Understanding the Collaborative Planning Basics

February 21, 2024
2 min

Understanding the Collaborative Planning Basics

The fact that nearly a billion people use spreadsheets is proof of how great they are. Spreadsheets are frequently difficult to replace with more sophisticated systems because of their easy accessibility and low cost. However, as businesses expand, so does the need to scrutinize more dimensions of the business, collaborate across teams, and manage larger and more complex data. At this point, spreadsheets are no longer sufficient for doing effective and efficient business planning. These are the key reasons why.

  • Two-Dimensional Constraint: Spreadsheets are limited to two dimensions (rows and columns), forcing users to manipulate data in ways not originally intended, especially when dealing with multiple influencing factors such as departments, market segments, geographies, product lines, and more.
  • Difficulty in Collaboration: As companies expand, sharing and collaborating on spreadsheet-based models become complicated. Aggregating inputs from multiple contributors through various files or tabs leads to potential errors, data overwriting, and formula issues.
  • Limited Scalability: Early-stage companies may find spreadsheets sufficient, but as dimensions and values increase, the size of spreadsheets grows exponentially. This results in longer response times and even crashes, impacting user experience.
  • Inefficient Planning: Given the constraints of spreadsheets, their inefficiency becomes apparent in more complex business planning scenarios. They lack the ability to accommodate numerous dimensions and billions of calculations that modern businesses require.

Improvements in computing and networking power mean companies who want to gain a competitive edge can replace their spreadsheets with a planning platform. These planning platforms come in a variety of forms. The following are the essential ingredients for a planning software solution to be an acceptable evolution from spreadsheets.

  • Innovative Algorithms: Planning software uses intelligent algorithms to optimize calculations and resource usage.
  • Ease of Transition: The new planning software should be easy for existing spreadsheet users to learn and adopt, minimizing the need for expensive external consultants.
  • Integrated Planning: Modern platforms integrate data from various departments into a single cohesive plan.
  • Scalability: Planning software can handle the increasing demands of complex business models and calculations.
  • End-to-End Planning: Unlike point solutions, these platforms provide a unified system for planning across departments and functions.
  • Customizable Collaboration: Collaborative features allow customized sharing of data based on user roles, preventing data overload and ensuring security.

While traditional spreadsheets are great for simple tasks, their limitations become apparent as businesses expand and require multidimensional analysis and collaboration. Collaborative planning platforms offer intelligent scalability, streamlined usability, and end-to-end planning capabilities to overcome these drawbacks. With the need for multidimensional insights and collaborative input in modern business planning, these platforms provide a secure, efficient, and accurate solution for companies looking to enhance their planning processes.

Read the full Understanding the Collaborative Planning Basics chapter in The Definitive Guide to Collaborative Multi-Dimensional Planning and Modeling eBook and find out how Finicast can help your company today by contacting us today.

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