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    #IBM Planning Analytics

    Is it Time to Evaluate Your Budgeting & Planning Software?

    Philip Lafazanov

    September 13, 2022

    Many companies start their journey to implementing budgeting and planning tools from financial models in Excel. However, over time, most companies have yet to be satisfied with the effect of working in Excel. In reality, wasting time on planning and forecasting mechanics by teams of accountants and financial planners may process vast arrays of data but need more mission-critical information. Along with all Excel’s advantages, that approach has many obvious disadvantages, such as:

    1. Difficult to manage business rules 
    2. Lack of control and security
    3. Excel is vulnerable to fraud/corruption
    4. Excel is susceptible to human error
    5. Excel is difficult to troubleshoot or test 
    6. Excel is obstructive to regulatory compliance
    7. Excel is unfit for agile business practices 
    8. Excel is not designed for collaborative work 
    9. Excel is hard to consolidate
    10. Excel is incapable of supporting quick decision-making 
    11. Excel is unsuitable for business continuity

    With that article, we will give you hints on choosing a financial management software and service provider wisely. Some are also integrated within the Excel experience, so you can get the traditional interface you know and love but with the benefit of advanced tools.

    1. Requirements Definitions

    Before looking for the right financial management software, you need to define the requirements and business needs. An effective financial plan software is based on the desired results. First, you need to establish the company’s strategic goals and methods for achieving them; revise all report types and develop a plan for how it should work in the future; define data sources, forecasting frequency and business prospects for the next 3 years, and so on.

    Excellent financial management equals excellent business management, so the ongoing alignment of strategic and operating plans is vital.

    Strategic and operational plans should be aligned, and individual programs between functional areas should also be coordinated.  It is essential to consider the requirements not only of the financial team but also of other departments of the company, such as marketing, sales, personnel management, R&D, and so on. To better determine the requirements for the system, you can involve Digicode experts. With more than 10 years of experience implementing financial plan software in various industries, we know exactly what to focus on and how to discover requirements properly.

    2. Software Evaluation

    Optimizing the planning process demands technological budgeting tools that support a faster, more flexible and more adaptive approach to planning.

    It’s wise to start by evaluating your current software. You last updated the financial management software a long time ago, which may be the key to solving your problem. But if it’s not, you need to find a more tailored solution. Contact the financial plan software provider and learn about all available innovations.

    The evaluation of a vendor’s planning software features is a complex task. The key is not just evaluating product functionality, its value to the planning process, and its ability to support planning best practices, but intangibles like vendor support, user community, and commitment to customer success once the sale is complete.

    You will need a feature backlog to find the right planning software. Providers can get acquainted with it and choose the right solution to meet your business needs. It is essential to trust the specialists and not try to control them, but focus on the result.

    For practical budgeting software evaluation, you can hire Digicode.  We offer IBM Planning Analytics to solve customer problems because it has proven to be highly flexible and reliable. Our certified experts are adept at leveraging new IBM features to meet the most demanding customer requirements. We can provide  a demo presentation and explain how to use IBM Planning Analytics exactly in your case.

    About IBM Analytics

    IBM Analytics planning tool delivers data-driven insights that help organizations work smarter and outperform their peers. This comprehensive portfolio includes solutions for business intelligence, predictive analytics, decision management, performance management, and risk management.

    IBM Analytics solutions enable companies to identify and visualize trends and patterns in areas, such as customer analytics, that can profoundly affect business performance.They can compare scenarios, anticipate potential threats and opportunities, better plan, budget, and forecast resources, balance risks against expected returns, and work to meet regulatory requirements. By making analytics widely available, organizations can align tactical and strategic decision-making to achieve business goals.

    IBM Planning Analytics with Watson has two user interfaces:

    • Planning Analytics Workspace. This intuitive web-based tool allows users to enter data and consume information presented graphically or numerically. It is effortless, and users will quickly learn to build their reports, input forms and dashboards.
    • For spreadsheet fans, there is Planning Analytics for Excel. A familiar and user-friendly interface, combined with the benefits of advanced tools such as multi-dimensional analysis and drill-down, will take your planning and budgeting operations to the next level, satisfying the interests of both employees and business.

    3. Negotiation

    Once you have decided on the requirement and a suitable planning tool, consider selecting the right technology vendor. Request commercial offers from companies to evaluate the terms and costs of the contract. It would be best if you spent enough time discussing possible options of budgeting software and tariffs to correctly form a budget for the years ahead.

    Digicode experts can help you negotiate the best price and purchase terms if you choose IBM Planning Analytics.

    Here are a few things to think about when you make a final decision:

    • Does each provider’s annual subscription plan include the same number of users and features?
    • How long are they ready to provide a discount if they offer some value?
    • Does the budgeting tools provider have a clear annual price increase policy?
    • Are the implementation estimates from each provider for the same job?

    It is good practice to ask each provider for the total subscription cost for the next 5 years. Make sure this includes any potential price increases.

    4. Implementation

    This is the most exciting and essential stage. We recommend using an agile approach and breaking the process into small sprints.

    If you want a properly developed implementation process, it is necessary to have a rollout plan without adding unnecessary steps that could delay your timeline. A well-organized planning tool implementation process will bring in more revenue in less time and improve the efficiency of planning processes.

    As one of IBM’s award-winning partners, Digicode knows precisely how to develop a detailed strategy to ensure that the financial plan software implementation process runs smoothly and provides you with product and staff training.

    Forget spreadsheets, complex on-premise systems, and heavy duty software. In real-time, IBM Planning Analytics streamlines and integrates financial and operational plans and forecasts for FP&A, sales, supply chain, and beyond. If you want to find out more about or have a Free Demo of IBM Planning Analytics, then fill out the form.

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