Planful (previously Host Analytics) has launched Planful Now. It is a packaged solution that enables companies to take a more flexible approach to implementing its solutions. The announcement came during the Planful Virtual conference it is hosting this week. Planful Now provides a framework for its FP&A platform that enables companies to deploy continuous planning solutions more easily.
Cheryl Chow, Senior Finance Manager at SmartyPants, a fast-growing vitamin company commented: “The conventional wisdom in the industry is that even a fast cloud FP&A software deployment will take months, but with Planful, we were up and running with our Sales and Tradespend forecast templates in three weeks. Planful provided amazingly fast time to value, enabling the FP&A team to plan their quarterly re-forecast following Q1 close, prepare for an upcoming board meeting, and create new forecasts for sales, advertising, and other areas without breaking our stride.”
What is Planful Now
The framework breaks down the different modules in a three-stage approach. Planful targets completion of each stage in 30 days. Thus, by the end of 90 days, an organisation should have fully implemented the Planful solutions. Importantly, customers do not have to select each module in turn. Instead, they can choose the one that will deliver the most value. Thus they may choose to implement Financial Reporting or Cash Flow Forecasting first.
Stage 1 <30 days
- Cash Flow Forecasting
- Annual Operating Planning
- Workforce Planning
- Monthly Close and Consolidation
- Financial Reporting
- Multi-dimensional Ad Hoc Analysis
Stage 2 < 60 days
- Long-range planning
- Monthly Rolling forecasts
- Driver-based revenue planning
- SaaS Bookings waterfall
- Project Planning
- Customer profitability planning
Stage 3 < 90 days
- Sales & Ops planning
- Demand planning
- Trade Promotion Planning
- SKU Level Planning
- Territory and Quota Mgmt
- Account Segmentation and Scoring
Not only does the package offer flexibility, but it is also low risk. According to Planful: “customers can start using the platform and seeing their data before paying the bill. “
Planful CEO Grant Halloran. “Speed and agility in decision-making are more important than ever. The COVID-19 crisis caught everyone off guard, and now companies are regrouping. We’ve been in touch with our FP&A community throughout this crisis, and we know that providing their boards and leaders with options based on accurate, timely data as quickly as possible is top of mind for them. We’ve always worked closely with FP&A teams to meet their unique needs, and Planful Now is an extension of that—a commitment to remove the friction from the implementation process and start delivering ROI impact immediately.”
Stage One benefits
Planful has highlighted the benefits obtainable from the solutions as part of the first phase of implementation. Within a few days, companies can see their data and use this functionality to begin their continuous planning journey.
- Cash Flow Forecasting projects future financial liquidity and cash flow to ensure business continuity and smart allocation of capital.
- Multi-dimensional Ad Hoc Analysis supplies the right data to the right people at the right time. These self-service reporting capabilities provide visibility and clarity into business performance. They socialise information company-wide so that finance and business leaders in every corner of the business have the insights they need to make confident decisions.
- Workforce Planning standardizes workforce compensation calculations across the organization. It provides flexibility to quickly forecast multiple scenarios by changing employee cost drivers and immediately understanding the overall financial impact on the business.
- Monthly Close & Consolidation accelerates close cycles, empowers finance with the robust financial and regulatory reporting they need, and provides the business with immediate performance feedback to re-assess and pivot operations based on changing conditions.
- Financial Reporting enables finance to quickly create and distribute accurate financial regulatory reporting packages for the various internal and external stakeholders who rely on these reports.
- Annual Operating Plan (AOP) enables FP&A teams to quickly build collaborative financial plans that align company-wide resources to strategic goals and objectives. Companies can quickly turn an AOP in a quarterly or monthly rolling forecast and model hundreds of different scenarios quickly and reliably to determine how to change course, as conditions change throughout the year.
This is an interesting nuance of an implementation accelerator. Rather than taking a prescribed approach, Planful is delivering a flexible framework approach that will appeal to many customers. It allows them to choose which areas of functionality are most beneficial. Also, in breaking down the parts of its solution into 18 different deliverables, Planful helps customers to identify where it can gain the most value quickly.