NetSuite (now Oracle NetSuite) is a cloud business management system, encompassing ERP, Financials, CRM and eCommerce for more than 18,000 customers worldwide. It is deployed to automate back office accounting and operations processes. The next step for companies using NetSuite is to bring automation and integration to the front end with their finance and accounting processes involving budgeting, forecasting and reporting.
So how can Oracle NetSuite Customers automate FP&A ? By evaluating Corporate Performance Management (CPM) platforms that integrate with their source systems.
Here are the top three CPM platforms for Oracle NetSuite:
- Limelight (that’s us)
- Adaptive Insights
- Oracle PBCS / NetSuite SuiteSuccess
When Oracle NetSuite Customers Outgrow Excel
What happens when companies outgrow Excel? It’s no secret that many Excel users refer to working in manual spreadsheets as “Excel Hell”. This is because teams who rely on Excel to manually budget, forecast and report have outgrown them due to the larger sets of data, systems and people involved in the process. Here are some key issues that come with outgrowing spreadsheets:
- Excel is not Multi-User - Excel is a single-user tool. If you want more than one person to contribute or review a spreadsheet, then you must give them a copy of the spreadsheet and wait for them to be finished with it before you or someone else can continue to work on it. This slows down the budgeting and reporting process and is a real pain for any situation where collaboration is required.
- Version Control - When you have lots of spreadsheets flying around, you have the added problem of managing which version is the most current. It’s a known fact that contributors will often copy their spreadsheets to create different scenarios (best case, worst case, ‘what-if’, etc.) along with a ‘final’ version. Managing multiple versions manually can leave users working with the wrong workbook and outdated information.
- Security - Storing data in spreadsheets or mailing them back and forth pose security risks. When data is stored in Excel, there are no checks and balances to verify the quality of information. Although passwords do offer an initial protection from outside eyes, a manager cannot review who has or has not seen or accessed the data. This gets even more complex if managers cannot successfully track who has the password and whether or not it’s been shared. When it comes to email, confidential information can end up in unexpected hands. And if your spreadsheet is particularly large, emailing becomes problematic. We recall a customer whose budget spreadsheet had grown over 100 MB and was unable to email it for review.
- Erroneous Data and Broken Formulas and Links - So you’ve created a beautiful template with macros and formulas to make life easier for your department managers to enter their figures. The problem is that there is ALWAYS someone who will find a way to break the template and scotch up your consolidation process.
3 CPM Solutions Oracle NetSuite Customers Should Evaluate
We’ve listed our top three contenders and for each, outlined the product and compared them side-by-side in terms of overall features, learning curve and pricing.
1. Limelight Software
Limelight is an all-in-one financial planning, forecasting and reporting web-based workspace. It directly integrates with Oracle NetSuite as well as other systems such as HR, Payroll and CRM to centralize data. It offers a modern, user-friendly interface that is easily managed by business users and is accessible from anywhere and on any device. Limelight brings the best of Excel and the Web together and automatically consolidates financial and operational data for immediate analysis so teams can collaborate across departments in real-time.
Limelight offers an Excel look and feel as well as full support for Excel formulas within a simple, user-friendly modern interface. This makes it easy for users to leverage their Excel skills to learn, navigate and create their own self-service budgeting, forecasting and reporting templates. Finance and accounting users can leverage their Excel knowledge in Limelight and build beautiful templates and reports with ease.
- Software - $$
- Implementation - In-house - $$
Limelight is competitively priced and offers implementation packages that provide customers with their exact budget upfront, allowing them to be up and running on the platform faster.
2. Adaptive Insights
Adaptive Insights (now part of Workday) Business Planning Cloud is a cloud-based CPM platform that offers unified planning, reporting and analysis for Finance teams. Beyond Finance, it provides a tailored solution for Sales, Workforce Planning and Operational Planning as separate modules in the same workspace.
Ease of Use
- Moderate to Heavy
Adaptive Insights requires a steep learning curve for users, in large part due to the fact that it is a web-based solution with its own scripting language. Since the platform and its functionality is a departure from Excel, users must dedicate a lot of time to fully learn how the tool works and apply this knowledge to build financial templates, reports and dashboards.
- Software - $$
- Implementation - Partners - $$$
Adaptive Insights offers competitive licensing costs. Most implementations are delivered by third-party partners which can sometimes make deployments more costly. However, Adaptive Insights' large community of partners provides customers with access to a bigger pool of resources to leverage and use.
3. Oracle PBCS / NetSuite SuiteSuccess
NetSuite SuiteSuccess or Oracle PBCS facilitates both company-wide and departmental financial planning with modeling capabilities, approval workflows and reporting within one collaborative scalable solution.
- Moderate to Heavy
As with other Oracle software programs, the layout and usability is not the most intuitive. Getting accustomed to the tool takes longer and requires more enablement. The system requires lots of clicks and has separate modules that need to be purchased and additionally learned. However, once streamlined and trained, companies will experience the benefit.
- Software - $$$
- Implementation - $$$$
Oracle PBCS is one of the more expensive CPM platforms in the market. While you can take advantage of timely promotions and heavy discounts, overall, this is a platform that requires a deeper investment over a long period of time. Oracle has a large community of partners that provide exceptional implementation and support services for PBCS.
When searching for the right financial planning and analysis tool for their Oracle NetSuite, users should perform in-depth research into each vendor. As a CPM vendor ourselves, we understand the needs of our prospects through the experience we have with our customers.
For more information on how Limelight can work with your NetSuite ERP to accelerate your financial planning, forecasting and reporting process, click here to book an educational demo.