When Jim Islam, Head of Group Finance at Lloyd’s of London joined the Corporation, he inherited a traditional accounting function. He saw an opportunity to modernise and change the perception and role that the finance team played within the wider organisation, putting it at the heart of strategic decision making.
Specifically, he realised that by streamlining and connecting the Corporation’s budgeting and planning processes, he could make the finance function an effective and strategic business partner, whilst also improving and accelerating the organisation’s ability to make better decisions. To do that, he chose to partner with Vuealta to introduce the Anaplan platform; replacing Lloyd’s of London’s numerous, processes and approaches with one consistent plan.
This couldn’t have come at a better time. Lloyd’s is introducing a number of modernisation programmes to enhance efficiency and provide better value for money services. To do that, it needs a clear, accurate and real-time view of financial performance and the ability to forecast for future scenarios.
Jim Islam explains: “We were good at reporting the numbers but not exploring them to provide actionable insights to the business. We needed to put finance at the heart of strategic decision making by introducing a standardised approach. That meant getting rid of the disparate system applications that we were relying on and introducing a consistent global template.”
The change needed to happen quickly. Working with Vuealta, Jim and his team implemented the Anaplan platform across all of their business regions in just four months – endlessly flexible and scalable, it can be used across the business to connect data, processes and people. The platform gives the finance team and others within the business a much bigger picture view of its finances.
Jim continues: “The Anaplan platform provides us with a clear view on targets, data, any changes that have been made and how they’re being managed, which is indispensable for our audit trails and risk monitoring. This is particularly important considering increasing demands on the finance team to be agile and provide insightful information with a single version of the truth for financial data. It has enabled us to focus on developing talent and enhancing management information to drive decision-making.
The shift from processing numbers to spending more time on analysis and value-added work has also made the finance team’s jobs much more interesting and they have become true partners to the business. To support them in this new role, Lloyd’s has spent a lot of time on training and re-designing the team, putting in place a new organisational structure and creating centres of excellence. “
Ian Stone, CEO of Vuealta: “Fast and agile decision making is what sets successful companies apart. By renewing its approach to planning in the finance department, Lloyd’s of London has put itself on the front foot when dealing with changes in the market, whether that’s regulations, market pressures or competition from FinTech. Other parts of the business have been impressed with the benefits of the new planning approach and are also now engaging in further rollouts of the Anaplan platform.”
Karen Clarke, Vice President, Northern Europe at Anaplan: “Collaboration and alignment will be key to companies as they navigate today’s turbulent economic and political landscape. A more connected approach to planning allows information to flow more freely across a business to provide increased agility and better insights. The finance team is a hugely important driver of this change – using data and information to help the business make more informed and quicker decisions. Lloyd’s of London is a fantastic example of how this new approach can have a real difference to the organisation as a whole in just a short space of time.”