Do you still use Microsoft Excel for Budgeting, Business Planning or Performance Management? Microsoft Excel was good for the job 10-15 years ago, but Excel also has its limits, and you probably have come across many of them already. In particular, Excel is not a database!
Today, very powerful, easy-to-use, and affordable solutions are available on the market that can set you apart as Manager, and truly help improve your company’s performance. If you are a Financial Planning Manager at a mid-size or large company, and still use Excel for Budgeting and Forecasting, then you’ve got quite a bit of catch up to do. And most likely you know that.
Investaura has recently completed a major Budgeting, Business Planning and Costing project for a telecoms service provider. The service provider had been struggling for a number of years, using Excel tools that nobody really understood and that delivered inconsistent results to the board. Worse of all, every budgeting round was remembered as a terrible experience by the top-management team, with many sleepless nights and massive frustration. Sounds familiar?
The Investaura solution was built on the software platform provided by Adaptive Insights, the Silicon Valley firm. Adaptive Insights is the worldwide leader in on-demand corporate performance management (CPM) solutions for companies of all sizes, with more than 2,000 customers and 45,000 users worldwide. From the very beginning, the Adaptive Planning solution has been designed for business users, not IT users.
The system that Investaura has developed for its client is very comprehensive and powerful. Its key features include:
- Three applications integrated into one: Budgeting (short-term view), Activity Based Costing (allocation of historical and current costs, as well as cost forecasts), and Business Planning (long-term view);
- Full consistency between the three applications: same source of data, same forecasting logic, consistent results;
- Activity-based costing module: calculation of the cost and profit margins of individual services (voice, messaging, VAS, Mobile broadband) and products (Prepaid products, Postpaid products);
- Variance analysis (Actuals vs. Forecast), Performance Dashboards and reports, which can be created by the users without IT staff involvement;
- Integration and automation of the data extraction from the ERP and data warehouse, so that financial and customer data can be imported into the Budgeting & Costing system at the press of a button;
- Multi-user capability, encouraging collaboration within the service provider organisation;
- Workflow functionality, making the management of the overall budgeting process easier;
- Version management, including access rights management and version locking;
- And most important: easy to use.
An overview of the architecture of the solution is provided in the following exhibit.
The new Budgeting & Costing system will bring great value to the telecoms service provider:
- Improved Collaboration: making the budgeting & costing system easily available to a wide-audience of key people (Managers, Directors, VPs), giving them an end-to-end view of the business, and facilitating mutual understanding across Divisions;
- Increased efficiency of the Budgeting & Planning team, with less time spent trying to fix formulae and Excel, and more time spent added true value to the organisation;
- Significant reduction in the need for consultancy support in the future, saving hundreds of thousands of USD every year for the preparation of the annual budget and the long-term plan;
- Better Performance Management: broad communication of current performance, via reports and dashboards, so that key individuals know how the company is performing against budget, at all time.
Further benefits are highlighted in the following exhibit.
For more information, feel free to contact us.