Excel is a fantastic tool for producing company Budgets, Forecasts, and making sense of Actual values. All businesses will have used Excel as their main planning tool. They will have brought information together from various parts of their business – using formulae to make sense of the data – and using that to produce a coherent plan.
Over the years the flexibility and functionality of Excel has got better, and better. In the past there were restrictions to just 65k rows, a column limit, clunky graphs, and what now feels like extremely slow calculation times. Everything is a lot easier and quicker now – with much broader toolsets and functionality.
Although Excel continues to be a great tool, it can only take a business so far.
There is a point in time when the Excel files start to groan; and the Finance Team becomes less confident about the accuracy of the data. At the same time the Finance Team realise that they spend far too much time inputting data and not enough time using their extensive training to analyse the figures and informing the business strategy. It is at this point that a business will approach us.
We will review the data needs of the business, and work with them to assess how best we can organise their data and what they require to be able to inform the business strategy.
We will often recommend IBM’s Planning Analytics, as it provides huge benefits. It places all of your data in one place, and therefore provides one version of the truth. It changes the questions that are asked – from “Where is the data?” to “The data is telling me xyz, how can I use this to improve”. At the same time Planning Analytics loves Excel – it comes with an Excel add-in/ribbon to seamlessly link the two programs together. This makes Planning Analytics a familiar and comfortable environment in which our clients work.
Forecasting and Budgeting also become much easier. All the required data is in one place. There is no more transferring from one sheet to another. No more waiting to receive emails with attachments.
The way this information is consumed is also greatly improved – whether through Excel, Web, or Mobile.
Putting all of this together - Planning Analytics is definitely Excel on Steroids!
As a consultancy, we understand the Finance Team’s pain, as each of our consultants is a finance professional who has worked within a Finance Team. We are therefore able to work with our clients in their hour of need. We support businesses who realise that they’ve outgrown Excel, but they are trying to ignore that fact; and are helplessly holding on to Excel.
We help our clients understand their processes and systems; why they need the data and what they use it for. Once we’ve scoped out the data-panacea, we use Planning Analytics to deliver this.
The result for our clients is that they spend less time data inputting, and more time adding value to the business through analysis, forecasting and contributing to the business strategy. Our clients tell us that we help to put them at the heart of the business.
To find out more contact Declan Rodger, Director at Spitfire Analytics: Declan.email@example.com or if you fancy a small gift from Spitfire send us your details here