Business Intelligence Blog from arcplan

On-Demand Webinar: Visualizations to Make You a Better Budgeter


View-WebinarView this arcplan webinar at your convenience – it’s 30 minutes on the next big trend in budgeting and planning.

Visualizations to Make You a Better Budgeter
Recorded Date: Thursday, June 13, 2013
Duration: 30 minutes
Speaker: Dwight deVera, SVP of Professional Services at arcplan

About this webinar:

Wouldn’t you love it if your budgets told you where you can make the biggest impact? If you no longer had to sift through pages and pages of numbers looking for ways to cut spending and hoping those changes will make a difference?

arcplan_planning_dashboard_smThe next big trend in planning is tactical planning dashboards that plot your plan data on charts that point out exactly where budget vs. actual will start to go south, what cost centers are having the most negative impact on the budget, and at what point products start to become unprofitable. These visualizations are a much more effective way to see where you can impact your budget than learning how to read an anatomically correct financial statement and guessing where adjustments should be made.

We present:

  • A visualization model that tells you where to focus your energy to make the biggest impact on your budgets and plans
  • The chart types that are most effective for your plan data
  • Examples of planning dashboards you can emulate

This webinar is for:

  • Non-finance professionals who need help becoming better budgeters and planners
  • Finance professionals who want their plan users to be more effective

View this webinar >>


Essential Budgeting & Planning System Components – Part 3: Offline Planning


arcplan Excel Analytics_smSo far in this series – a planning software buyer’s guide – I’ve written about the benefits of workflow and the interesting ways our customers are using spreading to automate plan creation. Today I’ll address another key component of modern planning systems: offline planning, which is particularly helpful for a geographically distributed workforce.

Whether planners are in remote locations or simply travel frequently, there is value in being able to access a planning system offline. One of our non-profit customers has staff responsible for project-based budgeting located in Africa – in areas with limited bandwidth and a sporadic internet connection at best. Spotty internet isn’t an excuse for a late budget. In this situation, it’s easy to see why their arcplan planning system needs to be functional for offline staff. Once they reach an access point, they can sync their plans to the centralized repository and their supervisors can proceed with suggesting edits or approving the plans.

Perhaps this is more relevant to your company…

Continue reading this post >>


Essential Budgeting & Planning System Components – Part 2: Spreading


In Part 1 of this series – a planning software buyer’s guide – I covered the first essential component of a modern planning system: workflow. Let’s keep the ball rolling with another component that is vital to your next planning solution.

Spread methods are an efficient way to automate plans for a period without starting from scratch every time. Simply defined, spreading is the system’s ability to take a budget value and spread it over a range of periods based on a divisible operator (like percent per month, for example). Your planning system should include built-in spreading functionality, especially the more popular methods – even (the most used method in practice), spread like last year, and spread like last year +/- a dollar value or percent.

Essentially, spreading is a fast data entry method. It will save time to have your system manage and centrally control your corporate spread methods. Users should also be able to create their own. A nice-to-have feature is color changes where data has been entered. Click to expand the image above and you’ll see an arcplan Edge system, where blue cells indicate areas where data can be entered and yellow cells indicate that data has been entered during this session.

Note: The terms “spread” and “allocation” are often used interchangeably, but at arcplan we make a distinction between the two. To make it easy for our customers, we say that spreading is bottom-up only and occurs horizontally across financial periods, while allocation is vertically rolled-down spreading. For example…

Continue reading this post >>


Essential Budgeting & Planning System Components – Part 1: Workflow


Workflow Calendar_smA planning software buyer’s guide

An efficient budgeting, planning and forecasting process is a cornerstone of successful organizations. Software goes a long way in driving that efficiency – and I’m not talking about Excel. If you’re outgrowing spreadsheet-based planning and will be evaluating dedicated planning solutions to facilitate more accurate, timely and agile planning, over the next few articles, I’ll be laying out the system components, or specific features, you’ll want to look for. You can see these components demonstrated in my recent webinar on Budgeting and Planning in 2013, but here I’ll write about them in more detail and explain why they’re important to the success of your planning initiative.

Enterprise workflow is what separates your financial planning or corporate performance management system from simple data collection and reporting systems. Planning systems with workflow allow planners to follow a series of steps to bring the plan from initiation to completion. Workflow logically orders tasks and enables managers to keep an eye on where their team is in the planning cycle.

Continue reading this post >>


arcplan 8.5 – more cloud, more R, more pace


Increasingly complex business processes and customer requirements represent major challenges for companies and their Business Intelligence (BI) projects. With the latest update of its Unified Business Analytics platform arcplan 8.5 is addressing improved cloud support, forward-looking analyses, and accelerated application development. “With this new release, arcplan is raising the bar for business analytics solutions even higher. arcplan 8.5 offers new and exciting features in particular for the increasingly important area of predictive analytics,” says Hans Peter Wolff, CTO at arcplan. Continue reading this post>>