In past articles I’ve written here on arcplan’s BI Blog, I explored the role of spreadsheets in the planning, budgeting, and forecasting process and the importance of agility and accuracy. Today I would like to talk about the benefits of business analytics in the planning process when it comes to providing agility and accuracy.
When forecasts are consistently accurate, business leaders can have more confidence when making decisions and investments to guide the organization, as they have a good idea of how the organization will perform in the coming months. Agility is essential because volatile markets make it difficult for forecasts to reflect current business conditions. Therefore, Best-in-Class organizations are more likely than All Others to implement technology to enable both data access and the ability to utilize data to make predictive decisions (Figure 1). Fifty percent (50%) of Best-in-Class organizations have implemented an enterprise-level BI solution in comparison to 28% of All Others. These tools provide data in an easily consumable format so employees can find and utilize the data they need to make decisions. The Best-in-Class are also over twice as likely as All Others to have implemented predictive analytics. This technology helps to convert BI data into forward-looking forecasts.
Figure 1: Best-in-Class Technology Adoption
Source: Aberdeen Group, January 2013
Standard financial reports tend to follow the same template, which is a list of accounts and their totals for the month and year. This information is critical to financial advisors, but the standard report template doesn’t tell us what the values mean. One of the goals of any report is to highlight relevant information so a user can easily see if something’s wrong and take corrective action. Let’s examine two kinds of financial reports and you can decide for yourself which one would make an impact for more stakeholders at your organization.
This report (after the jump) shows a sample income statement for a fictional company. While it displays all of the necessary information, you’d have to read every line item in order to find out that the total income from this month is down 50% from the same time last year. It’s also difficult to differentiate the total from specific line items because the dollar amounts are the same font size and color. With the technology available to finance teams today, this type of boring, ineffective financial report should become a thing of the past.
Not Your Father’s Financial Statements
Recorded Date: October 23, 2013
Length: 30 minutes
Presenter: Dwight deVera, arcplan Senior VP of Solutions Delivery
About this webinar:
The standard financial reporting process that your organization uses to manage itself has been in existence for over a century. There is no reason why executives should settle for financial statements that were first designed prior to the existence of computers. In this webinar, we discuss best practice techniques to visualize the data locked in your financial systems and alternative formats for your financial statements.
See ways to make your statements more visual and interactive with ratio analysis using radar graphs, historical performance using bridge and waterfall analysis, commentary and more – in effect, you’ll learn how to make your company’s financial data more consumable to a broader audience.
Providing Visibility & Agility: The Key Components of Success in Planning, Budgeting, and Forecastingby Nick Castellina
In my previous post, I discussed the role of spreadsheets in financial planning, budgeting, and forecasting. My key conclusion was that organizations need more substantial technology to facilitate these processes through automation. What I did not discuss was how these technologies provide greater visibility into the data that is essential for successful decision-making as well as the importance of utilizing this data to create forecasts that constantly reflect current business conditions. Today I would like to discuss these themes, but let’s first take a step back to why they are important.
Aberdeen’s 2013 Financial Planning, Budgeting, and Forecasting survey illustrated the top pressures hindering planning processes (Figure 1).
Figure 1: Pressures in Planning, Budgeting, and Forecasting
Source: Aberdeen Group, January 2013
Highlighting the importance of agility, organizations are pressured with volatile markets that make it extremely difficult to forecast effectively. This is compounded by the fact that 25% of organizations reported that their current budgeting process is too long and resource intensive. So organizations are spending all this time and effort, and by the time the planning process is complete, the output is already based on old data.
An In-Depth Look at arcplan 8: Focus on Mobile BI
Recorded Date: October 3, 2013
Duration: 60 min.
Speakers: Dwight deVera, arcplan Senior VP; Wayne Chambliss, Senior Pre-Sales Engineer
The next release of arcplan’s business intelligence platform officially launched on September 26th. It focuses on efficient mobile BI, making it easier than ever for users and developers to mobile-enable their BI and planning apps for any device.
Watch this webinar on-demand to see:
- A primer on Responsive Design, a concept built into arcplan 8 that enables apps to dynamically adjust their layout to the end user’s screen size, resolution and orientation
- An exploration of arcplan 8’s new features, as well as a few updates from past releases that you may not be aware of (advanced analytics, commentary, etc.)
- A look at “Views,” a new concept in the arcplan Application Designer that enables developers to build responsive applications and print layouts with very little effort
- An in-depth demo of arcplan 8: responsive dashboards, self-service reporting (ad-hoc using Teradata as a data source) and more
This is a must-see not only for our customers and partners, but also for anyone interested in Responsive Design and how it applies to business intelligence.