The Dark Old Days
Many of us will remember the dark old days of Budgeting and Forecasting, when we battled with complicated spreadsheets on a daily basis, trying to deliver decent Budget and Forecast plans. This involved many long hours desperately trying to stitch together something for that all important review the next day. Finally, only to attend the meetings where participants all came with their own versions of the numbers and the chaos ensued.
Anyway, things changed about decade ago, with the introduction of proper Budgeting and Forecasting software solutions. In my case, it was the introduction of Hyperion Planning, when I was working for a FTSE 100 company, as a Financial Business Analyst.
After an initial tough implementation, the system settled for the Finance Department and then started to permeate throughout the business, truly transforming the Planning and Reporting capability of the organisation. We now had a powerful, flexible and scalable solution with one version of the truth.
It became an integral system for the business and, much to the frustration of the Finance Director people no longer asked what Finance said the numbers were, rather: What Does Hyperion say the numbers are?
The other side of the table
More recently, I have moved over into consulting. As cheesy as it may sound, I wanted to share that joy and benefits that I experienced with the implementation of Hyperion Planning.
But I soon realised there was a common hitch when it came to persuading companies to implement the solution.
Cost of Ownership
Whilst they were well aware of the benefits it would bring, the issue was the relatively high cost of ownership because of the need for significant hardware. Not only the acquisition cost itself but also the associated costs of logistics, management and support. Ultimately, it often became the show-stopper for all but the largest companies.
I often wished for some workable alternative. Well, finally, it arrived…
Planning and Budgeting Cloud Services
Last year Oracle released its Planning and Budgeting Cloud Services (PBCS), the twin of Hyperion Planning available on the cloud. Functionality is largely the same, with no tangible difference for all but the most complex implementations.
What this suddenly meant is that we were free from those hardware shackles and could now benefit from a subscription approach to licencing. This meant that organisations could now be proud owners of this first class solution for as little as £10,000 per year.
For those who cannot leave Excel (and why should we) it still features the same excellent integration with Excel through the Smart View Add In, allowing users to conduct all their interaction through Excel or a Web Browser. Its their choice.
Furthermore, Oracle have cleverly tailored the experience with PBCS even more towards the end user, avoiding the need for any heavy IT intervention. Built in training modules and intuitive wizards along with the lack of hardware means that your project can start within days of purchase.
Time for your action
If you’re still using those spreadsheets, or your system isn’t delivering as it should: now is the time to take a closer look at PBCS. Brilliant Budgeting and Forecasting could be just one step away.
Also, click the link below for a really interesting read on The Next Generation of Cloud FP&A solutions, including best practice advice and help on choosing the right cloud based Planning solution.