Business Intelligence Blog from arcplan

The Pitfalls of Budgeting & Planning Deployments: Part I


The financial success of any organization begins with a well-structured budget for each department. Just having this budget/plan in place does not guarantee success, but not having a plan guarantees failure.

But with only half of organizations’ plans being accurate and two-thirds not being able to investigate the details of their budgets in real time, many companies are planning major modifications to their budgeting and planning because they are painfully aware of the shortcomings of their process.[1]

The implementation of a comprehensive budgeting, planning and forecasting (BP&F) tool should not be taken lightly. Though BP&F solution deployments can take as little as 6 weeks or as much as 4 months depending on the complexity, these projects require significant forethought, resources, and strategy. With this in mind, here are some pitfalls to avoid if at all possible. These of course apply to all business intelligence projects, not simply BP&F:

1) Unrealistic scope
An unrealistic scope is the #1 project impediment we see at arcplan. Because our solution, arcplan Edge, is fully customizable, we enable our customers to not compromise on their requirements. However, not every company has the funds to deploy every item on their wish list in Phase I of the project. So what can you do to ensure project success?

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Best Practices in Budgeting, Planning and Forecasting Webinar Recording


In case you missed arcplan’s webinar on August 7th, Best Practices in Budgeting, Planning and Forecasting/CPM, here’s the recording to view at your convenience:


Note that the recording will stream as a WMV file.

This webinar is chock full of lessons learned from arcplan Edge deployments. Our Senior Vice President of Solutions Delivery, Dwight deVera, presents information you can use to guide your future CPM software implementations. As you’ll see, budgeting and planning project success comes down to a few factors: keeping expectations and scope in check, putting the right team in place, and selecting the ideal technology platform that gives all stakeholders what they need.

Leave us a comment if you have any questions!


Webinar: Best Practices in Budgeting, Planning & Forecasting/CPM Deployments – August 7, 2012


Join arcplan on Tuesday, August 7th @ 2pm Eastern for our free webinar on Best Practices in Budgeting, Planning & Forecasting/CPM Deployments, presented by our Senior Vice President for Solutions Delivery, Dwight deVera. This 60-minute webinar reviews a myriad of “know before you go” considerations for executives, finance teams, and planning professionals evaluating BP&F/CPM software.

We’ll discuss:

  •  How to translate your planning process into system design requirements
  • How to manage expectations and avoid scope creep
  • The “gotchas” and obstacles you may face during deployment and how to overcome them
  • Who should comprise your budgeting & planning team and their responsibilities
  • The elements of an ideal budgeting & planning system
  • And much more

We’ll also host a live Q&A at the end of the webinar.

You’ll come away from this presentation knowing everything it takes to achieve a successful technology deployment that enables you to dynamically adjust your plans on a monthly basis.

Click here to register!

Hope to see you there.


The 2 Most Common Budgeting, Planning and Forecasting Frustrations


Ask a sales manager what ABC means and the response, often with a smile, will be “Always Be Closing.” This concept makes sense for the sales manager but unfortunately, many finance managers are “always closing” too – and they’re not smiling about it. The budgeting, planning and forecasting (BP&F) cycle is too often the most dreaded time of the year. A recent report from Ventana Research revealed that the BP&F process “typically eats up 10 – 15% of the finance team’s time, and it takes 5 – 10 months to complete the full cycle in large organizations.” So how does the finance team get anything else done if we’re talking about a 10-month process?

Few organizations are insulated from the challenges of financial reporting and planning. The process continues to cause pain because there are many moving parts that finance managers and planners need to balance and many individuals who contribute to them. We’ve found that many of the finance team’s concerns boil down to the following 2 issues, both of which can be addressed with a dedicated, comprehensive BP&F tool.

1) You’ve outgrown your current process. For some, planning consists of Excel spreadsheets and a notepad. We recently spoke to one $3 billion company that is still managing their planning this way! In a previous post, we looked at some of the indicators for when you need to move on from your current BP&F process: multiple versions of the same spreadsheets used by different people, time wasted consolidating spreadsheets rather than analyzing data, and limited visibility. These are all signs that it’s time to graduate to a corporate performance management solution or dedicated BP&F software (like arcplan Edge), investing in a tool that is centralized, adaptive, and allows you to deliver the value that your business needs. Inefficient data collection and multiple versions of spreadsheets lengthen the BP&F cycle unnecessarily, reducing the value of the entire process.

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Common Challenges That Undermine Your Budgeting, Planning and Forecasting


For many financial planners out there, budgeting, planning and forecasting equals spreadsheets. Dozens or hundreds of them – that’s just the reality. You’ve accepted the fact that come the end of the fiscal year, you and your cohorts will be chained to your desk piecing together various versions of spreadsheets from each department and hoping that after several weeks of this, you’re able to consolidate the numbers into a workable budget for the next year. And then you hit a sales roadblock halfway through the year and have to forecast the impact…and go through all of this again.

The sheer amount of work this process takes is not the only challenge you face, and you’re not alone. Let’s take a closer look at 4 of the common challenges that are undermining your ability to be truly productive and add value when it comes to budgeting, planning, and forecasting.

Have you ever tried driving at night without headlights? I haven’t, but I can tell it’s a bad idea. In the same vein, your visibility issues when it comes to budgeting and planning mean you might be driving blind and that’s a bad idea for organizations that want accurate budgets and forecasts for the year/6 months/quarter ahead. Can you relate to these complaints?

  1. I’m unable to get real-time data from IT.
  2. The data I do get is siloed.
  3. We need to cut our sales plan back 10% and I have no way to see the financial impact, let alone quickly notify budget managers of the change.

Visibility issues might vary in complexity but they all mean the same thing: making decisions with inadequate or outdated information can inject serious error into every process at your organization. If you have old data to plan with, your budgets may be unrealistic. If you can’t provide timely insight to your budget managers, they can’t make good decisions (as would be the case with #3 above).

And if you’re not providing value-added contributions to the budgeting and planning process, your role as a planner will be undermined.

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