Best practices for Implementing Leading Budgeting, Forecasting, and Reporting Solutions

Leading budgeting solutions like CCH Tagetik, Adaptive Insights and Vena help businesses optimize their budgeting practices with automation and process enhancement. Successful implementation of a budgeting solution requires strategic planning, skillful resources and meticulous execution. You should start the implementation by first understanding the existing business process and what you are looking to achieve in your implementation. This includes gathering functional/technical requirements, defining the scope of the project and prioritizing immediate needs while also identifying the roadmap for future growth.

Here are some highlighted best practices for implementing budgeting solutions:

Train Your Users Early

Once the plan has been created, you want to start identifying who will be trained on the solution.  You want to do this early in the project so that you have more in-house knowledge and expertise which will help lower consulting costs. Users generally fall into two categories, Power Users and End Users.  Power users would be involved in the design and development of input templates/reports, get coaching from your implementation partner and review your development work.  You are creating an in-house expert that understands your current business process and the solution you are implementing.  End users can be trained by your Power users and if you record your end user training you can use it to help train new hires later.

Set-up a strong Testing Process

When designing your Users Acceptance Training (UAT) phase, divide it into stages that are easier to manage.  Testing can be completed by your end users to give them more exposure to the solution, after it has been ‘blessed’ by your power users.  Create test scripts for templates/reports that can be run multiple times to make sure that your results are consistent.  Make sure you log and monitor any defects/resolutions.  This log will give you a great overview of the overall ‘Health’ of the solution and point out any gaps that may have been missed during earlier phases of the project.

Avoid Technical Complications

From a technical point of view, you must minimize customizations.  Utilize as many built in features as you can during the first phase.  Only load the actual data you need; your CPM solution is not your General Ledger (GL).  Use dynamic variables where ever you can, dynamic variables allow you to choose members dynamically based on their hierarchical relationship. This means that a dynamic variable will automatically update if there are any changes to the makeup of the data model requiring less maintenance.  This can also help you when defining years and dates.

Prepare for Go-Live

Don’t just release your solution to your end users.  Make sure that end-user training has been completed to make for a more positive first impression.  Have your documentation ready and available.  Identify your support team, who should be contacted for questions or issues?  Advertise.  Let everyone know what is on the way and how it will make improve your current process.