Choosing planning, budgeting and forecasting software is not an easy task. You need to evaluate its key functionalities and check if it supports the best planning practices. Ideally, you would select a solution that meets the following requirements:

  1. Adaptive

A system implemented in your company should allow you to change operating model parameters and  provide you with frequent updates of short- and long-term forecasts based on data coming from inside and outside of the organization. A modern planning solution will help you transform changing business conditions into the new value for your company.

  1. Timely

Look for a platform that uses databases created and edited by users operating at all stages of the business process. This way, all important information can be included in the model, financial plan or forecast immediately. Integrated solutions also allow for automatic data consolidations and rollups, thus accelerating the work of users and the organization.

  1. Integrated

In a model planning platform, all tools and functions related to analytics, planning, data tracking, document circulation and reporting should be available from one menu. A system devised in this manner would eliminate all problems associated with the ‘shadow’ planning, i.e. separate solutions that support only part of the processes and functions, causing  loss of key data and insights.

  1. Collaborative

The greatest synergy can be achieved with cloud software that lets you work and communicate with users from anywhere and at any time. The key issue here is connection security – choose a solution that uses hight standard cloud-protection.

  1. Self-contained

With the best planning & analytics platform, the IT department completely disappears from the daily work of users. Modern planning solutions allow you to use databases and perform advanced analyzes without the help of IT specialists. Users adapt to the new environment much quicker thanks to the familiar Microsoft Excel interface.

  1. Scalable

Precise planning, budgeting and forecasting are based on data. The larger and more accurate the base, the more accurate forecasts we can generate. It happens, however, that with a large number of variables, our data become so rare that it needs to be divided into several cubes and then analyzed separately. This, in turn, creates different versions of the same plans and analyses. When choosing a planning platform, pay attention to its scalability – what you want is the Enterprise-class!

  1. Efficient

Looking for a modern platform, you would expect it to meet the various needs of different business users. Analysts should have the opportunity to work with data, leaving managers to focus on business processes. This kind of division ensures maximum efficiency in every field. Such functionality is easy to achieve with the application view adjusted for the specific user role.

  1. Accurate

Plans generated by the best platforms may contain errors – caused by expired links, use of outdated data or incorrect consolidations. It’s important that your planning solution allows for an adequate and transparent mapping of business processes. This way, finding and correcting simple errors won’t pose a challenge to everyday users.

What’s best for your organization?

While choosing planning & analytics software, it’s important to evaluate its functions and capabilities, but also check how they will be implemented by different users in the organization. Therefore, it is worth testing your planning solution within different departments – finance, HR, logistics, etc. Most planning solutions providers offer various workshop opportunities and trial versions of their software. This is the moment when you can test the software against your business processes and assess how a given implementation will improve your organization’s work.

Here at Incube, we focus on improving business processes, providing our clients with the most valuable tools and insights. We offer a wide range of planning & analytics solutions which we adapt 100% to the client’s needs. Our top implementations feature IBM Cognos Analytics. If you want to learn about business solutions that could improve your company’s efficiency – contact us here.

Source: IBM: Planning, budgeting and forecasting: Software selection guide