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Legacy Planning Tools Hampering Uk Organisations’ Ability to Manage and Forecast Budgets, Finds Research

CIMA research commissioned by Adaptive Insights finds that while just two percent of respondents have fully automated planning processes, 81 percent were open to cloud alternatives

Adaptive Insights, the worldwide leader in cloud business analytics for the biggest brands and the hottest companies, today announced its research into the utilisation of cloud-based planning and forecasting. The research showed that despite the time-consuming drawbacks and drill-down failings of existing business systems, the majority of organisations are still using outdated and restrictive spreadsheet tools; demonstrating a clear disconnect between business pain points and solution adoption.

The survey of 247 companies with more than 100 employees in the UK and Ireland, was commissioned by Adaptive Insights and conducted by the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA). It found that 50 percent of respondents rely entirely on spreadsheets, 67 percent don’t use any cloud or SaaS applications to support CRM and ERP, and the vast majority, 98 percent, are without fully automated planning and reporting processes.

Businesses are suffering from the pitfalls of these legacy systems. For example, nearly half of respondents (46 percent) spend three to five days formulating reports, despite it taking just a matter of hours with cloud-based business analytics solutions. Also, 40 percent find it either ‘very difficult’ or ‘not easy at all’ to drill down into data and visualise in graphs and charts, and nearly half (49 percent) are dissatisfied with the speed and accuracy of current budgeting and forecasting. The 81 percent of respondents which said they had an appetite for adopting a cloud based alternative for existing business systems may offer a chance for improvement.

“This latest CIMA research shows something of a perfect storm; as the dissatisfaction with legacy planning systems is engendering a greater interest in more collaborative, cloud-based planning solutions,” said Ian Preston, VP Sales for UK & Ireland at Adaptive Insights. “While the familiarity of spreadsheets may seem convenient, there are so many more capabilities that finance professionals need to have to hand. Spreadsheets are poor for collaboration and riddled with errors, making them an inadequate vehicle for structured planning.”

“However, companies are increasingly demanding that finance steps up to playing a wider role in business operations. FP & A managers need to evaluate different business scenarios and identify better opportunities, rather than spending all their time inputting data and formulating reports. With the right tools at their fingertips – such as what-if scenarios, driver based planning and rolling forecasts that, take the guess work out of planning – they can become the enablers behind the ideas that give a business a competitive edge; ensuring awareness of both potential gain and risk,” concluded Preston.