Thinking Portfolio was a natural choice for us
Before the introduction of the Group Portfolio, the management of the information needed by the City of Lahti’s owner governance was challenging. There was no unified tool for storing and processing information. Because finance, organizational management, and economic planning had their own data collection tools, it was not necessarily known what information was collected by other parties, and the information available was not always up to date. The primary requirement was, therefore, to make Group information readily accessible to all processors in one place, says financial planner Saara Sburatura from the city’s Financial Services and Veli-Pekka Ignatius, head of corporate governance, from the owner governance services.
– We heard from our colleagues from the City of Espoo that they use the Thinking Portfolio’s Group Portfolio. We reviewed the Espoo’s Group Portfolio solution, and it seemed that the concept would be well suited for us as well.
– We also investigated what other solutions exist to help with owner governance, but we could not find other similar ones that would have suited us so well. Also, we had so much positive feedback internally about the performance of the Thinking Portfolio’s project portfolio that the selection was ultimately natural.
Streamlining owner governance with the help of the Group Portfolio
The city has a private bank, which uses the Group Portfolio for its operations, as the portfolio has many key figures and data that is used for financial decision making. There is also data for credit risk assessment.
Owner governance management is also in the portfolio, e.g., assessments of the Board of Directors and the company’s management, data related to risk management and strategy, and other matters defined in the Group Guidelines. It is hoped that the monitoring of the strategy will be more visible in the future. For this purpose, the objectives set for the companies have also been included in the portfolio.
– The portfolio currently includes 2/3 of the city’s owner-controlled companies and communities. We have started with the largest and most significant ones. Some of the companies are really enthusiastic, while others are still having difficulties in getting started, but after the financial statements we are going to increase support to them to get ahead.
The Group Portfolio brings transparency to operations and increases dialogue between operators
Among users, the Thinking Portfolio’s Group Portfolio is perceived as easy to use, and in many situations, there has been considerable benefit from having one information platform. A single system for everyone to use clarifies how they operate. Dialogue and openness have increased, and has contributed to better understanding on both sides. The introduction of the Group Portfolio has shown to the companies the city’s increased interest in them and has been received as a positive message, says Saara Sburatura.
– When the companies themselves supplement their information, the level of data is more up-to-date and accurate, and the fact that the information no longer needs to be requested separately but is filled in by the companies themselves, has streamlined the process. We also export the financial statements to the portfolio after completion, where they can be easily found and utilized by those who need them.
In a smooth project, the City of Lahti’s Group Portfolio information model was refined
The Lahti project team is pleased that the data model, according to the Espoo Group Portfolio, was available in the prototype when the definition phase began. They were able to leverage best practices already tested and still be able to customize functionalities to meet their own needs flexibly. In this way, a data model was parameterized in the prototype portfolio, from which the City of Lahti’s Group Portfolio was refined.
Representatives from various fields and companies were invited to the definition workshops to express their views and requirements on the features of the Group Portfolio. The excellent result was achieved due to the inclusion of perspectives with different expertise from within the Group. The content of Saara Sburatura’s thesis, “Strategic portfolio management in the owner management of the city group,” was also a valuable material for the implementation project. Ignatius and Sburatura also praise the portfolio supplier, Thinking Portfolio.
– The Thinking Portfolio implementation project was flexible and was carried out in an upright manner. When we got on-board, we went all the way to the end and got it up and running as planned. The professionalism of the supplier’s consultant was concrete. He provided ideas to use and took on challenges; after a couple of days, a solution was usually always found, if one was not already in place.