CoBank provides loans and other financial products to lifeline industries in rural America, such as agribusiness and rural utilities. The bank likes to say it provides financial services to companies that feed the world, power the nation and help rural communities stay connected. CoBank, with $64 billion in assets, is part of the Farm Credit System, with a history dating back to 1916. In addition, CoBank is a cooperative, which means it is owned by its customers. The bank is based in Denver, Colo., and has 11 regional offices are throughout the U.S. and an international representative office in Singapore.
CoBank’s IT Project Managers had been using multiple MS-Excel spreadsheets to manage their budget and track resources. IT Managers found it difficult to update and keep track of data with the spreadsheets, and it was cumbersome to update, extract and share information because there were different versions of data. CoBank needed a solution to streamline and improve the budgeting and resource tracking functions, a robust system with reporting capabilities and up-to-date data. In 2007, the company began searching for a collaborative business software vendor to meet their needs.
Daptiv PPM was ultimately chosen by CoBank. Jennifer Grow, Project Manager, Infrastructure, oversaw the implementation of Daptiv PPM within CoBank. “We first rolled out Daptiv PPM to our IT Project Managers so they could track project budgeting and financials,” Grow says. “We are now starting a second phase with a pilot group of other business units to see how they want to utilize the tool.” CoBank is currently using Daptiv PPM’s Dynamic Applications functionality to track financials and budgeting estimates, as well as linking with actuals maintained in the PeopleSoft ERP system. “We like that we have the ability to customize Daptiv’s Dynamic Applications,” Grow adds. “They work well and are flexible enough that we can build them out to meet our exact needs.”
In addition to Daptiv’s Dynamic Applications, CoBank uses Daptiv Advanced Report Builder to capture large amounts of data by vertical and share it in dashboards. “Daptiv PPM helps us to deliver the latest and the greatest data available,” says Grow.
Grow says that Daptiv Report Builder is an improvement over their previous reporting method. “Daptiv’s reports are more intuitive—you don’t have to be a programmer,” she says. “Everyone uses the tool and updates information on a consistent basis, which gives us more accurate data and drives better integrity.”
While at Daptiv’s user conference, YouCon ’08, CoBank discovered a community of Denver-based businesses that also leverage Daptiv PPM. “We decided to start a user group in the Denver area to continue the sharing of information that spurred from YouCon ’08,” Grow says. “We meet each month in person for about an hour to discuss our different stages in using Daptiv PPM, touching on topics such as which applications people are using and what processes are being used. It’s helped us a lot to learn how other companies are doing things.”
As an extension of the in-person meetings, the local Daptiv PPM user group also created an online user group through Yahoo. “It creates an environment where we can ask questions, upload screen shots of dashboards and reports and build a discussion thread. We find that the Daptiv community is a really positive and helpful resource,” says Grow.
The Denver user group is catching on— other Daptiv customers have expressed interest in joining to learn best-practices first-hand and to get the most out of Daptiv PPM.