Bank Audi Sal

SAP BPC Implementation by Opal Wave Banishes Growing Pains

Bank audi logo

Executive overview

Company: Bank Audi SAL
Industry: Financial Services
Products and Services: Various
Partner: Opal Wave Solutions Ltd


SAP Business Planning and Consolidation application, version for the Microsoft platform. Bank Audi SAL, a Lebanon-based financial services firm operating mainly in the Middle East, Europe and North Africa, wanted to improve and standardise its enterprise reporting. It therefore turned to Opal Wave, a leading UK-based enterprise performance management and business intelligence software specialist.

Opal Wave’s experts recommended the SAP Business Planning and Consolidation application, which provides powerful, integrated functionality across the group’s extensive multi-national network. This delivers benefits including enhancing the speed, efficiency, relevance, consistency and accuracy of reporting.


A regional leader in financial services and products

Based in Beirut, Bank Audi SAL offers a full range of products and services, covering commercial, corporate, retail, individual and private banking, plus ancillary services, such as investment banking and online brokerage.

At the end of March 2016, the group operated in Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Sudan, Turkey, Monaco, Switzerland, France and Abu Dhabi (through a representative office).

Bank Audi SAL had over 80 branches in Lebanon, and 135 elsewhere in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey. These included 13 in Jordan, 40 in Egypt and 55 in Turkey.

The bank’s subsidiaries included two in Lebanon, six others in the Middle-East and North Africa, one in Turkey, two in Europe and an asset management company in Monaco.

Bank Audi SAL had the fourth largest coverage in the Middle-East and North Africa among the top 15 Arab banking institutions.

The organisation was Lebanon’s largest bank, in terms of total assets, shareholders’ equity, customers’ deposits, loans and advances, plus net profits. The institution and its subsidiaries had almost 7,000 employees, including over 3,000 in Lebanon, 1,500 in Turkey and 1,300 in Egypt.


Standard and integrated functionality providing range of benefits needed

When it called in Opal Wave for it’s SAP BPC Implementation, Bank Audi SAL had grown and enhanced its profitability, largely through acquisitions, to the point where the group contained over 50 companies. This expansion had brought it valuable assets and a diverse range of skills and expertise.

The acquisitions and mergers had also, however, created organisational complexity. New group companies brought unfamiliar software systems and data sources, producing an increasingly disparate and disconnected IT landscape, plus numerous non-standard business processes.

To compound matters, the extensive use of spreadsheets meant reporting was slow, error-prone and unreliable.

Marc Fahl, head of group financial monitoring and consolidation, says: “With each new acquisition, we added another banking and reporting system. We needed a solution that would provide standard, integrated functionality to the whole organisation.”

To address these challenges and facilitate continued growth, Bank Audi SAL wanted an integrated enterprise application that met its current and future reporting needs, flexible enough to provide common banking and reporting functionality and processes across its highly diverse operations.

The solution would also need to empower business units, divisions and subsidiaries, through sophisticated reporting and consolidation functionality, and improve decision making, efficiency, and profitability.

Why Opal Wave?

The recommendation follows in-depth discussions and expert analysis of exact needs

Opal Wave is the leading UK-based enterprise performance management and business intelligence software expert specialising in SAP BPC implementation and supporting technologies. Many Opal Wave people worked in major performance management software companies earlier in their careers and, after dozens of projects over many years, the organisation has a detailed understanding of what works and what does not.

The company works with clients to deliver tailored solutions meeting their unique needs. Its experts analyse the key factors of alignment, response and change, and implement a disciplined and proven project methodology, beginning with analysis and ending with reviewing the solution in use. Opal Wave has enabled dozens of clients, across numerous industries, in many countries, achieve exactly the results they desired, in vital areas such as planning, budgeting, reporting and analysis. In many cases, Opal Wave has continued to support them throughout their solution’s life cycle, as their requirements change.

After in-depth discussions with Bank Audi SAL and analysis of its needs, Opal Wave recommended the SAP Business Planning and Consolidation (SAP BPC) application version for the Microsoft platform. With its native Microsoft Office interface, the application provides the functionality and flexibility essential for a modern finance function.

Before it decided to accept Opal Wave’s recommendation, Bank Audi SAL verified it by evaluating other solutions and finding serious flaws in them. Some required changes in core banking processes that it was unwilling to make, while others demanded excessive implementation periods.


Completion takes place on time, within budget and avoids disruption

Bank Audi SAL and Opal Wave completed the SAP BPC implementation’s first phase, involving 40 users in 13 countries, on time and within budget in just five months. This included testing and training, and was achieved without disrupting daily, business-critical activities.

The project benefited from the support of people throughout the organisation, from operations staff to executives, which eased user adoption and knowledge transfer. This enthusiasm helped to ensure that employees were ready to use the application after only a day-and-a-half’s training.

Toufic Moukarzel, senior officer in the bank’s financial monitoring and consolidation group, who closely followed the implementation, says: “Our people are familiar and comfortable with SAP software. The application and interface are very intuitive, so we can train people quickly. Plus, we know we can deploy the application fast to additional business users in the future.”

Bank Audi SAP BPC Implementation Benefits

Consolidation, Regulatory Reporting and Budgeting

5 days per month faster closing

Budget cycle reduced to weeks from months

Reduced risk and improved performance:

  • Eliminated spreadsheet errors
  • Eliminated manual data collection
  • Eliminated manual aggregations
  • Gave users intuitive application and interface


Speed and reliability gains among a range of key benefits

The application Opal Wave built has greatly enhanced the speed, efficiency, relevance, consistency and accuracy of Bank Audi SAL’s monthly and annual enterprise reporting.

Its operational benefits have included automating financial calculations and helping to ensure budget deadlines are met.

Companies and divisions across the organisation now produce reliable, detailed annual breakdowns of major financial components in their home country’s currency and language, for example. They can also convert the amounts in their reports to Lebanese pounds instantly.

The application is powerful and scalable enough to handle high demand, as each entity in Bank Audi SAL produces 40 to 50 reports a month, including on asset quality, risk and equity. Predefined templates speed reporting and consolidation.

The solution has significantly improved and automated data checking, collection and control, eliminating manual input and reducing errors and redundancy.

Marc Fahl says: “Opal Wave’s recommendation has really helped us improve our reporting. We have better, more available data and faster, more reliable reports.”


Better decision making and easier compliance follow Opal Wave recommendation

The new solution supports sound operational and strategic decision-making, thanks partly to a centralised database unifying disparate data silos and helping to ensure a single version of the truth across the organisation.

Bank Audi SAL can now adjust plans and forecasts easily and has reduced budget cycles from months to weeks, plus monthly financial close processes by up to five days, since the application’s adoption, for example.

Through its ability to produce dual account charts, the solution also enables the bank to generate assorted reports in different formats. That allows it to comply with the disparate data reporting requirements of central banks, standard-setting bodies and regulatory organisations. These include the Lebanese Central Bank, International Accounting Standards Board and local regulators.

The application’s flexibility also means it can be extended easily to new divisions and companies as the bank’s growth continues.

Marc Fahl says: “With the application, auditing is easier, closing is faster and a majority of the data for our annual reporting can now be collected and consolidated automatically. We’re able to produce accurate reports that instil confidence and support better, faster decision making throughout the business.”

AboutOpal Wave

Opal Wave was founded in 2008, the brainchild of three SAP BPC enterprise performance management (EPM) software specialists: Ivor Herman, Simon Bell and Ahtishaam Khan. Having worked for over 20 years each within the EPM domain, including with best practice processes, systems and technologies, they wanted to combine their experience and expertise to offer clients a genuinely valuable service that provided real benefit to their businesses. Since then, they have never looked back, with Opal Wave having gone from strength-to-strength, as more and more clients have discovered the benefits of better performance management.