Executives in Hong Kong, mainland China, Taiwan and Singapore were all using different brands of accounting software, all outdated. Financial data also was being entered manually in Excel format, with inaccurate information delaying key decisions.
This status quo was no longer working for Bossini, a leading Hong Kong-based apparel retailer, brand owner and franchiser, and so the firm embarked on an ambitious enterprise-wide plan to fix it.
Bossini launched its first retail store in 1987, and during the past 20 years, has grown from a local retailer into a major player in apparel retail, with more than 1,000 outlets in about 20 countries.
The firm's, premiere brand is its "bossini" label of casual wear, known for its colorful mix-and-match styles for men, women and children. In the coming year, Bossini plans to embark on a brand-building program with revamped logos, and to open 100 retail outlets, most in mainland China.
Prior to its systems investment, the firm's capital budgeting and allocation, asset management, financial forecasting, budgeting and investment assessments were all handled separately by its operations in each country where it did business.
Bossini was in dire need of an integrated solution to bring financial transparency to its entire enterprise, says Andrew Ling, the retailer's director of information technology.
"Manual data feed and consolidation requires tremendous labor," says Ling. "The lack of financial transparency encumbered sound and quick management decision-making processes."
Aside from its four core base markets in Asia, Bossini also has extensive international distribution networks in the Middle East and Latin America. Given plans for rapid expansion into international markets, the company wanted to consolidate its financial systems and processes onto a single, consistent platform.
After a year of evaluating several different systems, Bossini's management team chose Oracle's e-Business financial suite (EBS) to manage its financial supply chain in its five regional centers, located in Hong Kong, mainland China, Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia.
"The recent market consolidation among first-tier vendors limited our choices," says Ling. "Besides, our corporate IT standard prefers Oracle DBMS as the database engine."
Better data = quicker decisions
The Oracle implementation, which will support about 100 users, will provide a single, accurate view of all of Bossini's financial information for better visibility into the company's operations, the company reports.
The first phase of the implementation began this March, and the target date for completion of the 49-week rollout is February 2007. "We have gone through the stages of analysis and design, and system integration testing," says Ling. "We are now at the stage of user-acceptance testing and data conversion."
If the user-acceptance test results are good, Bossini will roll out the solution to its Hong Kong regional center this month, with other countries to follow during the next three months.
Better data will allow Bossini to address regional statutory requirements, corporate governance and internal audit control needs, and ensure accurate reporting of financials, says Ling. The system also is expected to help the firm make more timely decisions in response to changing market demands and in turn enable it to compete more profitably in the global market, the company notes.
In this way, the benefits of the system will be reflected at the store level -- a key priority for Bossini. For instance, a manager in Taiwan will be able to see financial data at an aggregate level at any time. With the old systems, users had to painstakingly pull up information by each individual location and often found flawed data.
With data by location or region available much...