Selecting a new planning app can be an arduous task. You see lots of flashy demos, sales presentations and “cool” looking features. They all look the same right?
Well, that may be the true, but when you peel back the onion and take a closer look, there are some significant differences between the different vendor solutions.
If I were to say to you that your planning system would force you to combine your cost center and account dimensions into a single dimension by concatenating all of the cost center and account codes, you’d think I was crazy, right? If you knew in advance that it worked that way, you would never buy it, correct? Unfortunately, some solutions don’t reveal their shortcomings until after they’re implemented.
Acquiring a new planning application is a journey. Ideally, your new planning app is not just a great spreadsheet automation tool, but is also an enabler which can unlock a whole series of capabilities that were unthinkable in the spreadsheet world. Examples include: rolling forecasts, driver-based planning, linking operations to finance and predictive forecasting, to name but a few. The ultimate goal is an organisation in which plans for Finance, Operations, Sales, HR and a range of other essential functions can be created on a single, integrated platform, where planning is pervasive throughout the organisation and the organisation is constantly aligning resources to seize new opportunities.
With that said, it is important that you select the right planning platform which can support you on the above journey — even if your initial goal is simply to automate your spreadsheets.
There are certain attributes of planning system engines that are absolutely essential for a serious planning system. A few that come to mind are:
- An in-memory calculation engine for performance
- A multi-cube architecture for flexibility
- A sparsity engine to handle enterprise-class data volumes
Beyond these basics, other blog articles by IBM offer more suggestions on things to consider:
- In the market for a new planning application? Make sure you do the math first!
- Looking for a new planning application? Are you really getting a “single version of the truth”?
- Looking for a new planning application? There is a better option!
- Is your planning application promoting bad behaviour by your finance team?
The moral of the story is that a little extra care in your due diligence will benefit you when you’re choosing a planning application.