Insight ticks all the boxes for Open Book contracts with local authorities

Sun Realm is a leading supplier of heating services in Luton and the surrounding areas and in its’ 45 years of trading, it has built a strong business dealing with private and public sector clients.

In its dealings with local authorities, the company has seen an increasing demand for complete transparency and ‘Open Book’ contracts are now very much the norm.

The incumbent highly complex and manual spreadsheet reporting system was not built to sustainably deliver the processing and flow of data required for these contracts. Huge amounts of time were being burned on manual data entry and endless copying and pasting.

Sun Realm was applying considerable effort to supply the full valuation reports incorporating breakdowns of fixed price installations as well as the quarterly full Open Book reports. The risk of error presented an ongoing challenge and any holes in the monthly reporting would trigger queries that required further investigation.

John Montgomery, Operations Director of Sun Realm looked long and hard for a solution that could help solve the problem as he was spending over 30% of his time copying and pasting between spreadsheets. The system was so complex with multiple checks and deep background knowledge required that he could not outsource any of the operation to his office administration team.

A solution was found following a chance conversation between John and a business acquaintance who introduced Sean Blencowe, CEO of Green Light Change (GLC) to Sun Realm.

GLC was working on the development of an application that solves the endemic problem of spreadsheets faced by so many companies and which is costing businesses thousands of man hours a year.

Working in partnership with and using award winning technology developed by Synapse, a technology company that counts amongst its customers a leading UK high street bank and a well-known Swedish global retailer, Green Light Change has come up with a radically different solution to the spreadsheet problem: Insight PBF (Planning, Budgeting and Forecasting) platform.

Insight natively connects spreadsheets to a powerful, enterprise application so that everyone can still work from within Excel™, but now they are connected. Spreadsheets are preserved and their historic limitations overcome. Real-time integrated views drive strong team cohesion, increase efficiency and build trusted up-to-the minute reports with the level of integrity local authority contracts demand.

Sun Realm implemented Insight in late 2015 and the company has not looked back. John Montgomery says the time savings are enormous. “I have been able to put over a day a week back in my diary. Prior to implementing Insight, I would have to enter and manually collate information from our installation reports and then manually cross check it with our booking and accounting systems. That wasn’t a good use of my time. Now, the process is much cleaner and I’ve saved yet more time by confidently outsourcing work to our office team.”

Up to the minute, trusted information is absolutely critical in dealing with public sector contracts and because the Insight system is very resistant to errors, Sun Realm has complete confidence in the integrity of the data. John estimates that the quality is ’70 per cent’ improved and the number of queries from the Local Authority has decreased sharply as the data provided by Insight is so reliable. John says: “The elimination of ‘copy & paste’ errors has greatly improved the quality and consistency of our reporting, increasing overall confidence in the accuracy and transparency of our Open Book system”.

The next stage, ‘Phase 2’, will see the company explore the use of Smartphones in the field and sophisticated analytics shown on easy to understand dashboards. These will make it easier to pick out trends and provide in-depth cost & revenue analysis.

John concludes by saying: “Insight automates the monthly reporting and has totally changed the way we view ‘Open Book’ contracts. They are no longer onerous as Insight connects the data and provides the holistic view that we were missing. The Insight team are consistently responsive, helping us shape the solution to best meet our needs.”

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