Five Features to Seek When Shopping for a Scenario Modelling Tool

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Most of the time, you’re discouraged from dwelling on “what ifs.” Thinking about things that may never happen is considered fruitless and unnecessarily stressful. But when you work in finance, it’s a different story. Thinking about what ifs is actually key to a successful budgeting and planning process.

With the rate of change in the market, opportunities and threats appear quickly, and then they are gone. Organizations need the ability to efficiently plan for uncertainty and respond to these fluctuations in the market. Integrating the ability to quickly evaluate a wide range of scenarios with multiple variables into the planning process is essential to this. What if modeling gives you the ability to not just have a plan A, but also to evaluate plan B, plan C, plan D, and more.

“What If” Scenario Planning is an Essential Modern Finance Capability

A recent FSN survey found that the effective use of scenario planning enables organizations to respond quickly and confidently during times of extreme change. In fact, 77 percent of organizations that find the time to consider what if scenarios can reforecast earnings within a week. Scenario planning also adds to the accuracy of forecasting, with 54 percent of scenario planners able to forecast to within plus or minus five percent of earnings and revenue.

What if scenario modeling is a huge asset for organizations seeking a stronger foundation for executive decisions. Performing effective, timely, and relevant what if analysis is critical for larger organizations to enable controlled growth. However, manual spreadsheet-based what if analysis is slow, error-prone, and unable to scale. Due to their complexity and susceptibility to manual entry errors, creating agile scenario plans and rolling forecasts is simply not feasible in spreadsheets.

The Right Software Can Make “What If” Modeling Easy

In addition to modeling scenarios to plan for uncertainty in the near-term, many business leaders use what if scenarios to plan for the long-term, leveraging scenario modeling to extend their view beyond the typical one-year planning horizon, and even beyond the three-to-five-year strategic planning window. However, managing a library of spreadsheet-based scenario planning models to support a cohesive long-term view of the future can quickly become unwieldy. The huge complexity of spreadsheet-based what if analysis makes the process slow, cumbersome, and unable to respond adequately to the increasing rate of change experienced by organizations today. To best take advantage of what if modeling, you need to have a strong budgeting and planning software in place.

You have a lot of software solutions to choose from for planning and budgeting. You can use the native tools in your enterprise resource planning tool (ERP), but these often provide limited flexibility and require a considerable amount of manual effort. The most efficient way to facilitate optimal planning and budgeting, including what if scenario planning, is to supplement your ERP with an enterprise performance management tool (EPM).

As with ERPs, there are a number of EPM options available to choose from, and each has unique strengths that it brings to the table. Here are some crucial features that you must include when shopping for the right planning solution:

Connects to multiple data sources in real-time
Enables remote collaboration with planning process participants
Allows your team to quickly build new reports
Out of the box content to let your team hit the ground running
Automated workflows
Full audit trails

How Bizview Gives You Greater Agility in Planning, Budgeting, and Forecasting

Bizview is insightsoftware’s robust, web-based planning solution. Companies that use Bizview can increase planning cadences, facilitate collaboration, and simplify processes to drive smarter decisions from more accurate data. Easy configuration of planning forms, reports and dashboards, and automated workflow tools make it easy to extend planning beyond finance. Bizview’s familiar spreadsheet-like interface offers anytime, anywhere data access on any device, without having to manage multiple spreadsheets and versions. Out-of-the-box content and connectors for all leading ERP systems allow for rapid implementation and ensure quick time to value.

How does this help with what if analysis? Your what if analysis data inputs are likely in multiple different systems, which are difficult to connect, but Bizview can pull planning data in from multiple systems and easily integrate, so you have the right data at hand for analysis. Bizview simplifies the planning and scenario modeling process with powerful workflows, automated emails, and multi-level approvals for collaboration with your team. With Bizview, you can quickly and easily create unlimited scenarios, ensuring better decision-making throughout the year.

Agility has become the watchword of the last few years. The ability to reforecast quickly and accurately is crucial to responding to highly changeable market conditions. If you are looking for a way to better prepare for an uncertain future with collaborative and connected planning and modeling tools, contact insightsoftware to discuss your scenario modeling strategies and arrange a free demo.

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The post Five Features to Seek When Shopping for a Scenario Modelling Tool appeared first on insightsoftware.

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