The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) has potentially established a new standard for reporting on financial information within the Canadian federal public service. Participants in the financial/resource management processes were previously limited to using a combination of offline tools and manual processes. Source data for strategic/operational analysis and reporting were contained in multiple systems, and end users were prevented from engaging consistently in “value-added” activities such as data analysis and interpretation. Starting in 2018, the agency’s comptroller embarked on the transformational “One Finance” initiative, with the stated goal of creating a new standard for financial reporting. The reporting and analytics group’s contribution to this initiative was to implement the SAP Business Warehouse (BW) database to the system landscape. SAP BW, chosen for its ability to aggregate data from multiple source (input) systems, has provided a foundation for users to leverage the powerful reporting applications contained in SAP BusinessObjects suite. These reporting applications, operating on SAP BW’s common data repository, now offer users unparalleled insight into how the agency’s financial resources are utilized in service to its mandate. The implementation of consistent reporting across the agency has set the stage for considerable future growth, including a transition to SAP Analytics Cloud and the introduction of predictive analytics.
Key session takeaways:
- It is possible, even feasible, to implement a common financial reporting platform across an entire government department/agency within a relatively short period of time.
- Developing a single, common data repository to aggregate source system data is the first and most important step—this is demonstrated by the outsized returns associated with the CBSA’s investment of time and resources in the foundational SAP BW architecture.
- Establishing proper governance structures that clearly define each stakeholder’s roles and responsibilities (including leveraging project management best practices to subsequently manage those stakeholders) will in turn create a sustainable foundation for this transformation.