When it comes to entering data whether it is sales forecast or IT budget, we usually enter the data into spreadsheet software like Excel or Google Docs.
The other day, a friend of mine asked if I know of any alternative to using Excel for budgeting and forecasting purposes.
Every beginning of the month, when it was time to generate a budget and sales forecast report for the higher management, his IT staff would panic because they had to consolidate many Excel spreadsheet data submitted by various branches from all over the country.
Having to open up Excel documents, then copying and pasting the data into a master Excel sheet can be very tedious. Imagine if they have 100 branches, the IT personnel needs to open up 100 documents. Never mind the work being tedious, it’s vital that he consolidates the data without any error. Otherwise, the stakeholders could be looking at inaccurate information simply because an IT staff had to work on too many Excel spreadsheets.
He asked if I know of any web-based spreadsheet software which works just like Excel and allows the data to be entered directly by the users themselves into a database once data is entered, the data can be analyzed by analysts and reports can be generated for the bosses.
I told him to check out this solution by Adaptive Planning – budgeting, forecasting & reporting made easy.
With Adaptive Planning, organizations can now have a better and more efficient way to create budgets, forecasts and reports.
It is SaaS-based software, so we’re talking about the solution being web-based and on-demand, even your staff who telecommute can participate.
Within Adaptive Planning are 4 main modules which include:
- Modeling and Administration
- Budgeting and Forecasting
- Reporting and Dashboards
- Private Team Collaboration Spaces
With these main modules, these are some features I like:
- Automated Consolidation (Yes! No more cut and paste)
- Multi-Dimensional Data Collection
- Dynamic Formulas
- Drill Down
- Drag & Drop Report Builder
Some sample screenshots:
Budgeting and ForeCasting
Reporting and Dashboards
Adaptive Planning comes in 3 different editions:
- Express Edition
- Corporate Edition
- Enterprise Edition
The Express Edition catches my attention because it allows us to download and use it for free. This edition is designed for small companies and provides basic functions such as collaborative budgeting, and forecasting which supports basic expense and revenue planning.
Another thing that needs mentioning has to be its pre-recorded training programs. If you’re someone who doesn’t like to read a lot of text, just like me, head on over to the training programs page where you’ll find fast-loading videos on what Adaptive Planning is all above. One video that I would recommend you to watch first has to be Adaptive Planning vs Excel.
So for those of you who are still cutting and pasting, and consolidating spreadsheet data, stop doing that and check out Adaptive Planning, the alternative to using Excel for budgeting and forecasting, right now.
Also check out xlplanning, their website is xlplanning.com – it is very simple to implement and easy to use.
Adaptive Planning is great, but for a simpler method of forecasting, try 60mo (http://60mo.com), it’s web-based and easy-to-use.