You’re aware of the importance of planning, budgeting and forecasting to your organisation. You know that your company cannot survive unless it measures itself against these projections, and that this process is instrumental to the success of your company.
But you also know that the cycle is convoluted, time-consuming and complex. According to AccountingWeb, the budgeting process can absorb up to 30 percent of senior executives’ and financial managers’ time, and take up to four or five months to complete. It is also a highly repetitive process; regardless of the strides taken to automate many of the functional tasks, budgeting also requires cross-level negotiation and communication, management approval, data analysis, and time-sensitive information gathering.
This process is very often done using spreadsheets or similar tools. According to The Aberdeen Group’s Nick Castellina, almost 89% of businesses use spreadsheets in the planning, budgeting and forecasting function. Employees are comfortable with these tools, as they have become familiar to users both at home and at work. However, Castellina questions whether they are being used effectively.
Manually consolidating information on multiple spreadsheets is time-consuming and inefficient. This data is not easy to understand, and information regarding the numbers (for example, which are the latest figures, and which are outdated) is difficult to see. Unprotected formulas can be broken, numbers changed, and data can be lost. And worst of all, because the process is so time-intensive, old, inaccurate figures are simply given straight-line increases without due thought and care being given to changing them accurately.
Spreadsheets are killing the process
Castellina promotes a move away from the spreadsheet-as-data-generator model towards spreadsheets only being used as data repositories. Best-in-class companies are now “less reliant on [spreadsheets] as the sole means of communication and interaction, preferring to combine them with the use of applications”.
Applications such as the IBM Cognos suite from Cortell help organisations quickly and easily transform their planning cycle using tools which fundamentally change the budgeting process.
For example, organisation-wide, secure collaboration allows instantaneous decision-making – even with remote users on mobile devices. Sophisticated models and plans can be created faster than conventional formula-driven spreadsheets – with greater accuracy, and without worrying that your large datasets are going to crash your application, or having to manage multiple versions !
IBM Cognos to the Rescue
The ability to assign resources, analyse workflows, establish responsibilities, and effectively manage input makes the use of the IBM Cognos suite imperative for any organisation looking to speed up its planning, budgeting and forecast process.
IBM Cognos Insight is best suited to single-user desktop environments, while Cognos Express and Cognos TM1/Enterprise are built for corporates with large, disparate data sets who require more advanced Business Intelligence functionality.
So Why Cortell?
Cortell’s expertise in business analysis, process management and deployment of specialist IBM products can ensure the effective use of planning, budgeting and forecasting tools such as the Cognos suite.
“Cortell uses some of the best toolsets in the world,” says Cortell Director David McWilliam. “The IBM suite has the broadest functionality and it is the best integrated – which is why we chose them. We’re IBM certified, and have trained our consultants extensively in the required skills – and we’re specialists in making sure these tools work for you in your organisation.”
But it’s about more than software.
“We have a very good understanding of the problems you face in your particular company. Different companies in different industries work in different ways, and require different approaches and solutions. And our expertise means that we are well suited to generating time- and cost-saving models throughout the office of finance.”
McWilliam mentions that the Cortell methodology includes an extensive business discovery process.
“We go into the organisation to find out exactly what issues they may be experiencing, and then use the IBM tools to craft solutions to fit their organisational needs. We marry their business problems to the toolset to come up with a solution.”
If you’re looking to speed up your planning, budgeting and forecasting process, the answer is quite obvious: choose Cortell to implement an IBM solution in your business. You won’t look back.