in order
that our customers can report on
the non-financial value-drivers (for
example, intangible assets such as
goodwill and intellectual property)
that internal and external stakeholders
expect to see on published reports.
We are driven to make a difference
through our software solutions and
are investing in applications that bring
together data from both finance and
operations that reduce the cost of
reporting. Our attempt to bridge the
historical divide between business
intelligence and CPM is therefore part
of a process of pooling our expertise
and insights to allow clients to adapt
more quickly to change.
We have
expertise in
that are going
through major
mergers and
Members of our expert
team in London

This article was sponsored by Concentric Solutions. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Michael Gove.

Rt Hon Michael Gove's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Michael Gove

This year's Parliamentary Review comes at a momentous time for parliament, as we collectively determine the destiny of the United Kingdom. 

On October 31, the UK will leave the European Union. The successful implementation of this process is this government's number-one priority.

Three years after a historic referendum vote, we will deliver on the decisive mandate from the British people. Trust in our democracy depends on it. Until that final hour, we will work determinedly and diligently to negotiate a deal, one that abolishes the backstop and upholds the warm and close relationship we share with our friends, allies and neighbours in the EU. But in the event that the EU refuses to meet us at the table, we must be prepared to leave without a deal.

As the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, it is my job to lead on this government's approach, should that scenario happen. Preparing for Brexit is my department's driving mission. But while I am leading this turbocharged effort, the whole of government is committed to this endeavour.

Ministers across Whitehall are working together to ensure that every possibility is considered, every plan is scrutinised and every provision is made. A daily drumbeat of meetings means that we are holding departments accountable, so that preparations are completed on time.

The chancellor has confirmed that all necessary funding will be made available. And we have mobilised thecivil service, assigning 15,000 of our most talented civil servants to manage our exit from the EU.

We will make sure that on November 1, there is as little disruption to national life as possible. Our trade relationships will continue to thrive, thanks to agreements with countries around the world worth £70 billion. Our country will remain secure, thanks to nearly 1,000 new officers posted at our borders. And the 3.2 million EU nationals now living and working among us can remain confident, with absolute certainty, of their right to remain in the UK.

Above all, our goal is to be transparent. Soon, we will launch a public information campaign so that citizens, communities and businesses are ready and reassured about what will happen in the event of “no deal”.

In my first few weeks in this role, I have travelled to ports and tarmacs, borders and bridges, all across the UK –from the seaside of Dover to the rolling green hills of County Armagh. I have heard from business owners and border officials, farmers and hauliers. They are ready to put an end to uncertainty. And they are ready to embrace the opportunities ahead.

Our departure from the EU will be a once in a lifetime chance to chart a new course for the United Kingdom. Preparing for that new course will be a herculean effort. But this country has made astounding efforts before. We can do it again.
Rt Hon Michael Gove
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster