Carlson Thought Leadership in Finance & Technology

Adaptive Insights Improves Collaboration Between FP&A Team and Key Company Stakeholders

August 20, 2018 / by Lauren Strohmeier

Duck Creek - Blog Image 1Maryanne Petry, Vice President of Finance at Duck Creek Technologies, shares how Adaptive Insights cuts time from days to minutes for budget changes and improves collaboration between the FP&A team and key company stakeholders.

Please provide a description of your organization and mission.

Duck Creek Technologies is a leading provider of P&C insurance software and services, and our mission is to shape the future of insurance by providing connected, smart, and nimble solutions to our clients. The company is privately held, headquartered in Boston, and employs over 1,000 people worldwide.

Please provide a description of your role and responsibilities within your organization.

As Vice President of Finance, I am responsible for providing accurate and timely budgets and forecasts, developing meaningful metrics and analytics, and delivering standard monthly reports to the company’s senior leadership. Our goal is to provide the company’s executive and management teams with the analysis and information needed to make the best financial and strategic decisions for the company.

The Challenge:

Please describe the challenges that your organization faced which led you to seek out a new cloud-based budgeting solution.

Prior to purchasing Adaptive Insights, our entire planning process and monthly reporting were done manually with Excel spreadsheets. We had dozens of Excel spreadsheets that were linked and difficult to share. We noticed that working with big linked Excel sheets creates more possibilities for errors. For example, links and formulas broke, and as a result, the spreadsheets were unable to operate properly.

We were manually planning compensation costs for over 1,000 employees. Since we have headcount in five different countries, all with different assumptions (FX rates, benefits, bonus rates, etc.), and many changes in personnel (such as change of cost center, position, salary, leavers, and new hires), it was quite complex to track everything in detail using Excel.

In addition, we were planning revenue by revenue type and customer, based on existing contracts and new deals. Keeping that forecast up-to-date at this level in Excel was time-consuming and prone to error.

Finally, it was difficult to parse out the planning data to share with business owners. Version control was a continual problem. Our monthly variance analysis review process and management reporting was also very manual and difficult to maintain. 

Therefore, we needed a faster, more automated way to compare our actuals to the budget and forecast.

The Decision:

What factors made you decide that Adaptive Insights was the right solution for your organization? Did you look at other solutions?

We looked at several solutions and chose Adaptive for the following reasons:

  • Adaptive is able to handle the complexities of our business
  • It’s the most user-friendly, and has strong reporting capabilities via OfficeConnect
  • It doesn’t require much maintenance versus other tools that require 0.5 FTE to maintain
  • It’s easy and intuitive to navigate and work in Adaptive
  • The system involves short implementation and training time
  • It’s more affordable than alternative solutions

Implementation Partner:

How did you find Carlson? What factors made you decide that Carlson was the right partner?

The Adaptive Insights sales team recommended that we use Carlson. Throughout the sales process, I had several detailed conversations with Ethan Carlson prior to making a final decision. Ethan introduced us to the Carlson team, and they’ve really helped us throughout implementation and beyond.

The Implementation:

Please describe the key benefits and qualities that Carlson brought to your organization during and after the implementation. How did Carlson help you solve your challenges?

We are very pleased with the way the Carlson team made our Adaptive implementation happen. They are highly organized and kept this engagement on track. Communication between my team and the Carlson team has been great, and it really was a collaborative project. 

One of the key benefits of implementing Adaptive with Carlson was that they taught us how to use the system throughout the process. They always find opportunities to show us how to do things efficiently and provide options for achieving the same desirable outcomes. With a fast implementation turnaround, the experience has been wonderful.

Which systems are you integrating Adaptive Insights with? What are the key benefits?

Currently, we are solely integrating Adaptive Insights with Workday (HR and Finance modules), so we were pleased to hear about Workday’s acquisition of Adaptive. We currently have the following integrations:

  • Import of all G/L actual monthly data, including FX rates
  • Import of ending headcount (FTE details)
  • Import of revenue data by customer for revenue forecasting
  • Import of HR roster details for existing employees to facilitate compensation planning

These integrations provide timely and accurate updates of monthly data. Additionally, they save us time and improve the accuracy of our monthly variance analysis and reporting. They also automate and simplify our planning processes for revenue and compensation costs.

The Results and ROI:

Please describe some of the benefits you experienced after implementing Adaptive Insights. 

The results we have experienced after implementing Adaptive Insights include reduced turnaround time - from days to minutes - when incorporating budget changes. We have also cut time from days to minutes when performing updates to the monthly reporting package. In addition, the time it takes us to conduct variance analysis now only takes us hours, rather than days, to complete.

What are some of the other benefits that you have experienced that may be less quantifiable? 

Some additional benefits we have experienced include greater alignment between the FP&A team and other stakeholders. Specifically, there is improved collaboration and stakeholder involvement throughout the budgeting process. Because of this collaboration, we are able to respond faster to management requests for ad-hoc information and analysis.

We have also experienced significantly more accurate and consistent financial reporting. The improved accuracy of actuals, as well as the ease and speed of monthly variance analysis, has enabled us to provide better feedback to the accounting team for accruals and more.

Adaptive also allows us to make planning assumption changes daily instead of making all the changes during the forecast window. Its robust reporting tool makes it easy to report and track changes between plan versions. The system also contains detailed planning assumptions, which anyone on the planning team can access.

Concluding Thoughts:

Why do you recommend Adaptive Insights?

Adaptive Insights is easy-to-use and maintain, provides flexible solutions for revenue and expense planning, and has a strong, dynamic reporting tool.

Why do you recommend Carlson Management Consulting?

The Carlson Management Consulting team is very professional, responsive, and experienced with Adaptive. They are customer-focused and provide solutions that help us succeed.

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