It's that time of the year known in finance circles as budgeting season. Unfortunately, for many finance teams still using spreadsheets, it can be a time of dread, stress and frayed nerves. Dwight D. Eisenhower famously said "Plans are nothing: planning is everything". That is certainly the case with spreadsheet-based planning as, according to research on the subject, 60% of budgets are already obsolete by the time they are completed. We can chalk that up to the ever-changing nature of business and the rigid nature of spreadsheets. But what if plans were actually meaningful? What if the planning process was an opportunity to get everyone to sing from the same sheet of music and get aligned with company strategy? Rather than singing the budgeting blues, finance teams can hum happily through the planning season. That is certainly the reality for many companies who use Cloud-based corporate performance management solutions. The issues of spreadsheets are already well documented and in fact there is even an organization dedicated to spreadsheet risk called the European Spreadsheet Risks Interest Group. You may wish to read about some of the spreadsheet horror stories they have collected over the years.
The benefits of Cloud-based corporate performance management (CPM) solutions are also well documented. Adaptive Insights, the leading Cloud-based CPM solution, reports the following results with customers in the image below:
Indeed, results such as these are key drivers for Cloud-based CPM adoption. Here are some points to consider when evaluating solutions:
Usability: Business professionals who have been using spreadsheets for their entire careers may be resistant to using new technology. You can reduce internal resistance by selecting a solution that is easy to use and has a familiar spreadsheet interface.
Avoid the Pseudo-Cloud: Many on-premise solution vendors have been scrambling to get a foothold in the growing Cloud market. They are taking their existing on-premise technology stack and attempting to transform it into a “Cloud solution”, often with less than stellar results. The pitfalls to this approach are described in this blog post.
Look at the Leaders: The Cloud-based CPM market is growing at a very healthy rate and new entrants are trying to capitalize on the opportunity. While perhaps worth taking a look if they have modules directly related to your industry, there are only a few solution providers that have the customer base, capitalization, and vision to continue to innovate and protect your investment over the long term. As such, it is worthwhile to read some of the analyst research before you compile your vendor list.
If you are considering a move away from spreadsheet-based budgeting and planning, Carlson Management Consulting can help. We are an Adaptive Insights Platinum Partner having successfully completed more than 120 implementations for a growing list of customers nationwide. If you would like to learn how Adaptive Insights can help you avoid the budgeting blues, please contact us or request a demo.