Trust, but verify!

PALFINGER AG charges its IT costs allocated to the respective originator

PALFINGER is a leading manufacturer of innovative lifting solutions that are used on commercial vehicles and in the maritime sector. The company has enjoyed steady growth in the last years; acquisitions, new collaborations and joint ventures have secured its market position. The latest successes have turned PALFINGER into a large global player within a very short time and this has presented new challenges in regard to IT controlling.

PALFINGER’s IT department provides around 30 services for approx. 3,000 employees. The manufacturer of hydraulic lifting and loading equipment strives to break down the costs for IT procurement and IT services in an as transparent manner as possible and allocated to the respective originator for all parties involved. For this reason, PALFINGER utilizes professional IT financial management during the controlling of the IT services.


“We use a software solution that automates all planning, calculation, invoicing and report processes in service controlling”, Alexander Wörndl-Aichriedler explains, who in his function as team leader for Corporate IT Infrastructure & Operations is responsible for the global IT operation and the IT infrastructure at PALFINGER. The IT department has been instructed to allocate 80 percent of the IT costs to the respective originator. Considering the high number of users and services that are to be supported, it would require too much effort to settle the services manually. For this reason, in cooperation with anafee, we have introduced an end-to-end financial management solution for calculation, price formation and settlement.”

Consistent and centralized data
Previously, the IT department planned the IT costs in Excel spreadsheets. When a member of the team then performed changes on these spreadsheets, these were not available centrally. “This had an extremely detrimental effect on the data consistency and data verification”, Wörndl-Aichriedler reports. With anafee, the IT department has been able to collect all data in regard to pricing, calculation and settlement of services in a reproducible manner at a single point. “Now, in the event of changes, these are performed centrally and are applied to all services. Furthermore, in this manner we create transparency for other departments such as controlling and accountancy, as they can see all cost blocks in detail via the web reporting.” The investment in the financial management will quickly pay for itself with the fulfillment of the compliance requirements. Because tax authorities and certified accountants demand accurately maintained financial figures. With the help of the software, PALFINGER can generate the required reports with a simple push of a button.

Transparency creates trust
In many companies, IT is criticized due to the fact that it is a considerable cost block. The days are over in which everything was accepted from IT managers without question. For this reason, before the introduction of the financial management solution, there was also mistrust at PALFINGER in regard to the settlement of IT services. With the new software solution, Wörndl-Aichriedler and his team have achieved much greater acceptance of the internal IT prices. Therefore, for him, the IT service accounting must be both cost and service-oriented and transparent for all parties involved. “Now, in the IT department, we can present and prove with a clear conscience how the prices are determined. Before, our colleagues from the specialist departments often had the impression that the prices for IT services had seemingly been chosen at random”, Wörndl-Aichriedler says with a wink.

Detailed presentation of data
When globally distributed companies decide to introduce a system-supported, internal service accounting, Wörndl-Aichriedler does not only see the challenge in the calculation of the products and services, but also in the detailed presentation of the master and transaction data. “Companies must know exactly where they get their data for the financial management solution in order to be able to allocate the IT costs according to the originator”, the team leader points out cautiously. For example, it must be determined which employee is assigned to which specific cost center and which companies own which cost centers. This applies equally to all data for orders, assignments, overdue notices and payments. “When the master and transaction data is incorrect, then the entire accounting is wrong. And then both the users as well as the internal customers do not trust the system. We have reached this trust, in as far as this can be expressed in percentages, to 90 percent.”

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IT cost control

Only 2 hours of work required
The professionalization of the IT financial management at PALFINGER did not only have the goal of creating cost and performance transparency for the IT services. Likewise, the cost and quality awareness in IT and at the internal customer should be increased and additionally savings potentials should be identified. The effort required for the settlement of the IT services has been reduced dramatically since the introduction of the anafee software. “The monthly expenditure for the invoicing of IT costs now lies at a mere two hours. Without the financial management solution we required one to two man-days every month”, Wörndl-Aichriedler confirms. “This means that we are four to eight times as fast as before.”

Planned integrations
In addition to the IT operation and the infrastructure, Wörndl-Aichriedler is also responsible for the further development of the content of the solution. In the next step, the project calculation and accounting with anafee will be refined. Then the IT department will receive an answer to queries on which expenditures actually flowed into projects, which lead times were estimated beforehand and which deadlines could actually be met. The next project is already ready to go: the connection of the time registration system and the service management solution helpLine to anafee. With helpLine, the workload of the employees and the time required by the employees for IT work is registered in the system. “We want to know exactly what our employees are working on and how much time is expended on support, projects or administrative tasks”, Wörndl-Aichriedler explains. “This is the ideal basis in order to also use the information for the calculation of hourly rates or services.”