Were your forecasts too far off the previous quarter? If they were then your organization is probably one of many that has definitely outgrown spreadsheets.
Most mid-sized to large organizations today battle with over 800 sheets with iterations and their forecasting process still takes too long to complete while still being swamped with manual errors.
This leads to frustrations by decision makers because they are not able to identify new opportunities in time and they are too slow to respond to market stressors.
In order to try to do something about it, many finance decision makers have turned to the idea of adopting a new cloud planning software to help them shorten their planning cycle and to help them streamline their entire planning process.
However, looking for the best cloud planning software in the market is a lot harder than most people think. There are so many things to consider and usually decision makers have little to no experience.
To help finance decision makers find the perfect cloud planning software for them, we have come up with a list of the top 5 capabilities to look for when evaluating a cloud planning solution.
- Complete and Truly Unified CPM solution
For a cloud planning software to be truly worth the time and monetary investment made by your organization, it should be a complete and unified solution.
By complete it means that the solution should offer more than just planning. It should have equally robust capabilities when it comes to reporting, forecasting, budgeting, and consolidating otherwise, it will be too taxing and too expensive to have a specific software for each of these functions when they can all be handled by one solution.
Most solutions out in the market today also claim to be unified but to be honest, most of them are unified through acquisitions. This means a company has purchased several other solutions which they join together with theirs. The problem with this is that there never really is unity in strategy in the way the solution handles complex scenarios not to mention each solution might have their own usage problems. After all, no software ever is perfect.
Therefore, choose one that was built from the ground up as a unified solution both in technology and features.
- Seamless Integration with other ERP and Line-of-Business Systems
Choose a cloud planning software that is ERP or business system agnostic. The hard truth is that most organizations especially larger ones still operate with a lot of legacy systems and most organizations also use ERP systems from varying brands. They even still have a huge part of their process relying on excel spreadsheets.
In order to achieve enterprise-wide integration of the planning process, it is important that your cloud planning software is system agnostic so that it can integrate with any erp system or any line of business system seamlessly. You do not need to stick to a particular brand of software just because you need to be able to integrate. Working with spreadsheets should also be supported in the sense that you should be allowed to import data into the system easily.
- Sophisticated Modeling and Predictive Analytics
The challenge today is that all businesses are faced with a rapidly changing business environment. Market is highly volatile and supplier landscape is continuously evolving. Therefore, it is imperative that your chosen cloud planning software allows you to understand the market volatility deeply and that you be allowed to model for these financial or operational changes that come your way through assumptions.
Your cloud planning software of choice must therefore allow you to do sophisticated modeling and predictive analytics in order to stay ahead of the game.
- Intuitive and Mobile-enabled Workflow
Not all workflows make sense. Some solutions have workflows that don´t really make sense from a business perspective. Find a workflow that is intuitive, pragmatic, and that which truly makes sense for the type of business you are in.
In addition, people are now always on the go which makes it important that your cloud planning software of choice should be mobile device enabled.
Find one that is modern and html5 browser-based so that you can easily access plans and reports on the web or on any mobile device.
- Minimal Training time and Implementation time Required
Any solution that takes too much time to implement and to be learned is a solution that loses too much money, disrupts operations drastically, and wastes too many opportunities for your company.
Find a solution that makes use of excel as its user interface because that way learning doesn’t have to start from scratch as you can leverage existing skills in your department. Likewise, make sure that the solution doesn´t take more than a couple of weeks to implement otherwise that could indicate complexity in configuration and complexity in the use and maintenance which is something you wouldn´t want.
If you are one of those companies looking for an affordable and robust cloud planning software, have a look at cloud pcFinancials – one of today´s modern planning tools in the cloud that incorporates industry´s best practices in the solution in order to handle moderate to complex business scenarios intelligently.
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