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Financial Project & -Portfolio Management for Research & Development

1stQuad has developed a modern, user-friendly solution for budgeting, approval, monitoring, controlling, and evaluation of research and development activities for the global corporation ABB. It replaces a complicated, decentralized Lotus Notes infrastructure, increases efficiency and data quality, and enables individual evaluations with integrated business intelligence, which contribute to timely, well-founded decisions.

ABB Switzerland Ltd

ABB Ltd is a Swedish-Swiss power and automation technology group headquartered in Zurich, which was created in 1988 from the merger of the Swedish ASEA and the Swiss BBC. The group is active worldwide and employs about 147,000 people in 100 countries.


The industrial group ABB invests more than one billion US dollars per year in research and development projects worldwide. The budgeting and approval of such projects, the reporting of expenses and project progress, as well as accrual and deferral and accounting, have traditionally been supported by various, decentrally developed and maintained Lotus Notes databases. Over time, this solution no longer satisfied the requirements, both from the point of view of administrative effort and error-proneness.


ABB commissioned 1stQuad to develop a new, user-friendly solution. The aim of the NORRD (Non-Order Related Research and Development Database) project was to replace the existing databases, simplify processes, improve data quality, and provide up-to-date reporting functions, supported by Business Intelligence.

One of the sticking points was project financing by several internal and external donors, often in different foreign currencies: Previously, such projects had to be maintained in separate databases. An overall view was difficult. Now all projects were to be managed centrally and the financial figures were to be available in any currency. Another requirement was to make the multi-stage approval processes efficient for the user – while always taking into account the complex organizational structure of the global corporation.

On the basis of the FAST framework, 1stQuad was able to quickly provide a solution that impresses with a modern user interface, easy to handle workflows, and smooth integration with other systems. Project managers and controllers keep the overview and can evaluate the information according to various criteria, make well-founded decisions, and react appropriately with the business intelligence functionality that is seamlessly integrated into the office world.

1stQuad is the partner you can only wish for the realization of a project. Thanks to their professionalism, creativity, and high level of expertise, we were able to exceed the set expectations and at the same time deliver on time and within budget.

Elisabeth Egli, Division R&D Controller

ABB Switzerland Ltd

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