Aamu Partners rebuilt its Clarity system to support the implementation of their clients’ strategy and fact-based decision-making. The driving force behind the change was a vision going 25 years back in time: the goal has always been to create more time for company management to focus on activities that truly generate value. Now the new Clarity has been launched and tried out with a few Aamu Partners clients. The question is whether we managed to find this valuable extra time. We chatted with CEO Tuomas Paananen about Aamu Partners’ plans for the future and reflected on our shared journey.

Clarity clarifies the daily tasks of company management

Aamu Partners helps the management of small and medium-sized companies make smart and informed decisions that can guide the company towards its goals. One of Aamu Partners’ most vital tools for this is Clarity – a tailored service package for continuous improvement and monitoring of strategy and financial models. Clarity enables company management to make optimal strategic decisions and track the progress with suitable indicators.

Clarity’s roots go back to 25 years ago. The core idea of freeing up management time for value-adding activities has remained practically unchanged. Only the tools for data collection and decision-making have evolved from Excel spreadsheets and Powerpoints to a self-made Clarity system that Sofokus helped rebuild.

Precise view of the changes needed worked as a motivator

If the story of Aamu Partners were a book, Sofokus would hop onboard in the chapter where the company is on the brink of change. The number of clients – and thus also the number of data and its sources – had grown considerably, which tested the capacity of the self-developed technical solutions. Small but annoying bottlenecks constantly distracted day-to-day tasks from data collection to management and analysis. Besides, plans to expand operations from SMEs to larger clients were already under work. Aamu Partners concluded that the technical solutions of the old Clarity system would not meet the needs of their clients, let alone the larger ones in the future. 

Once the need for change had been identified and ideas for supporting the work of the management and the board had been listed, Aamu Partners was facing big decisions. Aamu Partners’ level of digital maturity was already quite high – after all, the company had developed an earlier version of the Clarity system all by itself. However, there was no longer enough technical know-how inside the house to implement the much-needed solution. 

“We grew out of the shell we had managed to create for ourselves. Our goals are so high that it was crucial to build Clarity on a more scalable foundation. This is the spearhead that sets us apart from our competitors, which is why we want to fully invest in this”, Tuomas concludes. 

Quick results with seamless cooperation

Aamu Partners was missing a like-minded partner but found its match in March 2020 among seventeen candidates. The shared view on the features needed for the new system was quickly clarified in discussions with Sofokus, and soon the technical requirements were fine-tuned to meet the internal needs of both Aamu Partners and its clients. Now, after a successful renewal of the system, the feeling of smooth and fun cooperation is mutual.

“I’m very happy that our cooperation has been smooth. Also, you never made us feel dumb for not understanding all the snippets of code all the time”, Tuomas sums up.

We are also very pleased to say that we managed to complete the project under budget. This is a rare treat, especially in demanding development projects.

"I haven't heard of that many projects that cost less money than estimated and yet result in at least 90% of what was supposed to. I think we can be proud of that on both sides"

The new Clarity causes less grey hair

Clarity 2.0 looks pretty much the same on the outside, but a thorough renovation has been made behind the scenes. The pilot version of the system has only been tested by a couple of clients, but the people of Aamu Partners have already noticed that Clarity has greatly facilitated several internal processes. The new system has accelerated many aspects of daily work and brought certainty to financial decision-making. The amount of gray hair has decreased radically, and the learning curve is steep.

The rebuilt Clarity works faster and is easier to use for Aamu Partners’ clients as well. The system has also removed numerous bottlenecks by, for example, making financial data communicate with clients’ systems. The usability of the system still needs some improvement and the rest of the clients’ data must be fitted seamlessly with the data of Aamu Partners. An external financial forecast function was also connected to the system.

The greatest achievement is time

The first client feedback from the new Clarity is promising. The system has created completely new opportunities for Aamu Partners’ clients, such as implementing goals from the management level onwards to business units. In the end, Aamu Partners measures its success with the growth of its clients’ key figures, but already at this stage, we dare to expect visible results on that level as well.

However, the most significant change brought by Clarity is probably the time freed up: when the hours addressed on client projects are not wasted on repairing fragmented files, editing data formats, and jumping from one tool to another, all time can be spent on genuinely beneficial, value-creating work. Thus, the slogan “We create time” that crystallizes Aamu Partners’ mission becomes even more evident.

"Before, a lot of time was spent on activities that don't add any value: copy-pasting, fiddling with Excel formulas, and cleaning up data. Now we can spend the entire client appointment on truly valuable things and discuss how things are going with the client's business without distractions" 

The story of Clarity continues – perhaps in new business fields? 

The new Clarity opens up trails in many directions and can be further developed and refined for new value creation purposes for a long time to come. Now larger clients and potential new client segments can also be taken into account. Investor relations tools in particular will be needed in the future. 

During the project, Aamu Partners also made rather extensive innovations, which could open doors to completely new business areas in the future. Since the new Clarity was built to become a digital heart that truly supports the business of Aamu Partners, the possibilities for shaking up the practices of the entire investment and accounting field are right at hand. Quoting Tuomas: 

“The future is bright, and options are limitless, all we need to do now is make strategic decisions.”