Decision Points Issue 2

Decision Points Issue 2
A Communication of ABM Systems. A Decision Inc. Company

The 2018.3 release of Business Planning Cloud completes
a year of evolution for Adaptive and its flagship CPM solution

As we head into the last months of 2018, its worth reflecting on what has been a pivotal year for Adaptive Insights Business Planning Cloud and take a look at what’s ahead with the 2018.3 update.

ABM was Adaptive’s first partner in Australia and over the last decade we have seen a demonstrated history of continual product improvement.

Adaptive have two to three revisions each year, incorporating new features and technologies together with performance and capacity enhancements.

That they achieve this while consistently maintaining peak availability and reliability benchmarks is especially important because theirs is a single version, multi-tenanted SAAS solution spanning data centres globally and used by thousands of organisations 24/7.

Delivering on a program of continual improvement, in such a complex environment requires very effective planning. Adaptive’s inherent ability to plan and execute their product strategy is reflected in the market leading Business Planning tool they designed.

Building on the back of 2017’s new Discovery interface, Flexible Time modelling and a raft of other planning and modelling enhancements, 2018 has already provided notable developments in the 2018.1 and 2018.2 releases, namely:

  • OfficeConnect now works with multiple workbooks simultaneously.
  • Currencies that are user defined – create and name your own.
  • Discovery – Global dashboard time, snapshots and conditional formatting.
  • Modelled Sheets have new and improved filtering delivering faster load times.
  • Weighted Average Translation Accounts with reset & balance transfer feature.
  • Workflow for Actuals allows you to approve and lock down adjustments.
  • Integration supports bulk dimension and metadata updates.
  • Create new Dimension Attribute values to synchronise source and planning systems.
  • Consolidation – Initial Balance in multiple currencies with currency-tagged splits.
  • Planning for Excel has revised interface, supports filtering, multi-instance.

Elastic Hypercube Technology (EHT)

2018 has progressively seen the emergence of Adaptive’s Elastic Hypercube Technology

Adaptive determined back in 2017 to redesign the architecture of their Business Planning Cloud platform to create a compromise-free environment for their clients to model without restrictions. EHT is the evolution of that objective.

Data volumes and analytical demands are increasing exponentially. All modelling tools face performance and capacity constraints as applications have struggled to keep pace. To maintain application performance and limit infrastructure costs, vendors are forced to restrict data volume, limit dimensions and reduce calculations.

EHT seeks to remove limits on the number of dimensions, dimension values or data set size that you choose to model while making Analysis and Reporting faster. How you say?

For technical boffins, some of the details that we know:

  • The primary architecture of Adaptive has been decoupled from traditional server specific functions that are limited by CPU, memory and disk space. By splitting core Compute and Metadata functions into services that run horizontally across server farms, the available resources scale dynamically to meet demands. Services are integrated with highly optimised protocols, calculations are optimised and intelligent.
  • Traditionally, when a change is made much more than is necessary is recalculated.
  • Adaptive have developed a new data structure and dependency tracking algorithm that only updates what needs to be recalculated when a user makes a change.
  • Intelligent dynamic caching is another component. Models are evaluated for optimal function from the start and the engine learns what needs to be cached and what needs to be calculated dynamically.

As an example, a company can model personnel or contracts in a tabular format while exploiting its dimensionality and model revenue as a cube with dimensionality—then link all these components together in an overall model. The Hypercube is available for ad-hoc analysis and reporting, requiring no cumbersome setup or additional cubes.

While changes to date have been largely invisible, what emerges with 2018.3 is more tangible, bringing online significant scalability and performance.

This leads us to the 2018.3 release.

Elastic Hypercube Technology delivers significant scalability improvements. Cubes have traditionally been limited to just a few Dimensions and 1GB in size. While for the majority of circumstances this is more than adequate, some clients have very large models with many dimensional combinations. With this release, clients can have up to 10 Dimensions and 5GB of data without performance being affected.

Dashboards and Analytics (Formerly Discovery) has an improved interface, enhancements to the time and data filters and the ability to create colour schemes that match your corporate branding.

Modelled Sheets support much larger data sets without performance degradation. Improved search and filtering allows you to find records quicker.\

Consolidation Rule-driven consolidation allows ownership percentages to trigger consolidation based on a defined methods table and automatic minority interest net income calculation.

Integrations have been enhanced with organisational level updates. Modelled sheet data can be exported to external systems. CCDS supports very large XML documents.

With all these enhancements, 2018 has been another great year to be an Adaptive subscriber, but how much can we expect from Adaptive in 2019 and beyond?

The future for Business Planning Cloud can be gleaned from the biggest event in Adaptive’s year. 2018 was intended to be the year of Adaptive’s IPO, to launch their next phase of growth as a public company, however leading cloud behemoth, Workday, determined they represented an unrivalled opportunity and snapped them up in July. The dedicated Adaptive team remain, but now with the resources of the world’s 26th largest internet-based company, the sky is clear for Adaptive’s Business Planning Cloud.

If you haven’t seen us for a while, it’s time to re-engage and let us help you.

ABM has been delivering the finest solutions for Adaptive for a decade. Our Skills Transfer at Rollout (STaR) methodology involves building the system with you to transfer our skills to you as part of the implementation. That means that you don’t need us for day-to-day operations but without consultant engagement, your models can become dated as your landscape evolves.

If your Adaptive models have not been reviewed and refreshed for a while, you’re not leveraging the most from your investment.
We have a number of programs and initiatives you should be taking advantage of:

  • Free health check review and report
  • Training workshops – are you up with all the new features?
  • 360 workshops – lets explore how your models are working practically

NEW – FM Premium support and Mentoring program

Our new mentoring program is designed to improve Financial Management skills in your business and support how our solutions are used to drive value. Each of the following courses are generally designed to be run internally as half-day sessions but can be tailored as required up to 1-2 day sessions.

  • Balanced Scorecard
  • Finance for Non-Finance Managers
  • Finance Business Partnering
  • Integrated Strategic Planning, Budgeting, Forecasting & Performance Management
  • Dynamic budgeting & forecasting
  • Costing & Profitability Modelling
  • Effective Strategic Asset Management
  • Data, Analytics & Insights

The training and mentoring activity will count toward professional CPE and the program can be run as a subscription service based on your needs.

Leo Carr, FM Practice Lead, ABM Systems

Issue 02 November 2018