What is Adaptive Planning and why include it in your investment in Workday? In this blog post, discover the benefits of this innovative tool and learn tips for a successful deployment.
Workday Adaptive Planning is a software tool that enhances an organization’s planning process and capabilities. It is a cloud-based solution that empowers financial leadership and cost center owners across an organization to analyze the current landscape of their focus area and easily make their own adjustments.
Simply put, Adaptive Planning is a way to track forecasted versus actual metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) for important aspects of the business from budget to headcount. It’s a way to plan for the future.
Key functionalities of Adaptive Planning include:
- Planning and reporting on income statement
- Planning and reporting on balance sheet
- Planning and reporting on cash flow
- Operating expense management
- Revenue management
- Workforce modeling
- Capital expense management
- Financial close
There are many reasons why Adaptive Planning is a smart choice that will benefit your organization now and in the future. Here are some of the most common:
1. Increased Planning Ownership Due to Ease of Use
One of the main draws of Adaptive Planning is that it’s geared toward the end-user. Advanced technical skills and extensive training are not required. Making adjustments to plans, and creating dashboards and reports is intuitive, which empowers users throughout the organization to not only be involved in their own planning but to take ownership of that aspect of their business.
Additionally, because Adaptive Planning is cloud-based, most of the interactions users have with the tool can be accomplished on a single screen. Compared to the old ways of planning — which involve sharing multiple Excel spreadsheets across the organization and then manually combining those files into one consolidated document — this approach saves time and increases accuracy.
2. Automation of Dataflow Across Your Workday Setup
TopBloc highly recommends Adaptive Planning to our clients — particularly those who use or are planning to deploy Workday Financial Management — due to the application’s ability to eliminate menial tasks associated with financial planning.
Since Workday added Adaptive Planning to its suite of offerings, the tool has become well integrated with Workday’s other applications. All information within an organization’s Workday setup is live and accessible within Adaptive Planning. For example, a journal entry added to Workday Financial Management is immediately available to the end user in Adaptive Planning. This is because one of the features of Adaptive Planning is the ability to automate the flow of actual financial data into the planning tool. This means that a company’s finance department no longer needs to pull metrics from one system, forecast in another, and manually share their findings in a third.
Through automation, Workday Adaptive Planning saves you time. It saves you frustration. And, most importantly, it allows your team to spend more time actually doing financial analysis rather than performing menial tasks to set up and review the data.
3. Streamlines Processes & Eliminates Inefficiencies
Adaptive Planning is a tool that can greatly impact your enterprise resource planning (ERP), human capital management (HCM), or customer relationship management (CRM). In many cases, because Workday and Adaptive Planning integrate seamlessly, processes that once required manual reconciliation can be automated, which introduces additional rigor and data integrity while codifying business processes.
For example, you can decide to open a position, verify the associated metrics and KPIs, and create the position in your Workday HCM solution without needing to schedule a meeting with human resources. Workday and Adaptive Planning make the process easier to follow.
The value of this becomes abundantly apparent when you drill into all the steps associated with the open position requisition process. Consider that a cost center owner wants to open five new positions. With Adaptive Planning, the process is as follows:
- First, the cost center owner will enter into Adaptive Planning their request to open five new positions.
- Adaptive Planning will create holds for the salaries associated with those five positions in their budget.
- Leadership can review this information in Workday and decide if they want to pursue those open positions. If they approve, the new job openings will be published to Workday as requisitions in the system.
- Once the position is created, Workday assigns a position ID, and that position ID comes back to Adaptive Planning as the two systems continue to communicate and the system performs a reconciliation for the user.
Without Adaptive Planning, the cost center owner would need to separate the process of approving open positions and creating those roles in Workday. They would then have to manually map back the information from one system to another to denote which roles were opened, which were denied, and which were delayed — a task that could become cumbersome and confusing for employees.
4. Ability to Create Customizable Dashboards
Adaptive Planning allows you to transform your data into powerful, visually appealing graphics and presentations. Not only that but these reports can be created near-immediately.
With Adaptive Planning, users can create custom dashboards to review and analyze the metrics that are most important to them. These dashboards can be shared with anyone in the organization easily by creating a snapshot. What’s more is that dashboards can even be configured to be shared to pre-identified team members on a scheduled basis.
This ability to quickly and easily create and share reports is game-changing, especially to those working in FP&A who are conditioned to expect reports to take a few days of spreadsheet work doing data transformations to yield a functional report. With Adaptive Planning, reporting is so efficient it can be finished almost immediately after the close of the planning cycle.
Additionally, Adaptive Planning easily works with other reporting components. Adaptive Planning comes with two reporting components — OfficeConnect and HTML Reporting. OfficeConnect works with the Microsoft Office Suite; for example, it allows users to seamlessly pull in and view all Adaptive Planning data in Excel.
5. Provides Information in a Unified Place for Making Better Data-Driven Decisions, Faster
Adaptive Planning provides organizations the ability to see all of their planning data and metrics in one unified location. Its integration with Workday and automated processes reduce the amount of menial tasks an organization’s finance department needs to complete, which in turn enables them to spend more time on the higher-value tasks of analyzing the information, identifying trends, and, ultimately, allowing them to make better data-driven decisions for the business.
If you want to ensure a successful deployment, keep these tips in mind:
Start with a vision. Here are some important questions to consider:
- What do you want to accomplish?
- What are your pain points?
- Where are your employees spending the most time?
- Which manual processes can be automated?
Explore basic training. By using Adaptive Planning’s free, interactive training tools, you will have a greater understanding of the system’s functionality and capabilities.
Avoid a “shift and lift” migration. Don’t assume that your current Excel processes will completely translate to Adaptive Planning. Sometimes the best solutions arise when you begin to think outside the box. Migrating to a new technology presents an exciting opportunity to re-think the ways you report and plan.
TopBloc is certified in Adaptive Planning, which is not always the case among Workday Services Partners. We were also among the first services partners to assist customers with deploying Adaptive Planning, which means we have the knowledge and experience to address your needs and advise on best practices.
We pride ourselves on being a collaborative, cross-functional team. We can deploy Adaptive Planning as an independent platform or combine it with your existing suite of Workday software. Whichever path you choose, we’ll work with you to configure the system to your exact specifications.
Contact us today if you have any questions or would like more information on how Adaptive Planning can move your business forward.