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Srinivasan Sundara Rajan

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Planning, Budgeting and Forecasting as a Service

Industry SaaS Series - Part 9

SaaS / BpaaS Adoption
This is a continuation of my series of articles on Industry SaaS. This term ‘Industry SaaS' can be interchangeably used with BpaaS (Business Process as a Service). However, the term ‘Industry SaaS' meaning a Software as a Service meant for a specific industry is stressed for wider attention, as the term BpaaS has yet to mature with a clear definition.

Planning, Budgeting & Forecasting
Business Planning and Forecasting
refers to the set of activities where business is planned against the strategy and what forecast activities or results of the organization may occur from operational execution during a particular time period. The following are the functions of this business process.

  • Planning: To ensure that organization is able to align its activities towards the vision.
  • Budgeting: To ensure that proper resources are allocated to the planned activities.
  • Forecasting: To provide timely forecasts based upon operational and financial data.

The following are the attributes of a successful Planning, Budgeting and Forecasting System.

  • The system provides customization features such that variables for budgeting and forecasting generally different for different industries can be added and modified
  • As this process requires participation across enterprise from multiple stake holders, this application should facilitate a high level of collaboration across the enterprise
  • Due to the reason that it is a collaborative system, the system should facilitate role-based authorization, so that everyone is allowed to do the required level of activities
  • This application should facilitate integration with various other on-premise back office systems like financials system, labor management systems, etc.
  • As the reporting needs of this application vary across enterprises, this system should provide out-of-the-box ad hoc report-generation features
  • The analysis required for forecasting are complex and hence typically these application run on multi-dimensional OLAP engines
  • Most of the activities are analysis by users on "what If" Scenarios, and hence the application should allow multiple versions of scenarios and their applicability

Knowledge Management to the Cloud
The following are some of the points about why this Business Process (Planning, Budgeting And Forecasting) fits a Cloud Delivery model.

  • Typically this is a seasonal activity; most organizations will perform these activities during certain periods of the year and during that time there will be a lot of activity and later the activities will be relatively slow, so the on-demand utilization pattern of cloud is a perfect fit for this business process.
  • As the systems involve multi-dimensional OLAP engines, reporting servers, web servers and other processing servers, the setting up and provisioning of this business process is always perceived to be a difficult one for enterprises, hence any attempt to simplify the provisioning of this application as SaaS is useful to enterprises.
  • The reporting, workflow and the need to render to multiple formats like Excel, HTML, Mobile makes it a good fit for a common framework that can be enabled by a SaaS delivery model, rather than each enterprise building these core functionalities.
  • Some of the existing ‘on-premise' players of this business process, while they are robust, are notoriously known for high upgrade costs as the underlying technology has changed quite rapidly over time. Most enterprises suffered the high costs of upgrades and a SaaS model will look beneficial to them.
  • While this is a business process that is required for enterprises of all sizes, the medium and smaller enterprises may not have enough capital resources to run dedicated on-premise versions of the application and hence a cloud delivery model is preferred.

Players in Planning, Budgeting and Forecasting as a Service
Adaptive Planning
:

  • Adaptive Planning provides Budgeting, Planning and Forecasting solution as a SaaS-based service delivery model
  • This solution is multi-tenant, meaning it serve multiple customers, or tenants, from a central location. The customers are partitioned in a manner that prevents one from impacting another's operations or accessing another's information. Security is integrated into the service.
  • Adaptive Planning Connectors enable automated data import and export between Adaptive Planning and other enterprise systems, located both on-premise and in the cloud.
  • Adaptive Planning is licensed on a subscription basis, with prices based on the following:

o Edition

o Number of instances

o Duration of the contract

o Optional modules

o Number of seats licensed

o Type of seats licensed

Summary
As mentioned in the beginning portions of this series of articles, the aim is to identify the areas within the ‘ enterprise business process life cycle ‘ that can be served using a SaaS/BpaaS Model.

As we started this series on SaaS, BpaaS offerings it is encouraging to see more players in the space. . We request the enterprises to contact these providers directly and evaluate them as per their processes.

Already the below articles have been created under this scope:

It is always difficult to cover every other offering under Budgeting, Planning And Forecasting as a service in one article, also as mentioned the aim is not to rank the providers, if any other important offering under this service is missed out please write to me for covering them in the coming articles.

Please feel free to discuss about any other offering in BpaaS / Industry SaaS space in my group, ‘Industry SaaS (AKA BpaaS) Directory & Interoperability' on Linkedin http://www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=4189060

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Highly passionate about utilizing Digital Technologies to enable next generation enterprise. Believes in enterprise transformation through the Natives (Cloud Native & Mobile Native).