Zayo Group Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: ZAYO) provides mission-critical bandwidth to the world’s most impactful companies, fueling the innovations that are transforming our society. Zayo is a publicly traded company headquartered in Boulder, Colorado, with European headquarters in London. The company provides communications infrastructure services, including fiber and bandwidth connectivity, colocation and cloud infrastructure. Zayo’s primary customer segments include data centers, wireless carriers, national carriers, ISPs, enterprises and government agencies. For more information, visit Zayo.com.
“We like to forecast from a bottoms-up level, and with OneStream we are now able to forecast all of our expenses by vendor, by location, by product group and by currency. We’ve also automated our allocation and intercompany processes, which was a huge win because we were then able to get rid of that large Excel® model. OneStream™ has created a much more efficient process.”
— Kathleen Le, Director of Business Systems, Operations Zayo Group
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Built largely through acquisitions, Zayo Group is a one-stop shop providing communications infrastructure services across North America and Europe. “Zayo Group is an every-changing company,” said Kathleen Le, Director of Business Systems Operations at Zayo Group. “We’ve acquired 45 companies since our inception in 2007, and we really pride ourselves on our ability to integrate quickly, whether that is a new company or new system.”
Zayo was using a fragmented web of seven systems for managing financial processes. This included Prophix for financial consolidation, FloQast for task management, Oracle EBS for accounting, Excel® spreadsheets for forecast models, TEOCO for expense management, Workday for HR, and Salesforce for overall operations. “We had way too many systems, which was causing inefficiency in our reporting. We desperately needed to find a solution that would allow us to combine processes,” said Le.
Zayo had a fluctuating organizational structure that required a scalable CPM solution that could handle constant change. They needed tighter controls around the close process with instant availability of financial data. Having the ability to easily change entity structures and add additional dimensions was a key requirement. “Zayo had one constant goal—to develop more automation so that we can provide financial data more efficiently to external stakeholders,” explained Le. “We wanted to get to a five-day close and improve cash flow processes by getting off our Excel® models. Ultimately, the biggest thing was to automate manual processes so we can spend more time analyzing our data.”
After evaluating several CPM vendors, OneStream™ was the top choice for Zayo because of its modern and unified architecture. Unlike competing products, OneStream could replace Prophix, FloQast and Excel® spreadsheets all within a single platform. Zayo also liked OneStream’s automated data collection through direct connect functionality to Workday, Oracle EBS and Salesforce. OneStream would provide Zayo with a centralized and automated data load process where users can focus on analyzing results—not compiling them.
Zayo had an expedited four-month timeline for the implementation of OneStream for financial consolidation and planning processes. This included having three years of historical data loaded into the platform.
The OneStream setup involved separate cubes for consolidations, forecasts and vendor details, with levels of granularity for planning by financial category. With over 9,500 vendors, it was important to collect vendor detail separately to better analyze expenses. “We have a large dimension for vendors which we did not want to impact the performance of the main planning cube,” said Le. “We created a separate scenario to hold this data, which allows us to do different processes with the integration. We now have a compare to actual scenario.”
According to Le, another key implementation requirement was to have better analysis into the FX impact. Separate structures were setup in OneStream to provide different currencies for each entity for forecast. The local currency is then translated to USD, while another rule in OneStream automatically pulls the total USD amount into the ending balance for ease of reporting.
OneStream has delivered Zayo a single source of reference with multiple viewpoints of the business. Unique scenarios look at actuals at prior year rates, prior month rates, and prior quarter rates to streamline financial consolidation and reporting. Data is directly loaded from their ERP system into OneStream, kicking off an automated data management workflow that will copy the data over to the contact rate scenarios and consolidate them.
OneStream’s Task Manager MarketPlace solution provides Zayo control and transparency into the month-end close process. “For end users, Task Manager provides a lot more information related to each of their tasks. It’s easier to see who it is assigned to, the approver and the history,” said Le. In addition, conditional formatting was configured to alert the users of which accounts require an explanation. And confirmation rules validate that the user entered a comment for each required amount. For Zayo, OneStream has significantly reduced information gathering time and effort.
OneStream has provided a consistent, system-driven approach to forecast related calculations, with override capabilities for fine-tuning submitted amounts. Easy-to-use dashboards guide users through the forecast process. And by leveraging their current cash flow model in combination with the Excel® add-in, Zayo can easily analyze the cash flow for adjustments.
Zayo Group set up workflows that walk users through the required forms to complete their forecast on a quarterly basis, and they are now using a rolling forecast that extends out five quarters. Previously, forecasting was done in Excel® where workbooks were very large, tedious to maintain and prone to errors. OneStream has automated revenue calculations related to churn and pipeline and a direct connect to Salesforce helps them obtain balances and driver information, while automating revenue calculations.
“We like to forecast from a bottoms-up level, and with OneStream, we are now able to forecast all of our expenses by vendor, by location, by product group and by currency,” said Le. “We’ve also automated our allocation and intercompany processes, which was a huge win because we were then able to get rid of that large Excel® model. OneStream has created a much more efficient process.” Zayo is also using People Planning from the OneStream MarketPlace™ to drive personnel expenses. “OneStream automatically pulls employee details out of Workday to drive calculations by country and location,” said Le. “Now it’s a lot easier to forecast our new hires and terminations, and we were even able to allocate employee expenses across regions.”
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