Seven FP&A tools enhancing business intelligence

Ahead of the FP&A Innovation Summit in San Diego, Innovation Enterprise looks at some of the top BI tools helping FP&A analysts, managers and directors unlock data-driven insights for decision-making

18Jan

As the amount of data increases, the role of financial planner and analysts (FP&A) needs to innovate to ensure their business maintains a competitive edge.

FP&A technologies can provide various businesses with tools to uncover data-driven insights to position them at the forefront of their industries and allow them to remain agile within today's digital era and gain an upper hand in analyzing their financial data for ROI.

There are various platforms-as-a-service solutions (PaaS) currently being offered. Innovation Enterprise has listed some of the top tech offerings from companies such as Oracle and IBM.

SAP Analytics Cloud

Launched in 2015 and developed by SAP SE, the SAP Analytics Cloud is an all-in-one BI, planning and analytics cloud platform.

The SAP Analytics Cloud, developed by SAP SE and launched in 2015, is a web-based software-as-a-service business intelligence (BI) platform. The platform supports Windows and Mac devices.

The platform provides companies with the choice of two plans: Business Intelligence and Planning.

Business Intelligence enables users access to the SAP Analytics Cloud for business intelligence that offers data analytics, collaboration tools, support and limited planning capabilities. The Planning suite offers users the ability to avail of the SAP Analytics business intelligence platform as well as the planning offerings of which the user can create and share financial planning models.

IBM Planning Analytics

Cloud-based IBM Planning Analytics is a planning, budgeting, forecasting, analysis and score carding platform that leverages data insights for financial forecasting and planning to analyze product and customer profitability.

IBM Planning Analytics is offered across three applications, IBM Planning Analytics Express, IBM Planning Analytics Digital Pack and the IBM Planning Analytics.

The applications are supported by IBM Watson technology and IBM's TM1 64-bit in-memory online analytical processing (OLAP) server which provides on-demand analytics of complex and multidimensional data with real-time analysis capability. The suite of digital offerings can be deployed on cloud or on-premises.

With IBM's BI suite, businesses can visualize data through maps, tables and bar graphs, and the platform's dashboard and scorecards. To assist users, the platform embeds video instructions in aim to encourage adoption.

Oracle Enterprise Performance Management

Oracle's Enterprise Performance Management platform consists of a suite of cloud and web-based performance management applications.

According to Oracle, financial implications on corporate financial plans, objectives and consensus among concerned parties is a major challenge when proposing and planning new initiatives. Oracle aims to bridge the gap between project management systems and financial planning processes – supporting the complete project financial management lifecycle.

One of its cloud-enabled digital offerings, Oracle Hyperion was formed in 2007 when Oracle Corporation acquired Hyperion Solutions Corporation, a California-based software company. Its products assist in business intelligence and business performance management. Within the suite, some of the offerings include services for financial management, budgeting, planning and financial consolidation.

Host Analytics

Host Analytics, founded in 2001, is a cloud-based enterprise performance management (EPM) software. The platform offers businesses tools for planning automation, consolidation and assists in financial reporting processes.

The platform provides five services: planning, modeling, consolidation, reporting and dashboards – all of which leverages data insights to ensure stability in businesses financial status.

Modeling allows users with the ability to create and connect operational and financial models that align with the company business plan and forecasting. Within the modeling feature, one of the services offered is Breakback which provides users with the capability to save time by "making top-down adjustments" to forecasts and models, and has the ability to automatically allocate changes across multiple dimensions across the organization accordingly – "Turning tasks that take hours of work to just minutes," Host Analytics outlined on their site.

Reporting provides interactive ad-hoc, financial and management reports and Host Dashboards, unveiled in 2017, aims to simplify business performance, trends and opportunities through visual analytics.

Tableau

Headquartered in Seattle, Tableau was founded in 2003 and is a data visualization platform which creates interactive data visualizations for BI.

According to the company, Tableau can be used via on-premises or in the cloud. The

services can be deployed within various industries such as financial services, the public sector, energy and resources industry. The platform leverages tech capabilities from various software services such as IBM, AWS, Microsoft Azure and Salesforce.

The platform offers four products: Tableau Desktop, Tableau Prep, Tableau Server and Tableau Online, and is offered for various industries.

Tableau Desktop is a data visualization service where users can analyze data and create reports; Tableau Prep leverages algorithms to integrate repetitive tasks such as misspelling errors in aim to streamline data analysis processes; Tableau Server enables users to collaborate and share the reports; and Tableau Online is a cloud-hosted version of Tableau Server.

Power BI

Initially released in 2014, Power BI is a data and analytics reporting tool which was developed by Microsoft. The platform offers users data visualizations with self-service BI capabilities to create reports and dashboards.

Power BI provides cloud-based BI services, Power BI Services and a desktop-based interface, deemed Power BI Desktop. The platform provides data warehouse capabilities such as data preparation, data discovery and interactive dashboards. In 2016, the tech firm released two new offerings, Power Pivot, a data visualization tool and Power View, a data analysis tool.

Power BI can be integrated with a number of business application to connect and collate data for business insights, such as Salesforce, Mailchimp and Google Analytics.

Sisense

Sisense, headquartered in Tel Aviv, Israel, was founded in 2004 and launched 2010, is a financial analytics tool with the technical capabilities to sift through data for business insights.

According to Sisense, financial analytics can offer businesses with data-driven answers such as which of their products are yielding revenue, which products has the potential to grow and also has the capability to forecast year-on-year profit margin.

In 2017, Sense added a new feature called Pulse which enables users to subscribe to specific reports and receive automatic notifications if whether trends in the data begin to change or predefined forecast are passed.

The platform provides a number of services including data consolidation, allowing users to combine data from multiple system such as Microsoft Excel in to a centralized repository. With its advanced analytics capabilities, the platform can analyze current and historical trends to create future predictions.

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