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Gary Simon | Aug 09, 2017

Agile Solutions Drive Agile Planning

Global volatility and uncertainty is keeping the modern finance function on its toes. Recent FSN research (The Future of Planning, Budgeting and Forecasting) finds that 73% of businesses are resorting to “continuous planning” just to get some near-term visibility of how their organizations are likely to perform.  But the research also shows that while doing more of the same, i.e. forecasting more frequently, delivers more accurate forecasts, it isn’t necessarily game-changing.  For example, it doesn’t let finance professionals see out further into the future.

It’s a point that isn’t lost on the Heads of FP&A who are emerging as more innovative and eager to push the technical boundaries of planning, budgeting and forecasting than their contemporaries in traditional finance roles. FP&A professionals are more likely to invest in tools and use more advanced analytical techniques. They know that if FP&A is to become more agile and responsive it needs access to more agile and innovative tools to complement its work – ideally on-demand.

This is the idea behind OneStream’s innovative XF MarketPlace which provides an App store-like environment in which users of OneStream’s CPM (Corporate Performance Management) software can leverage companion applications in the form of downloadable solutions, which fit snuggly into the core of their existing applications.  This innovative approach allows users to extend and enhance the value of their business models without major disruption and delay.

But more compellingly FP&A professionals can quickly tap into the latest innovations, rather than inventing their own solutions, resorting to in-house development, spreadsheet work-arounds or untried and tested bolt-ons.

Solutions already exist in the XF MarketPlace for ‘People Planning’, ‘Capex Planning’, ‘Account Reconciliations’ and ‘Thing Planning’, the latter being a pre-built component for detailed driver-based planning on anything like project planning or SKU level planning.  Users of the MarketPlace simply choose the most relevant solutions to add to their XF platform.  And because these solutions are written to the same design and development standards as the core CPM applications, the approach greatly reduces the risks and timescales associated with adding or upgrading functionality.

Furthermore, with a community building up around these solutions, the XF MarketPlace benefits from the “wisdom of crowds” ensuring that innovative ideas are captured from across the user base and that new solutions are released timeously to ensure that finance professionals always have access to the latest capabilities. Whereas other software vendors have developed separate modules for specialised requirements, often at significant extra cost, the XF MarketPlace allows CFOs to stay on trend and remain agile without compromising the integrity of their existing CPM models.

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