What’s the most important factor to you when choosing planning and performance management software? Ease of use? Planning functionality? Business value? Maybe all three. Or maybe you’ve got a long list of factors. Well, even if you have a very long list, it’s a good bet that IBM Planning Analytics has got you covered.
BARC Planning Survey 18 results
Analysts at the Business Application Research Center (BARC) recently released The Planning Survey 18, their annual report based on “the world‘s largest survey of planning software users.” And IBM Planning Analytics was “Top-ranked” in 25 key performance indicators (KPIs) and named a “Leader” in 13 more. (That’s 38 total, but who’s counting.)
BARC is a leading software industry analyst and consulting firm. Their annual survey “examines user feedback on planning product selection and usage.” Those surveyed gave IBM Planning Analytics high marks in many of the categories that matter most to finance users and other business professionals — categories like ease of use, planning functionality and business value, as well as user experience, scenario analysis and many others.
Check out this video to see highlights of the results and learn how the survey was conducted, then read on for more details.
A planning solution for everyone
The BARC report authors described the solution as a “flexible, feature-rich planning and OLAP analysis product, based on a high performance and scalable in-memory [IBM TM1] technology.” They noted that IBM Planning Analytics is used by “enterprises of all sizes and industry sectors,” and added that “hundreds of solutions — from small-scale departmental tools to installations with thousands of users — have been implemented worldwide.”
One factor that most appealed to users was the availability of a Microsoft Excel interface. The report said, “the Excel-based approach understandably attracts business users, who often take an instant liking to the product.”
It doesn’t get much better than “instant liking.” But here is a sample of what else the BARC analysts — and software users — had to say about IBM Planning Analytics and how it performed in the categories mentioned above.
- Ease of use
In the Enterprise Software Vendors peer group, IBM Planning Analytics was Top-ranked for Ease of use, thanks in part to the solution’s “easy-to-use capabilities for creating content (e.g., modeling, templates) in a familiar environment.” Citing the benefits of the Excel front end, they added that, “with its Excel user interface, customers confirm that Planning Analytics is easy to use compared to other enterprise software vendors’ planning tools.”
- Planning functionality
Noting the solution’s flexibility in a variety of finance and operational tasks, the report said, “for building individual, complex business logic for planning applications, Planning Analytics provides functionality for various planning tasks and use cases.” They added, “Both centralized top-down and decentralized bottom-up planning scenarios can be implemented with the company’s own flexible multidimensional in-memory database in a familiar spreadsheet environment.”
- Business value
The proof of the pudding, to borrow an old phrase, is in the business value. In regard to that, the BARC report said, “Compared to its rivals . . . the level of implementation satisfaction as well as the frequency of projects completed on time and on budget is high. . . . Business benefits often achieved with Planning Analytics include increased transparency of planning, improved integration of planning with reporting/analysis and more precise/detailed planning leading to a better quality of planning results.”
- User experience
The survey’s User Experience metric combines several other KPIs, including Performance Satisfaction, Flexibility, and Self-service. The report said that “Good results in many of these KPIs place Planning Analytics clear of its rivals in three of its peer groups.” They added, “As a flexible planning and OLAP analysis product, Planning Analytics can be used to address several use cases in a range of industry sectors. Coupled with easy-to-use Excel-based functionality, Planning Analytics clearly wins over many of its customers.”
- Simulation & scenario analysis
With its IBM TM1-based calculation engine, IBM Planning Analytics has always been strong in what-if scenario modeling. So it was no surprise that the BARC report said “Simulation and scenario analysis are a strength of Planning Analytics.” The solution “ranks top for ‘Simulation & scenario analysis’ in all of its peer groups.” The report also highlighted how the solution’s “sandbox” capability for modeling scenarios benefits users: “Sandboxes are available in all Planning Analytics clients . . . Multiple sandboxes can be stored and restarted as required.”
Get the full BARC report
These are just the highlights. You can find out more about these and the other “Top-ranked” and “Leader” rankings by reading the rest of BARC’s Planning Survey 2018.