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How agile was your budgeting and planning cycle?

Posted on December 13th, 2011 by TimClaes

How agile was your budgeting and planning process?

Or is it still ongoing? The last couple of months I visited many companies and most of them had the same complaint: “It is that ‘frustrating’ time of the year again, where we need to enter our budget for next year.”

Instead of enjoying this strategic exercise, most people get lost in the details and waist a lot of time. Too often I notice that the budgeting and planning exercise still happens in excel. People create formulas, add columns, remove lines and before you know it, you end up in a true excel hell. No security, no version control, no process flows… nothing.

On the other hand some companies work with ‘high-tech’ programs for their budgeting and planning process. Typically these systems are ‘over-engineered’: resulting into an unfriendly user interface, asking for too many parameters and not allowing any flexibility towards the end users.

That is where ‘Agile BI’ comes in the picture. You give the power to the business users, allowing for a ‘controlled’ flexibility. So that they have all the tools available at their fingertips to perform ‘self-service BI’. But at the same time – behind the scenes – you have a centralized controlled environment monitoring the different process flows, executing the complex calculations and providing the correct information towards the right people.

SAP BPC is such a solution, where the end-user can continue to fill in his/her budgeting and planning details in a familiar environment (= excel), but the files are synchronized with a central database where all the process/approval flows and security rights are set up: Bottom-up and Top-down flows; sales forecasts and operational forecasts; high-level simulations and detailed level simulations… you name it, it is possible.

So maybe you can start thinking about next year already… So that the budgeting and planning cycle becomes a strategic exercise again, instead of a frustrating period of time where people get lost in the details.

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