In today’s busy business environment, not only top-level executives, but line of business managers in marketing, supply chain, and operations, are all in constant need of timely, accurate information about the business. Competition is tougher, customers are more demanding, and the economics of many industries have become increasingly complex. Furthermore, the variables that can spell success or failure to a business—supply costs, interest rates, consumer trends, government regulations—can change rapidly, so the demand for real-time data and more in-depth analysis and insight is greater than ever.
Consequently, with business factors constantly changing, the operational side of the business is more dependent than ever on finance to produce real-time information on business drivers and the potential outcomes of different strategies.
Modeling Today − What Are People Using?
Many organizations still rely on Excel as its go-to modeling and analysis tool, and while Excel has many beneficial uses, modeling of complex business scenarios is not one of them. The typical result is a standalone model that is unable to share assumptions or outcomes with other models, and which often contains errors that either negates the value of the analysis or wastes employee time in error correction.
Finance and operations both need tools that are more sophisticated than Excel, but far less intimidating than the typical high-end alternative—a big data BI platform, which often only IT or trained professionals can use.
Where Is Finance’s Time Going?
According to Rob Kugel at Ventana Research, today’s finance teams are spending too much time on repetitive, mechanical tasks that add little value with nearly 70 percent of them spending the greatest portion of their time doing data preparation; and 28 percent spending the bulk of their time doing what they’re most qualified to do – financial analysis.
This begs the question: What “other things” are taking up so much of their time? Too often, because of disconnected data sitting in a variety of systems and spreadsheets, it’s hard for finance to provide the line of business with the data they need so their time is consumed with data prepping and spreadsheet jockeying.
This raises yet another question. As everyone across the business is under pressure to make confident data-driven decisions, shouldn’t the line of business be empowered to get the insights they need on their own? The answer is absolutely!
Fall17 introduces a new Model Manager, which greatly simplifies the modeling process; and enables non-technical users to create their own models, test “what if” scenarios and produce ad hoc reports—immediately, without waiting for IT to help.
Everyone in the organization can create models for use cases such as sales bookings, market demand generation, call center agent productivity, or inventory depletion. Also, because the models can be integrated with other models, organizations can create operational models across multiple departments and business areas.
Through increased modeling adoption, organizations can unify and integrate operational models across the enterprise.
“Model Manager will drive even higher adoption of Host Modeling in finance and across the business,” said Ian Vishnevsky, senior manager of FP&A at Machinima, Inc., a next-generation video entertainment and gaming network developer. “That’s huge because it will help increase the speed and accuracy of our business models and allow them to be integrated into our financial plan.”
Another useful, productivity feature is the self-service Host Dashboards module that was introduced with Fall17. With Host Dashboards, line of business managers can view financial and operational data in real time, monitor key performance indicators and top-level metrics, and drill down into data to investigate anomalies. Dashboarding provides real-time data, which is a big benefit in today’s busy business environment, where everyone is under pressure to provide quick answers. Filters also make it easier for users to zoom in on the most relevant data.
At Planar, a unit of Leyard Optoelectronic Company and a maker of monitors and displays, the Host Dashboards module has enabled it to gain greater visibility into data and trends.
“We can very quickly see trends in product lines across geographies, visualize where we are making our revenues and profit, and more easily see growth percentages,” said Shane Riddle, director of FP&A at Planar, adding that Dashboard was so easy to use that employees needed no training.
For more information on Host Dashboards, click here to watch the product video: