Prophix Delivers More Value / Less Hype
Overall Satisfaction with Prophix
Timely and knowledgeable. They are not super-fast on some basic issues, but when we have urgent issues, Prophix is responsive. And they by and large have provided direct, sound solutions to even more subtle issues. They have been working with the Microsoft technology for quite some time and know their way around the issues that can arise.
We have pushed limits to deploy quickly with more complexity (especially in sales forecasting), so we often rely on their support to explain where we have gone wrong.
Documentation could be more detailed, but that is a complaint I have with most CPM software.
Currently being used in Finance and Sales areas. Used in both areas to develop forecast and report plan to actual results.
Automatically (or semi-automatically) loads and distributes sales reports on a daily basis. Generates in-month sales forecast to inform management of plan achievement and prior year comparisons.
Creates alternate financial reports for bank financing proposals and ongoing board, management, and bank reporting.
- Regular automated reporting - Easy to set up and schedule the processes needed to load, combine, and calculate data for reports, and then distribute the reports according to flexible schedules
- Easy to set up the data uploads from various sources, then automate the uploads - Prophix can read .txt, .csv, and Excel formats, set up mapping to correct or consolidate overly detailed (or wrong) source data. (Most systems do this; Prophix is just much easier than most others.)
- Clean interface to manage data models - Again, all CPM systems do this, but the Model Manager in Prophix makes this easy. If it is easy, then it is more likely we will make real-time changes in the structures to keep up with the business changes, making our reporting more relevant and timely.
- Generation of Excel based planning and reporting templates. Everyone still like to work in Excel, and this is just real easy in Prophix.
- Scenario management is awkward in that related scenarios need to be at the same levels.
- Calculated scenarios need to be exported and imported since they really do not exist within the data.
- In the early versions of their latest 12 release, the charts are limited. (This is being enhanced with the current release which we do not yet have.)
- When restoring a damaged data model, all changes to reports or templates since the last backup is lost. You can export prior to the restore, then import after the restore, but this is awkward and often hard to manage of there are lots of impacted reports.
- Very limited direct Excel data access via Excel plugin.
- Accelerated end-of-month sales reporting
- More accurate sales plan tracking and adjustments
- Education in the planning of salaries and wages
- Education in the limitations of existing systems (upstream) capabilities
One of the best/easiest systems to integrate, especially on an ad hoc basis. Also very easy to schedule and manage the scheduling.
Prophix also includes the ability to run SQL queries against external databases, and it would be nice to have a SQL editor in Prophix. Currently we develop the SQL statement outside of Prophix and then bring it in to Prophix for fine tuning and test.
Since we are essentially a single location (with many small sales locations) with a single ERP instance, an on-premise solution made the most financial sense. Server maintenance with Prophix is minimal and relatively cost effective to manage on our own. The expense over time of purchasing a cloud solution steered us away from those options. Having worked at Sun Microsystems for a large portion of my career, the network is the computer. Translated: any network can provide cloud services attached to a server. Whether the server is local or cloud is only a question of expense and support. Maybe cloud solutions are more secure, or maybe they just make more interesting targets.
Given a more distributed operating or corporate environment, a hosted, distributed (cloud) environment begins to make more sense, but that is simply not our case and not worth the expense.
Compared to Host Analytics and Adaptive, Prophix provides more value for the dollar, especially when we deploy multiple models. Solution set is also comparably built out, so we are not missing any critical functionality. Self-maintenance by finance is also comparable to Host and Adaptive, and much easier compared to SAP and Oracle solutions. (Much more expense both for consulting and license when compared to those last two.)
I still think Prophix has a compelling value story. Because the underlying technology is Microsoft, I am not worried that the Prophix functionality/technology will ever lag too far behind anything other larger companies offer, and will certainly stay with any proprietary solutions.
Most of these comments deal with the limitations of OLAP (Prophix) databases as compared to SQL (Oracle/SAP) databases. OLAP does a great job in driving management to prioritize those metrics and data they need to run and measure their business. This education leads to a much better understanding of the data being provided. A transaction level database is better suited to detailed analysis, but management (in my experience) does a poor job at trying to manage individual transactions instead of understanding what the aggregated numbers are saying. Also, management can not plan at a highly detailed level because the business is moving too fast. That is where Prophix (OLAP) allows management to create a plan at the right level of detail which can be reported and managed.
More well suited:
- Multiple scenario reporting
- Excel template generation
- Finance ownership and management - takes some training but well worth the flexibility
- Finance, Sales, Operations
Less well suited:
- Highly detailed reporting outside of Detailed Planning Manager
- Direct Excel - SSAS data retrieval
- HR employee management
- Transaction level detail analysis