The value of scalability within the Finance organization cannot be understated. Financial consolidation and planning applications should not only meet current requirements, but also anticipate the future needs of an expanding enterprise. Scalable platforms that efficiently align financial and operational data enable key stakeholders to focus on driving that growth. That’s why, it is critical for Finance teams to have the proper tools in place to help advance the business, not limit it.
With Anaplan as their planning and reporting solution, Diligent Corporation battled with data restrictions, hitting their workspace server limit with every new acquisition. They constantly reprioritized functionality by chipping away at their Anaplan models. These challenges ultimately drove Diligent to seek a true unified CPM platform, focused on providing strong reporting and analysis capabilities. Read on to learn more about their story.
The Modern Governance Company
Diligent is the leading governance, risk and compliance (GRC) SaaS provider, empowering leaders to drive accountability and transparency. Relied on by more than 25,000 organizations and nearly 1M+ leaders, Diligent’s applications support efficient collaboration and secure information sharing. Headquartered in Washington, DC, Diligent Corporation employs over 1,500 people across 70 legal entities and generates $550M in revenue. More information is available at diligent.com.
Limited Scalability with Anaplan
Diligent has become the world’s largest GRC SaaS company due to organic growth and frequent acquisition activity. Yet the organization experienced challenges with Anaplan’s finance application as they worked through 20 new acquisitions over a five-year span. The platform lacked scalability and sufficient workspace, leading Diligent to make sacrifices within their models to allow for the minimum level of business unit reporting required. System generated management reports were burdened by FX related variances and Diligent’s Finance organization lacked confidence in the numbers produced. This caused certain processes to be pushed back into Excel®, decreasing forecast accuracy.
Given these challenges, Diligent began their journey of replacing Anaplan with a unified platform that would get all of their information into the same system. They discovered that OneStream offered a single source for reporting planning, and ensured information supporting forecasts was accurate and consistent. Simply put: OneStream offered the flexibility and added structure that Anaplan did not have. Diligent decided to implement OneStream in the cloud for financial consolidation and reporting, budgeting, planning, and forecasting.
Putting the Right Controls in Place
With multiple acquisitions being integrated at the same time, Diligent is constantly adding new entities and FX rates. But the availability and accuracy of information in OneStream has empowered Diligent to automate financial processes and streamline complicated intercompany eliminations. Since implementing OneStream, Diligent has reduced the monthly close cycle from 45 to 15 days. And now with statutory reporting in OneStream, fundamental calculations are automated, and the Finance team has clear visibility into the underlying data. OneStream has expedited the monthly close process and enabled more investments back into the business, given the increased accuracy of forecasts.
Significant Budget Cycle Improvements
In Anaplan, Diligent could only maintain three scenarios at a time. And now with OneStream, the confidence and level of detail supporting the forecast is noncomparable. The structure and standardization that OneStream provides enables Diligent to plan sales/revenue forecast at product and business unit levels by country and local currency. All forecasts leverage the same methodology, and drivers and assumptions are easily updated as information becomes available. Time spent on forecasting was cut in half, with monthly rolling forecasting, quarterly forecasting, and budget always being maintained at the same time.
Diligent has also replaced their manual headcount forecasting process in Excel® by leveraging People Planning from the OneStream MarketPlace™. A driver-based model provides the ability to customize calculations and assumptions based on the dimensionality defined. Diligent is performing more granular zero-based budgeting at the department, business, unit, country, vendor, and project level. The Finance organization is gaining better insight into the business and providing more value to stakeholders.
To learn more about Diligent’s success with OneStream, check out their case study article and contact OneStream to learn more about the benefits of replacing spreadsheets, legacy applications, and cloud-based point solutions such as Anaplan with an Intelligent Finance platform.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19 we’ve seen an increased buzz around zero-based budgeting (ZBB) as many organizations look to this budgeting framework to address market volatility and uncertainty caused by the pandemic. This environment offers the perfect opportunity to re-examine ZBB. How are organizations incorporating ZBB into their planning cycles? What technical enablers are helping them make this approach effective?
ZBB was developed to help organizations focus and prioritize their spend on the activities required to achieve business objectives. How? Instead of starting with the prior period spend as the baseline for new budgets, organizations start at zero for every cost category. From there, business leaders then determine what specific expenditures are required to achieve their financial and operational goals.
The market buzz around Zero-Based Budgeting (ZBB) has been rising in the past few years, with an increasing number of success stories, and some failures, in both the public and private sectors. ZBB is certainly not a new concept – having first emerged in 1969 at Texas Instruments, then adopted by the federal government as a way to reduce federal spending in the 1970’s. But what goes around usually comes around – so ZBB is back in fashion again here in the 21st century.