We have listed out frequently asked questions, but please get in touch to find out more.
Which systems can Planning Analytics integrate with?
The short answer is any and all. Perhaps most importantly, that allows us to incorporate and standardise data sourced from multiple systems. Users work off one combined data set giving one version off the truth.
IBM Planning Analytics offers a single solution for data sourcing and integration, a calculation engine, reporting capability and dashboarding. However, if you are already using a dashboarding tool (e.g. PowerBI, Qlik or Tableau), then we can provide a data set to send downstream.
Whilst a well built reporting solution will make much of your GL redundant, you will still need a tool to post journals and the GL will most likely remain as the firm’s core books and records. Full audit trails from GL to reporting tool are incorporated alongside automated reconciliations.
Cloud or On-Premise?
IBM Planning Analytics is available on either. Sensitive fields like Client Name can be made optional allowing users to choose whether to include in the data set or not.
What data do I need to provide?
If looking for a direct link to your platforms or GL, then our team will work with your IT team to automatically source the data. If looking towards more of an extract and load scenario, then IBM Planning Analytics allows for a number of different upload files (usually that would be CSV, but can also use TXT, CMA, ASC or TAB).
Each of our solution accelerators has a certain file structure for those upload files, however it is a very minor exercise to amend the import routines to fit the extracts you are currently receiving.
Depending on what you are trying to achieve, we also offer consultancy to improve your current extracts, for example to split flows by type. Part of that might be to look at what you would like to implement now versus a longer term target state. We have also worked with 3rd parties to ensure the MI received is controlled and fit for purpose.
How much IT support is required?
From a day-to-day perspective, it could be very little and this is a key selling point. Instead, much more focus is placed on user driven activity once up to speed with the tool. Users can view data, build reports and develop dashboards without the need for a central IT or change team.
From an infrastructure perspective, much depends on whether the cloud or on-premise option is taken. Our experience allows us to work with your IT department for the initial set-up and creating the required monitoring and control going forward.
How do I manage data security/access rights?
Security can be managed across all data sets, all dimensions and even down to the individual elements. As part of the matrix control structure, users’ access rights to either view or amend can be managed individually or as part of user groups. The decision on who manages user rights sits is determined by our client in accordance with corporate guidelines.
When should I define the business data structures?
One of the key benefits of our solution is data structuring, ensuring one version of the truth across the data set and across the organisation. Establishing the right data structure for cost centre, client or rate card for example can be a challenge and we recommend to work through this towards the beginning of the implementation. Changes can always be made, but it will set you on the right path towards stronger data governance. Actually adding the data structures to our solution is very straight forward.
Is the data good enough?
Our solution helps to highlight data issues much more quickly and effectively than a manual approach. For each issue identified, you are given a choice between correcting upstream or trying to address in our tool. We always prefer the upstream option for better governance, but we understand that is not always possible. A great benefit of our solution is the option of a quick implementation to give immediate data improvement points.
What is the best implementation approach?
Our solution is available in its entirety or through individual modules. Assuming that AUM reporting is the first requirement to address, you can add the financials, headcount, planning & forecasting and ICAAP solutions at a later stage. We can also offer the entire solution through stages allowing you to get a quick return on certain modules before progressing.
How quickly can the solution be implemented?
Our experience suggests that implementing an AUM Reporting tool takes many months, let alone the work required to integrate financial reporting and planning & forecasting capability. By comparison, our solution can be ready for user testing in a matter of weeks. As an example, if you choose the cloud option, your environment is very often ready for you the next day; and if you have already been working on your data structures, hierarchies and data sourcing, then you will be up and running very quickly.
We have consciously allowed for issues over data sourcing ensuring that amendments can be made without pushing out the timelines too far. However for some clients, there will on occasion be times where significant development is required. We have the advantage of industry experience and the technical expertise to deliver changes as quickly as possible, yet always ensuring that delivery is controlled and adheres to your requirements. We also have a toolset that is very flexible to each and every client.