Relayr provides Internet of Things (IoT) solutions for industrial equipment in the automotive manufacturing, food processing and power generation industries.
Relayr, a startup acquired by German reinsurance provider Munich Re in 2018 at a valuation of $300 million, helps customers transform their businesses and revenue models through equipment as a service, using its IoT solutions.
The IoT provider, which has offices in Chicago and Boston as well as Germany, began using Datarails to consolidate data from four different sites, and then started using the financial planning and analysis platform for rolling forecasts and budgeting.
Datarails makes it easier and faster for Relayr to bring together both financial and non-financial information and make the data accessible to stakeholders across the company – making it possible to identify obstacles to growth, and ultimately enabling the business to scale.
The problem: 4 financial systems, 4 countries, 0 consolidation
When Relayr CFO Joel Jeselsohn joined the technology company, it had four different financial systems in four different countries – and a minimal idea of what was going on in each.
“What brought me to Datarails was the fact that when I joined Relayr, the company was present in four different countries, four completely disparate financial solutions, no real consolidation other than manual Excels,” said Jeselsohn. “We didn’t have visibility, we didn’t have good insight into our financials.”
The biggest challenge at that point was consolidating the data from four systems in order to close the month. Using Excel, it was hard to have visibility into the data, and the process was cumbersome and error-prone. Multiple charts of accounts and different currencies made the consolidation even more complex.
Jeselsohn looked for a tool that would be able to consolidate the data as well as provide financial planning and analysis capabilities, including reporting, budgeting and forecasting.
The solution: Solving the pain of consolidation, then moving to financial planning
Relayr started using Datarails to solve its consolidation challenges, because “we really wanted to address the biggest pain that we had,” said Jeselsohn.
The finance team mapped the company’s four financial systems and brought it all together into consolidated financial statements.
“The strength of Datarails is really the ability to be a budgeting and FP&A tool, more than just consolidation.”—Joel Jeselsohn, CFO
“Solving those challenges really helped us in allowing the team to raise their head above water,” he said.
Once the data was in the system, Relayr soon started using Datarails to analyze and compare historical and current financials and to use the platform for rolling forecasts and budgeting.
“The strength of Datarails is really the ability to be a budgeting and FP&A tool, more than just consolidation,” said Jeseslsohn.
“The capability of the rolling forecast is very, very good, because you just roll forward and prepare yourself for the next forecast,” said Relayr accounting manager Alexander Hetland.
Hetland said the ability to use Datarails’ consolidation, automation and FP&A capabilities while continuing to work in Excel has made it an easy tool to adopt. “What I really like with Datarails is that it is pure Excel, so any user feels comfortable working with the tool,” he said. “Everyone is familiar with Excel.”
Relayr also uses Datarails dashboards to identify anomalies, such as an inconsistency with vendor expenses related to the same account. The ERP groups those expenses together, but with Datarails, the company was able to drill down to identify the exact source of the problem.
The impact: Automating time-consuming processes and identifying problems quickly to scale the business
Relayr uses Datarails to automate time-consuming processes as well as easily visualize data – both financial and operational – to help the company identify problems quickly and solve them.
Datarails “shortened the timeframe of the consolidation from probably four days to basically almost an instant” and saved “significant time on the finance side” when it comes to budgeting and understanding the profitability of the company’s customers and product lines.
“Datarails showed me the Promised Land,” said Jeselsohn. “It’s more about the time that it takes today to see the problem versus before.”
“We love the tool. It helps a lot in the day-to-day function of the finance department. It also helps to visualize the information for the other departments, people who don’t necessarily know how to look at financial numbers.”—Joel Jeselsohn, CFO
The finance team used to spend a lot of time building management reports – but with Datarails, reporting has become much more standardized, making it easy to update financials such as budget, actuals and forecasts, as well as provide data-driven analytics.
“Because the data is already live in the system, we get basically a ready-made presentation,” said Jeselsohn. “We don’t need to recreate the wheel on a regular basis in every quarter to do the board meeting. I have the deck ready.”
That improves the finance team’s efficiency and makes it easy for stakeholders outside the finance team to understand the numbers.
“We love the tool. It helps a lot in the day-to-day function of the finance department,” said Jeselsohn. “It also helps to visualize the information for the other departments, people who don’t necessarily know how to look at financial numbers.”
In addition to using Datarails for financials, Relayr also uses the platform to bring together other metrics that are critical for the business, such as the number of devices the technology company onboards, along with payroll and head count information.
“We are mapping different systems that are not necessarily financial numbers,” said Jeselsohn. “And I think that’s probably one of the biggest benefits that Datarails has. It’s not only a tool for finance; it’s a tool for other departments as well.”
This visibility helps the business scale, because it enables the company to identify the obstacles to growth and take action to remove those obstacles.
“Datarails allows us to identify and pinpoint the problems,” said Jeselsohn.
“What I want people to do, really, is look at the data, see the problems, ask the right questions and then address them,” he said. “That’s the only way for a business to scale. And before we had Datarails, we simply didn’t have time to do that, and we didn’t have the tools to do that.”