Corporate Performance Management (CPM) Financial Consolidation OneStream

FibroGen Unifies Financial Processes with OneStream Software

This article was originally published on by Jaclyn Proctor


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Many Finance teams rely on Excel® spreadsheets as a basic solution for budgeting, planning, and forecasting. For smaller, less sophisticated organizations, doing so often seems like a reasonable approach as Excel® is usually available as part of the default company infrastructure. But the truth is, Finance teams quickly get bogged down with managing error-prone, tedious spreadsheets and are hampered by a tool that lacks workflow capabilities and audit trails.

These hidden costs of spreadsheets limit Finance leaders’ ability to focus on their true value in supporting decision-making across the enterprise. Read on to learn how FibroGen migrated from the burden of Excel spreadsheets and a legacy planning system to OneStream’s unified corporate performance management (CPM) software.

Envisioning a Streamlined Solution Beyond Excel and Legacy Planning System

As a maturing organization, FibroGen, a leading science-based biopharmaceutical company, faced similar challenges. FibroGen initiated a massive transformation from being a pharmaceutical development company to a global multi-channel commercial business. In order for the transition to be successful, FibroGen needed a more sophisticated CPM software solution than their Excel®-based planning models and 20-year-old legacy budgeting system.

To address these complex business needs, Alex Lee, Senior Director of Corporate FP&A of FibroGen, envisioned a unified enterprise performance management (EPM) solution for budgeting, planning & forecasting, financial consolidation, reporting, and tax provisioning. To complete the vision, Ms. Lee wanted an intuitive user interface that empowered FibroGen’s scientists and business leaders, in addition to the Finance team, to lead and support enterprise decision-making. Most importantly, FibroGen wanted to implement a solution that could expand their capabilities for commercial revenue planning and to monitor and manage the business now, while laying the digital foundation for future expansion.

After a thorough analysis of the CPM market, Ms. Lee found that OneStream’s unified CPM platform was the only solution that could achieve everything she envisioned. In the words of Ms. Lee, “We wanted to make sure we were able to do the things we needed to do now and get set up for the future.”

Adopting a Modern CPM Platform

FibroGen selected OneStream as the only solution capable of achieving its vision of digital transformation and began the journey – from vision to design to implementation – of adopting a modern CPM platform. FibroGen’s key project goals included:

  • Need for more agile planning and forecasting as business complexity increases to address operating expense planning spanning over 70 users, hundreds of activities within projects and programs, and two unique business units. FibroGen’s China entity operates with a top-down model for these processes, while the US depends on bottoms-up input from business users.
  • Create an intuitive experience for both Finance and non-Finance users that could handle the required complexity while empowering users with an accessible interface. With many of these users being scientists who needed to submit activity-based plans in order to monitor and manage the business, FibroGen wanted to ensure the user experience was as streamlined as possible to optimize the time available for research, analysis, and other value-added activities.
  • Grow beyond a combination of Excel-based planning models and a legacy planning system that required detailed data submissions from users that had to be manually exported and manipulated by the corporate Finance team. This manual, time-consuming process created bottlenecks and increased opportunities for error. FibroGen needed the ability to allocate personnel across projects at the strategic level, while also allocating operating expenses at the activity level.

Benefits Achieved by Replacing Excel® and Legacy Planning System with OneStream

OneStream’s unique Extensible Dimensionality® empowered FibroGen’s Finance team with the planning and forecasting agility needed to align activity-level pharmaceutical development to financial performance and cash requirements, enabling leadership with a unified view of the company on a real-time basis. This functionality was met by implementing a flexible hierarchy and allocations that allowed for operational expense planning at a granular, activity level while also enabling longer-term personnel planning at a more strategic level across aggregated activities. FibroGen can now maintain separate consolidation models – within a single unified platform – for its US and China entities.

FibroGen’s Finance and non-Finance users can now access all budgeting, planning & forecasting, and reporting activities within OneStream’s unified platform, instead of in bulky, disconnected spreadsheets. Now when end users submit their activity-based plans through OneStream, Finance can immediately see and act on the information without having to manually export spreadsheets and align data. OneStream’s dashboards and guided workflows empower both Finance and non-Finance users with an elegant and intuitive interface that guides them through tasks and present accessible reporting.

Realizing the Vision

Immediately after completing the OneStream implementation, FibroGen initiated a bottom-up corporate budget and rigorous review process with its new CEO. With every aspect of the budget being challenged, OneStream’s flexible platform easily handled several budget revisions from the business teams, quickly aggregated changes, and produced critical reports for management during each iteration.

With OneStream, FibroGen has gained agility with faster and more accurate management and financial reporting. Through People Planning from the OneStream MarketPlace™, FibroGen is able to dynamically model and plan each project down to the activity and employee level. The platform’s intuitive interface allows both Finance and non-Finance users to access actuals, budgets, forecasts, and other information for both China and the US.

According to Ms. Lee, OneStream has exceeded all expectations:

“With impending growth and transition, we sought a solution that can support a program-driven planning process and complex calculations and modeling with the ability to expand to include consolidation, reporting, accounting close automation, SEC reporting and tax provisioning. We had a very specific vision in mind. It has been 10 months since go-live, and I’m still profoundly touched by the magic that is OneStream. Everything and anything is possible with OneStream. Dare to dream and be careful what you wish for.”

Learn More

To learn more about FibroGen’s journey to modernize budgeting, planning, and forecasting, watch the replay of its Customer Success Webinar and read more about its OneStream journey in its case study. If your organization is ready for a finance transformation, contact OneStream today