Hyperion Planning: A Better Choice Than Excel-based Planning

Posted by Michele Morrill

Dec 11, 2015 2:52:18 PM

Excel based Planning vs. Hyperion Planning

A “day in the life” of an Excel-based planning and consolidation process resembles “spreadsheet hell”. It happens when finance teams are constantly sending and receiving files, trying to collate data, and assembling reports for management. Hyperion Planning can alleviate the headaches and unite your team.

Challenges with an Excel-based process include:

  • Lack of security and control: Excel files can be modified by anyone, resulting in a lack of central control over the process. Unless password-protected, templates can be modified by the end-users to suit their individual needs. Additionally, Excel templates must be prepared individually for each department – especially if sensitive payroll data is involved.

  • Lack of standardization: Multiple templates mean multiple points of modification. This enables end users to develop metrics in any way that they want to report them, instead of standardizing around an approved format. For example, it is extremely difficult to ensure that end users employ the same assumptions to drive their budgets, or to ensure that all are using the correct input template to enter their budget.

  • Lack of version control and approval process: Very few organizations have a “one-and-done” budgeting and forecasting process where they develop a budget on the first attempt. Typically, budgets go through multiple iterations and approvals before they are finalized, and this is difficult to facilitate with Excel.

Improve Visibility and Control with Hyperion Planning

By not modernizing how your team approaches planning and budgeting will result in a process that lacks control, provides little visibility, and may not provide accurate information on which to base business decisions.

Strafford has helped hundreds of organizations operating in a variety of industries convert their Excel-based planning and budgeting processes to Oracle Hyperion Planning. While Excel is an excellent tool to initiate a budgeting process where one doesn’t exist, organizations eventually discover that it isn’t as scalable and robust as they would like.

Hyperion Planning alleviates these problems by providing a central finance platform on which to base a budgeting and planning process. It is a web-based application that serves as a centralized repository for all data, metadata, input forms, and reports. All application elements are wrapped in a security structure defined by the administrator that allows for role-based provisioning.

Due to tremendous growth, Parkland Fuel sought to replace an Excel-based data loading and metadata management solution with a modern ETL solution. Here's there story >

Some of the benefits of converting an Excel-based process with an on-premises solutions such as Hyperion Planning, or to a cloud-based planning tool such as Oracle PBCS include: 

  • Single source of information: All enterprise data is stored in a centralized repository, removing the need to collect and compare different versions of a spreadsheet. Changes to input templates are deployed instantaneously, drivers and assumptions are consistent across the organization, and data can be consolidated with ease.

  • Provides exceptional management insight: As a centralized system, Hyperion Planning provides management insight into the planning and budgeting process. A finance manager can now observe the budget being developed and make decisions based on that understanding.

  • Offers features and functionality not available with Excel: Oracle solutions allow for the creation of multiple scenarios to model varying assumptions and control different versions of the budget, and provides boardroom-quality reporting through the Financial Reporting tool.

While Excel has limitations in the planning and budgeting process, it has many features that are tried and true favorites in the Finance community. Hyperion provides an Excel plugin, Smart View, that merges the robust features of Planning with the intuitive Excel interface. The tool allows for quick user adoption and fast deployment times.

Thinking of moving your Excel-based processes to an on-premises or cloud-based financial solution? Strafford can help you get there. We have been handling Hyperion implementations and upgrades for over 20 years and will bring your project in on-time and on-budget.

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Topics: Budgeting and Forecasting, Hyperion Planning, Oracle PBCS, Finance Best Practices