By Piers Wilson
When moving to a new budgeting and forecasting solution, many companies are prioritising the need to move away from a spreadsheet-centric, planning and forecasting process. It’s a smart move. Excel is increasingly recognised as not an appropriate tool, as it can undermine all the hard work that goes into planning and forecasting, by introducing inaccuracy and inefficiencies.
It’s for this reason that organisations look to purpose-built budgeting and forecasting applications like IBM’s Cognos TM1.
The irony around this strategic decision is that many companies who “upgrade” to a budgeting and forecasting solution will often overlook the value and importance of underpinning their application with a robust Master Data Management strategy. Excel will often be reverted back to for managing hierarchies and other master data and so will continue to be their Achilles’ heel.
The reality is that Master Data Management is a critical part of a successful budgeting and forecasting project, but one which is all too often overlooked until it’s too late; that is, when a data quality or business process issue arises down the track.
To resolve this Cornerstone has developed PM2Plan, powered by IBM Planning Analytics (the next generation of TM1), and which provides a series of templates designed to accelerate the budgeting and forecasting process. PM2Plan is one of a few solutions in which MDM is included as one of the foundational modules.
Lower the risk and increase the return on your budgeting and forecasting solution with PM2Plan and it's inbuilt MDM module
The MDM module specifically addresses data quality and master data issues that can creep into a budgeting and forecasting solution , ensuring that organisations get the most out of their investment in technologies such as TM1.
By making use of the MDM module, companies stand to gain significant advantage. Foremost amongst these is gaining more time to spend on business processes and the technical implementation, and less time spent on manual processes mapping out your data. A by-product is reducing your time to value for your budgeting and forecasting solution.
There are a myriad of other benefits wrapped up in the MDM module, for example, during the budgeting and forecasting process it is often the case that new products or employees need to be added that do not exist in any other system. PM2Plan’s MDM module has an inbuilt workflow to manage the creation on these new entities plus their locations in the relevant hierarchies, and destination into all relevant parts of the TM1 model. Efficient management of your business hierarchies in your budgeting and forecasting application not only saves significant time and effort, but provides far greater flexibility and a reduction of duplication for your users during the budget process.
Beyond this, the MDM module gives you the edge to properly manage and add robustness to your hierarchies. Part of the TM1 functionality ensures that aggregation happens automatically so that whenever a value is added at the lowest level of your hierarchy, it sums up to the highest level. And of course, you can avoid creating multiple versions of your hierarchies spread across conflicting spreadsheets.
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Redefining Performance: Insights from the Global C-suite Study - The CFO perspective, IBM Institute for Business Value