CareStar recommends Adaptive Insights for reporting and dashboards
Overall Satisfaction with Adaptive Insights
- Financial Reporting - financial statements are done instantaneously once the books are closed. There is no processing required. Recipients of the reports can obtain everything they need self-service. There is no distribution process required.
- Budgeting/forecasting - We converted our Excel process (which used 30 linked workbooks, 20 sheets each, and 50+ formulas each sheet, for a total of 30,000 formulas) to Adaptive. Now that the model is set up, new forecasts can be set up in minutes, rather than hours/days. The whole model is driver-based and easy to manage. It is much more intuitive for our directors, too. All they need to supply are updated drivers to run a new budget or forecast.
- Dashboard - We now have a company-wide mechanism for communicating KPIs, and both financial and non-financial data. Data can be presented both visually or in numeric formats.
- The Adaptive Planning portion of the suite is very mature and has few short-comings. The biggest improvement I can think of is the ability for formulas to cross versions.
- The Adaptive Discovery (dashboard) portion of the suite is much less mature. There are many chart types not available that are in Excel. For example, I would like to have an X-Y scatter chart to use. Also, some of the dial (chart) types have very little formatting options (like pie charts).
- While the object of the web-based product is to eliminate paper printing, there are times when it is necessary to print financial statements. It would be nice to print directly to pdf with the ability to format the reports.
- Cycle time for processing financial statements, budgets, and forecasts are greatly reduced.
- Visibility of company metrics and drivers has been increased across the company.
- The ease and ability to quickly create multiple forecasts using different scenarios is now available.
There has been a much greater focus on what drives the company profitability, and what it takes to improve those drivers. By focusing on those drivers, our executives and directors can take action that directly affect the bottom line, as opposed to simply "trying to cut costs" in a general sense.
With Adaptive, we report on these same drivers that, not only make them more visible, but greater effort is made to improve their accuracy and to understand how they impact the business.
All of this leads to more meaningful financial statements, reports, dashboards, and budgets. With Adaptive's distribution, this information can be disseminated very quickly.
The first-year setup will take a great deal of time, as you would expect. But once the model and dashboards are setup, it takes a great deal less time to maintain them. I found the second cycle to be much more focused on tweaking the model, and understating how the business operates, and how it can be better represented in the model. After that, it becomes an exercise of discovering what data is available in the company, and how it can be presented in a meaningful way.
To summarize, it does allow for greater time to do analysis, but don't expect that the first year.
We did not go through a full-blown software selection process, nor have I used other products in the past. Previous to Adaptive, we used Management Reporter (formerly FRx, now part of Microsoft Dynamics GP) for our financial statements, and Excel for our budgeting. Adaptive is far superior to either of those.
We pursued Adaptive mainly through word of mouth. When discussing the availability of products with other accounting professionals, it was clear Adaptive was becoming the industry leader for our company size. We had a demo of the product presented by them. Since we liked it so much, we decided to go with them even though we had not reviewed other products.
Adaptive is well suited to present data (both financial and non-financial) in the form of financial statements, reports, budgets, forecasts, and dashboards to a distributed audience. That is, any data that can be accessed, and then summarized and presented for analytical and reporting purposes. The web-based platform allows for end-user access anywhere.
Where it is less appropriate, and often mistakenly so by those not directly involved in administering the product, is to try to use it as a replacement for an operational database and operational report writer. For example, in a SQL database, it would be better to write operating level reports directly in that database as SQL reports.
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