With 45 data centers in 13 European cities, Interxion needs a reliable and flexible consolidation process. Oracle Financial Management Enterprise Edition (FDMEE) ensures seamless integration of the general ledger with the consolidation. This not only saves time, but also creates a clear audit trail.
To make the consolidation process go as smoothly as possible, Interxion uses a powerful form of data integration with the help of Oracle FDMEE. “We now have a direct link between the general ledger and the consolidation solution,” says Interxion’s Niels Jansen. “That saves us a considerable amount of time in the month-end work.”
Direct integration from the general ledger
This choice makes Interxion one of the forerunners. “Direct integration with the general ledger has become possible because of data integration solutions such as FDMEE,” says Victor Brandsema from Finext. Victor is closely involved with the implementation of FDMEE and Oracle Hyperion Financial Management (HFM) at Interxion.
“More and more organizations are considering whether they want a direct link or a file-based integration,” Victor continues. “Maintaining control is sometimes the argument for choosing a file-based integration. However, direct integration offers at least the same level of reliability as manual control, and sometimes even more.”
Ten thousand entries automated
Direct integration simplifies the consolidation process. “The operating companies provide 99% of our data. Balance amounts come straight from the general ledger into HFM, the consolidation and reporting solution,” says Sander Rijs from Interxion. The Group Reporting Team then merely allocates various costs. “The reporting team makes about ten journal entries per quarter, while we get tens of thousands of balances from the general ledger through FDMEE.”
“It means we can be certain that the figures are correct.”
In addition to saving time, this method of data integration also provides flexibility and ease of use for the countries. Niels: “The countries upload their figures from the general ledger. Later changes from the countries can easily be incorporated into the consolidated figures. Updating the reports is then just a matter of pressing a button.” It helps that a single chart of accounts is used throughout the organization; changes to the chart of accounts, the cost center structure and the mapping are implemented by the head office for all countries in one go.
As it is quoted on the stock exchange in the US, Interxion has to be SOx compliant and must therefore meet the high demands set for internal control. The direct link between the general ledger and the consolidation process helps. “This integration ensures that entries that were not made by the local finance teams are automatically put in a review and approval process. It makes it impossible to manipulate the process,” says Charlotte Saes of Finext. “It also helps us provide our auditor with reliable documentation,” adds Niels. “We have a good audit trail for all the changes we make in the metadata and the rules. All the changes we make follow our change management process.”
“We record much more in the new system. The source of all reports is the same, both in the countries and at group level.”
Traceability was one of the reasons why the organization chose the direct integration. “We want a reliable way of getting the data in HFM,” says Niels. “We can now be confident that nobody can access the figures. This helps us achieve SOx compliance, but we would have made the same choice without the SOx obligation. It means we can be certain that the figures are correct.”
Stability and certainty
After the implementation by Finext, Interxion is outsourcing the functional and technical support of HFM and FDMEE to Swap Support, a sister organization of Finext that specializes in hosting and support. “We want to guarantee good technical support,” says Niels. “The system is very stable, we rarely have issues. Interxion opts for external support by Swap Support because it provides certainty. We want to avoid getting behind on our reporting processes due to technical issues.”
Some of the functional tasks are done by the administrators in the financial team. Sander says, “We do three fourths ourselves, and we call Swap Support for patch updates and technical issues.”
The installation of the Oracle solution was also done by Swap Support. Niels says, “It makes sense to have the installation and systems support done by Swap Support. They’re linked to Finext, so they already know the tool, or that knowledge can be obtained quickly.”
Finext and Swap Support often co-act on Performance Management solutions. “They work together closely, you can barely see the difference between Swap Support and Finext,” laughs Sander. “It doesn’t matter who you call, we make sure the right person does the job,” Victor agrees.
Niels and Sander appreciate the cooperation with Finext and Swap Support. “The knowledge of finance, IT, and our organization is all in one team,” says Niels. “Together they can see what the changes in the metadata or in the application mean in terms of the impact on our financial reporting. Our experience is that they are good at thinking things through with us, and at suggesting solutions whenever needed. Together we can work things out.”
More transparent figures
The new solution makes the consolidation process run a lot more smoothly. “Traceability is better and the speed of reporting has increased,” says Sander. “Previously we did the consolidation process in Excel; it was mainly adding up, and we handled the intercompany eliminations and equity pickup manually. We record much more in the new system. The source of all reports is the same, both in the countries and at group level.”