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Does Your Company Need Adaptive Insights Software Now?
You have probably heard of Adaptive Insights by now. Or perhaps someone in your finance department or another department that you support has asked, “When can we implement Adaptive?” Here at Bridgepoint Consulting, we get that question from our clients quite often. As one of the leading cloud-based financial planning, analysis and reporting software-as-a-service (SaaS) offerings, Adaptive Insights is often on the short-list of middle-market companies, and has transcended into the common vernacular of finance and accounting professionals. So, we thought it would be helpful to take a closer look into three reasons why or why not Adaptive Insights may be the right fit for your business. In our experience, these reasons also generally apply to other leading cloud-based financial planning, budgeting and analysis systems that you may be considering.
In a nutshell, here’s a high-level summary of our findings.
3 Reasons Why You May Need Adaptive Now
Your Budgets and Forecasts Require Input from a Distributed Workforce
One of the strongest reasons to implement Adaptive Insights is leveraging the cloud platform to aggregate input from many different employees in your organization. Adaptive can also be set-up to be easily updated by non-finance employees.
- If your forecast process requires that you capture revenue and expense inputs from different project owners that work in different time zones around the world, Adaptive is a great tool. It saves your finance department from having dozens of separate online, phone or ‘email’ meetings late into the night to capture and confirm the owners’ different inputs. Additionally, Adaptive allows distributed budget owners to log in from their respective remote locations.
- Adaptive has a robust security function to limit what users can see and edit. In relation to the example above, Adaptive’s security function will only allow project owners to see and edit projects relevant to them. This prevents the classic error of distributing an Excel workbook to gather input that accidentally includes employee compensation data.
This first reason to consider Adaptive is usually the “make-or-break” justification for implementing the software. For larger organizations with a distributed workforce, having a cloud-based tool that allows for more efficient data aggregation is almost a must in today’s fast-paced financial world with shorter forecast and budget cycles. The next two reasons to consider Adaptive, while important, can be addressed without a cloud platform, but are much easier to address with one.
You Need Better Version Control
Another reason to consider Adaptive is when you sense that you have a need for better version control. There are a few reasons why you may be experiencing this:
- First, if you sense that your finance team is spending an inordinate amount of time comparing versions to understand what changed, and updating each version when a new set of actuals is available, you should consider Adaptive. Adaptive can help simplify this process by tracking changes using its audit feature. Also, when actuals are updated, it makes updates in all versions simultaneously.
- Second, if you have a large finance team that shares a common finance drive, your organization is at risk for accidentally deleting or over-writing a key version. This can cause a major set-back in delivering a forecast or budget on-time. Adaptive is especially helpful since only assigned users can delete or add a version.
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You Need Faster Reporting
Who wants faster reporting? The better question is, “Who doesn’t?” This especially pertains to public companies or larger private companies that spend a lot of time incorporating their ERP system’s actuals into their financial reports when anxious investors are waiting. Additionally, if the next monthly close cycle is starting by the time you are releasing your financial reports, a close look at what is causing the holdup is recommended. Usually, for a company that is still relying on Excel 100%, part of the cause is re-work due to transcribing actuals into reports.
Fortunately, if your team is spending too much time transcribing actuals into their set of Excel-based workbooks for financial/operational reporting, Adaptive can help.
- First, Adaptive connects to your ERP system. When the month is closed and a new set of actuals is available, Adaptive can ‘pull’ the new actuals into your forecasts or budgets automatically (Alternatively, your Adaptive admin can ‘push’ the results when he/she chooses to do so).
- Second, Adaptive has a great tool called Office Connect that can help populate your ERP actuals in any Excel sheet that your team is working on. The software ‘connects’ your actuals to the familiar Excel sheets your team knows and loves – saving a great deal of time and improving accuracy.
3 Reasons Why You May Want to Wait
1. Your Business Model is in Transition
Adaptive Insights, like any other cloud-based platform, takes time and money to implement. Once implemented, there is a direct correlation to variations in how the business functions, and the time and money needed to realign Adaptive to your business’s new structure. The bigger the change in business structure, such as in the Chart of Accounts, new revenue streams from new products or services, a major consolidation of departments, etc., the more time and money it will take to realign. If your company hasn’t nailed down who they are and how they make money, you may not be ready for Adaptive.
2. You Don’t Have a Proven Track Record with Forecasting
If a company has not been able to rely upon the same forecasting model for at least two rounds of forecasting, you may not ready for Adaptive. Your existing forecasting model is your best design for what will be built in Adaptive. In other words, your existing models are your blueprint for Adaptive.
- If your team is frequently reworking their forecast or budget models, you probably have not found the ‘right technique’ yet to efficiently forecast the company accurately. If either of these scenarios applies to your business, now is not the right time to start spending money on implementing Adaptive, and a further assessment is recommended.
- Additionally, inaccurate forecasts, whether from poor data or poor forecasting methods, or a combination of each, is a sign that something is amiss in your team’s approach. These fallacies will continue in a cloud-based system until the fundamental reasons are addressed. Implementing Adaptive to correct for this would essentially be compounding the existing problem. If your team’s forecasts are off, start by taking the time to study why.
3. You Lack Internal Champions
In our experience, when a company implements Adaptive, it is highly recommended that they assign an internal project manager to the project. This project manager can be an internal employee or hired from a third-party implementer. Their role is to ensure the implementer (either Adaptive or the third-party), as well as your own team, stays on task and executes with quality.
In addition to a project manager, it is even more critical to assign an internal champion. This employee serve as the primary link that keeps the information flowing, and should have the bandwidth to own the Adaptive instance after implementation is finished. The internal champion helps to promote the ongoing usage and compliance with the usage of the software across the organization. Their objective is to ensure that all of the features the company paid to implement are being leveraged effectively. In many cases, these employees are likely be assigned to be the administrator of the software or can also be the project manager, if they have the strong project management skills. Without internal champion(s) constantly engaged from day one, you will be relying on the implementer or the project manager, who may or may not have been fully engaged with the business during the time since the initial implementation took place.
BRINGING IT ALL TOGETHER
Due to its success and popularity, your company may feel somewhat ‘behind the curve’ by not having Adaptive Insights already installed, and that’s understandable. As we have shared in this article, there are valid reasons why your company should seriously consider Adaptive now, and equally as valid reasons why you should resist the temptation to jump on the bandwagon.
AT A GLANCE RECAP
Below are a few critical considerations to keep in mind when deciding whether or not to implement Adaptive Insights.
Reasons Why You May Need Adaptive Now
- Your finance team captures financial inputs from several departments or project owners that may also work remotely
- Your budgets/forecasts require the suppression of certain information
- Both internal (private) and external (public) versions are created each time
- Your team is spending more time managing versions than actually forecasting
- You have a large team that all shares one finance drive or forecast folder
Reasons Why You May Want to Wait
- Your business model is in transition
- Your company may undergo a major reorganization in the next six months
- Your forecast or budget process feels more like a one-off ‘project’ than a repeatable process
- Your company lacks the bandwidth to project manage or maintain Adaptive
Bridgepoint Consulting can help your company decide whether to deploy now by assessing your current financial planning, analysis and reporting capabilities. When the time is right, we can also help your company transition from Excel-based planning to a cloud-based planning solution. Explore our Financial Consulting services or get in touch today for a free consultation.
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