This is the fourth blog in our series regarding Forecasting, Budgeting and Planning processes as we experience them at our customers and how these processes can be done in a different way.
As we stated earlier Kaya has selected Board International as her preferred CPM/EPM tool. In this blog we will elaborate on the reasons why Board International (hereafter called Board) is our preferred tool and why Kaya became implementation partner of this tool.
As mentioned in our previous blog following functionality can be expected in a typical CPM-tool:
● Financial budgeting and planning
● Integrated financial planning
● Financial forecasting and modelling
● Management and performance reporting
● Financial consolidation
● Financial reporting
● Reconciliation management
● Close management
● Intercompany transactions
● Disclosure management
There is some overlap with functionality of Dynamics AX/365 for F&S (for instance financial consolidation, reconciliation management and intercompany transactions). However as it turned out, and what we hoped for, functionality is in various areas richer or more flexible than the functionality of the Microsoft ERP stack and CPM tools are focussing on analysis/reporting of data.
As mentioned before all CPM tools we compared where measured against below criteria
● To what extent is above functionality present in the solution
● To what extent adds the tool functionality for a user also using Dynamics AX/365 (functionality which is good in Dynamics AX/365 doesn’t have to be present or can be somewhat mediocre)
● How user friendly is the solution
● To what extent is coding necessary to implement the solution
● Can a power user/key user extent the solution if and when needed
● Link/interfacing with Microsoft products, like Microsoft Office (Excel)
● Can data easily imported in /exported from the solution
● How is maintenance organized
Strengths and capabilities of Board
As Board is a complete CPM-tool we don’t go in all the details below, we will only focus on key capabilities that really caught our attention.
The Board solution comprises of one (Cloud)platform which covers all functionality listed above. As mentioned some functionality is not necessarily needed alongside Dynamics AX/365 but it is good the functionality is present. We found that various other CPM solutions consisted of different modules that had to linked/configures/installed in order to be able to work as “one” solution.
The reporting capabilities of Board are extensive and sufficient to cover all reporting needs as mentioned above. In case an organization already uses Microsoft PowerBI in connection with Dynamics AX/365 there is no need to use Board instead for reporting, but Board can supply comparable reports.
A very nice feature of Board is the Office add-on. This ensures that end users still can use Excel to upload data to Board. However the add-on ensures that only relevant fields can be changed/updated by users, so the possibility to create multiple truths by end users is delimited in this way. Also data from Board can be used in Powerpoint and Word. This gives the opportunity to create in a very fast way reporting at the end of a fiscal period (literally with the press of a button).
Configuring of financial models and creating apps (in Board term capsules) can be done without coding. This ensures that key-users at customers can create and extend apps themselves and are not, or at least very limited, dependent on their implementation partner for the implementing and maintaining of their Board solution. This also means that there is not one solution to be used by every customer but a solution tailored upon the (changing) needs of an organization.
As a result of the above, an implementation of Board is an Agile undertaking. Prior to the start of an implementation a customer, or more specifically the key-user(s) of the customer, are trained in how to use the Board platform and how to create an app. In a number of iterations/cycles the solution for the customer is created and can be used. Implementations go swiftly and what usually happens is that after introduction of Board an increasing number of departments start using Board but not all departments right from the start (the customer grows into Board).
Another benefit of Board is that multiple data-sources can be uploaded into Board, so not only transactions from an ERP system, but also CRM information for instance. “Every” database can be uploaded and used within Board. This gives enormous opportunities to analyse various data within the Board platform. The Board database is a so called in memory database, so performance of the database is outstanding.
Also predictive analysis capabilities are available in standard, which can help making forecasts an even more interesting exercise (comparing a forecast made by humans to a forecast made by “the system”).
As mentioned earlier, these are some highlights, but they gave us the assurance that Board can help our customers succeeding to achieve a higher level as an organization.
If you are interested, Kaya can discuss (and demo) what Board can do in your situation. As the COVID pandemic has shown that organizations really need a tool which can help them to have a proper understanding of how they are doing and what the influence is/will be of certain circumstances to their business. In our next blog we will go deep dive into the concept of integrated (or intelligent) business planning and how this can be achieved with Board and how this can benefit an organization in times of a severe crisis or market disturbance.
Look for other related blogs at https://kaya-consulting.com/category/board/