Onboarding a new Budgeting, Forecasting and Business Intelligence System

What to do to ease-in the new process

I just finished reading an article by Rob Livingstone titled “BP&F (Budgeting, Planning and Forecasting) software budget manager training tips”.  This is available to registered users (free registration) at: http://searchfinancialapplications.com.

After registering, the article can be found at: http://searchfinancialapplications.techtarget.com/answer/Ask-the-expert-BPF-software-budget-manager-training-tips

The focus of this article are the four steps needed to be taken in order to successfully onboard a new budgeting, planning and forecasting system and the importance of getting the budget managers and other employees participating in this process acclimated and feeling comfortable with managing the process.

When it comes to implementing a practical budgeting, forecasting and business intelligence solution, especially in a small to medium size organization, having the right persons on board, with sufficient experience and willingness to succeed in the initial implementation is extremely important.  However, having the right system in place is just as important and will often encourage a less experienced team to quickly learn and adapt the software to the particular organization’s needs.

I’ve had the opportunity of working with various software applications, some of which where not intuitive to implement and maintain, where training of employees and budget administrators was lengthy and costly, always dependent on outside consulting, and with constant programming and reprogramming of even the most mundane changes.

On the other hand, my experience with an application such as Budget Maestro from Centage Corporation (www.centage.com) proved the opposite to be true.  Because of the way this software application was designed, implementation is short and generally inexpensive.  The modular approach lends itself to different persons contributing budget elements in specific modules (e.g., revenue and cost, operating expenses, personnel, assets, debt, etc.).

Consolidations of the various budget pieces within the business entities, regardless of model complexity, is completely automated and with no user programming.

The driver based system with built-in business rules where persons choose from menus and drop-down lists without entering a single formula or link makes the whole process very intuitive with a much shorter learning curve than all other systems I’ve worked with.

To that add the integrated, built-in financial statements, again without any programming, and there is little wonder why so many small and medium size organizations have been successful in implementing this software with such modest cost and minimal training.

My advice to any organization looking to implement a planning, forecasting and business intelligence solution is to look for a system that can quickly go live with minimal training and that can be internally maintained without programming and complex change management processes.

When budget managers experience an easy and intuitive onboarding process, the effort of obtaining results and the regular maintenance will seem less of a chore and will ensure greater accuracy and willingness to use the process for its intended process, which is gaining insight into the future financial health of the organization and providing management with the tools to make informed decisions along the way in order to align current operations with original or modified goals.

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