Success Story

One reporting system for everyone – implementing a management information system

A company’s management has to make many fast and targeted decisions regarding operational processes based on the appropriate information. The success of these decisions depends greatly on the availability and quality of the underlying data, and this is precisely where management information systems (MIS) come in.
IT&I Magazin Nr. 21 - "Ein Berichtswesen für alle – Einführung eines Management-Informationssystems"

Their purpose is to support the management with strategic and tactical company management through IT-based, on-time provision of relevant, high-quality information. All information regarding value creation at a company is thus collected centrally in the MIS and can be used as a basis to assess the state of the company. This data pool contains the actual KPIs, which provide a realistic picture of the company’s situation, as well as planning data, which is acquired through statistical procedures, for example. Based on this data, KPI cockpits or reports for the various user groups at the company (Executive Board, Purchasing, etc.) can be issued automatically.  

Benefit from MIS  

An automatic reporting system can offer many advantages. Among other things, the company benefits from fast, consistent collection and distribution of knowledge within the company. Employees can conveniently access the data provided centrally without delay, which increases their flexibility when preparing a basis for decision-making. If you take into account the resulting degree of networking across a company’s various sites, the number of interfaces is reduced and processes are significantly accelerated. Provided the system is maintained and enhanced consistently, users can access highly up-to-date information for reporting. The comparatively high costs for an individually designed MIS compared with standard software are offset when we consider that, with an individual solution, the customer is provided with a tool that is tailored precisely to the company’s internal processes.  

Convinced of the added value of an MIS, in autumn 2013, the Nassauische Heimstätte/Wohnstadt group of companies decide to implement a reporting system of this kind based on SAP NetWeaver® Business Warehouse (SAP BW). The customer opted for the latest release of the Business Information Warehouse System from SAP® because SAP® ERP was already in use as a core system. The Frankfurt am Main-based company Nassauische Heimstätte Wohnungs- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH has a history that goes back more than 90 years, during which, among other things, it purchased the state of Hesse’s shares in the Kassel-based Wohnstadt Stadtentwicklungs- und Wohnungsbaugesellschaft Hessen mbH in 2005. Thanks to this 2005 merger, the group of companies is among Germany’s leading housing companies and manages approx. 60,000 rental apartments in 140 cities and municipalities. Nassauische Heimstätte/Wohnstadt employs around 630 people, of whom approximately 260 take care of the housing portfolio in 13 service centres, located in the Frankfurt, Kassel, Offenbach and Wiesbaden regions.  

The way to greater efficiency  

Despite the fact that the corporate structure, extends far beyond the federal state of Hesse, the group of companies did not have a standardised reporting system, which meant that employees had to manage and analyse data maintained manually. The existing figures were scattered across various systems, and the regional managers and service centre managers had to compile them across all the different sites. It was not possible to check the figures in a meaningful way or to relate them to other figures. The company therefore decided to implement the KPIs and reports agreed by the management promptly in the scope of an MIS. The objective was full transparency and control across all areas of the company. The automation of data generation also aims to increase process efficiency while reducing the manual workload.

Informationstechnologie und Immobilien (IT&I) Ausgabe Nr. 37 / Mai 2024

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In 2013, the Nassauische/Heimstätte group of companies awarded the contract for technical implementation of an MIS to PROMOS.REC real estate controlling GmbH. The PROMOS subsidiary was commissioned with designing a data model for the interface to the SAP® ERP system and developed an automated mechanism for generating data from the BW system into specific Excel files. These Excel files were the result of collaboration between the group of companies and an external consultancy company. This service provider was commissioned in advance to analyse the existing volume of data and define a standardised reporting system. This meant that, in agreement with the customer, questions needed to be answered such as which figures needed to be included for specific KPIs and which time frame should be specified, as well as how to define the report recipients and final key performance indicators (KPIs).  

As PROMOS.REC was able to build on the external service provider’s theoretical groundwork, the project concentrated on the technical components: How could the data model be implemented in the BW system and the reports created automatically? The reports are created using SAP® BEx Analyzer, which prepares each analysis in a familiar environment using an add-in in Microsoft Excel. In this way, the data available in data cubes in the BW system is interspersed into the pre-defined Excel spreadsheets based on selection criteria that are specified in advance. These worksheets can be used to store analyses in the company’s own corporate design, link them to one another and make them available to others. An appropriate authorisation concept defines which recipient groups receive specific reports, thus allowing visibility for users to be restricted or expanded on an individual basis. A total of 20 transparent, department-specific monthly reports were designed in the following topic areas:

  • Real estate management
  • Project development
  • Urban development
  • Group management
  • Group services  

To give an example, users of the monthly reports in the area of real estate management can access the data and KPIs from their portfolios on an ad-hoc basis in order to find information about all the properties for rent that are currently vacant and to comment on possible reasons for these vacancies. The comments function in Nassauische Heimstätte/Wohnstadt’s MIS is a central component of the solution. Comments can be assigned to each key performance indicator to provide information for third parties regarding the evaluation of the data in question and thus make the figures easier to understand. For instance, if the contribution margin is particularly low because there were a lot of expenses in the month in question, the employee can add this information to the contribution margin KPI as a comment. As this is not a standard function in the SAP® solution, PROMOS.REC developed a really innovative function together with the customer during this project.

Exemplarischer Monatsbericht aus dem Bereich Immobilienbewirtschaftung
Figure 1: Sample monthly report from the area of real estate management.

Overcoming challenges together  

One challenge when implementing an MIS is mapping the required data quality for the customer. For this verification process, it is important that the right information is used to provide a good overview of the company’s true situation. During this procedure, the project team at Nassauische Heimstätte/Wohnstadt was closely involved. As a first step, the employees entered the data into the current system manually while, at the same time, the MIS generated the data automatically. When comparing the data, it was then possible to see whether the figures met the actual expectations. In this way, it soon became clear which KPIs could not be displayed automatically and which KPIs needed to be eliminated. It was particularly important to the Nassauische Heimstätte/Wohnstadt group of companies that their requirement be taken for expanding their own employees’ expertise throughout the project, allowing them to quickly be able to maintain and continue the MIS independently and to generate appropriate error messages. In PROMOS.REC, the Nassauische Heimstätte/Wohnstadt group of companies found a reliable partner who met the customer’s requirements in full. For example, the relevant employees who would be permanently responsible for the MIS on completion of the project were involved at an early stage. These employees can now create reports and make adjustments in the system independently.  

The right decision  

The project, which was originally started in autumn 2013, was extended to summer 2014 due to the extensive and thorough procedure for ensuring the data quality. After this, all the reports went live and have been in use ever since. The members of the project team at Nassauische Heimstätte/Wohnstadt continued with this internal revision in order to examine the practical benefits of the reporting and individual KPIs in day-to-day use for the company’s management. After all, a successful MIS benefits from standardised and high quality KPIs, as was the case with the system implemented at Nassauische Heimstätte/Wohnstadt. This project illustrates the importance of user expertise for the success of an MIS. The early transfer of knowledge between employees at the Nassauische Heimstätte/Wohnstadt group of companies and PROMOS.REC greatly helped to avoid follow-up costs for the customer. To sum up, we can say that the MIS from PROMOS.REC gave the entire management team a tool that can support almost every business process in the company divisions concerned.


Michael Böhler

Consultant Business Intelligence

PROMOS consult

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