Third party budgeting software vendors are competing to make their Sage X3 add-ons more powerful, more secure, and easier to use. This article will explore what to look for in today’s best budgeting solutions for Sage X3.
I’m just going to cut to the chase: for most people, budgeting is a dreaded task because it can be logistically messy, tedious due to the traditional process of manually linking together spreadsheets, but your outlook will drastically improve with modern budgeting and forecasting tools, by independent software vendors (ISVs). If you’re a company of a healthy size, you’re likely outgrowing manual Excel budgets, so take note of third party planning tools to accelerate and improve your process. Today’s best budgeting solutions invite you to facilitate secure collaboration, offering ownership to contributors and less tedium as a budget manager.
Planning processes typically require more than one person to contribute for the finished product. Budgeting entails comparing historical actuals with research for projections. Excel is trusted and utilized around the world, but it can be tedious when involving multiple players in the collaborative process of planning. A lot of finance departments are still using Excel, while some have implemented Sage Budgeting & Planning, so an investment in an ISV solution beyond their licenses, might seem like a cost that can be avoided. This article will discuss the list of benefits associated with deploying a third party budgeting solution for an improved Sage X3 experience.
ISV planning solution implementations have become more prominent recently, likely because of the secure, but flexible abilities to collaborate for all contributors involved. Moreover, some budgeting solutions are Excel-powered, some are web-based, and some are driven by both the familiarity of the spreadsheet program and the accessibility of the web. The premier ISV budgeting tools also incorporate accounting logic with the business end user in mind, with easy-to-configure automation and reuse of templates.
Third party software vendors have heard consumer needs for a secure and logistically streamlined experience. Some budgeting tools allow budget managers to give department supervisors ownership of the budget they have to manage, without back-and-forth e-mails with potentially heavy spreadsheet attachments or tedious linking together of disparate spreadsheets. The budget manager can then oversee a complete, cohesive, and collaborative budget. And it’s not too good to be true – your return on investment will not just be money, but time and energy as well.
When it comes to investment in a modern, dynamic budgeting solution, you will see results in terms of money, time, and staff morale. But maybe you’re wondering: what should I looking for as I start shopping for a budgeting solution to upgrade their Sage X3 budgeting experience? Main considerations include Excel, proprietary, and/or web platforms, integrating from data storage sources, and budgeting as an option within a fully integrated, comprehensive suite of Business Intelligence (BI) tools.
We have established the power associated with the familiarity and flexibility of Excel formatting with the finance professional community, but Excel add-in products take the product up a notch for budgeting processes. More specifically, Excel add-in solutions empower you to securely collaborate on reusable budgets with more powerful, more dynamic functionality. Alternatively, proprietary interfaces are also an option.
Some ISVs are asserting that Excel is a logistical mess for planning, and these companies are offering their own propriety platforms, with some being Windows-based tools and some web-based products. With an interface that doesn’t have Excel formatting, users have to learn a whole new set of formulas and coding in order to create budgets. In the context of learning the product, Excel add-ins are going to be cheaper and easier for most finance teams to embrace. Then, there are also web-based products to consider.
As I’m sure you’re aware, the web is the present and future for the software world. Web budgeting is a newer offering, but can be built with Excel formatting or with a proprietary interface. If you work for a company that has a lot of users, it is simply cheaper to go the web budgeting route, in terms of licensing, but beyond that, the flexibility of access from anywhere you have an internet connection is probably the most appealing aspect of this option. I would recommend going with a web-based solution that offers Excel formatting as a way to combine the best of both worlds: familiarity with flexibility. Beyond that, you’re going to want to consider key capabilities.
Not every product can be perfect for every consumer, but you should be looking for some foundational features. You will want the capability to compare actuals with projections side by side, spread totals across a year, easily add multiple line items for accounts, produce roll-ups, reconcile multiple currencies, build reusable templates, view authorship, utilize what-if scenarios for potential fluctuations in your budget, and employ parameters like Department, Division, and Entity. More powerful tools will invite you to go beyond the General Ledger, with deeper analysis and planning. All of this ability is the present and future, but ease of use has to be the number one priority.
This blog has covered both sides of integrating with an Online Analytical Processing (OLAP) cubes versus data warehouses, but whatever you decide on should be business user friendly for your team. Do you have personnel with the right skill set to manage an OLAP cube? Will you need a data warehouse due to the diversity of your data types? Should you have other BI goals, how does a particular budgeting tool fit into that vision?
Some planning solutions are a part of a larger, comprehensive suite of BI tools, completely integrated for a singular approach to associated, but separate analytics. If you manage other BI processes, like financial reporting, dashboards, financial consolidations, or maintaining data in a warehouse, whether you do it now or as part of a plan for the future, you should look at solutions that are positioned within a BI suite. In terms of ease of use, you can then deal with one manufacturer, consultant, reseller, and support team. Solver offers Excel and web budgeting stand-alone solutions or as part of the comprehensive suite of BI360 modules and would be happy to answer questions and generally review BI360’s easy-to-use Planning solution for collaborative, streamlined decision-making capabilities with Sage X3.