Vena Solutions - Sizzle With Very Little Steak
Updated October 13, 2020

Vena Solutions - Sizzle With Very Little Steak

Anonymous | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 1 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Overall Satisfaction with Vena Solutions

Vena is being used as an enterprise budgeting and forecasting tool. It is primarily used during the budgeting season, but more recently, we are attempting to expand its use beyond the primarily yearly budgeting process. It addressed the largely spreadsheet based budgeting used prior to the introduction of Vena, which was difficult to manage.
  • Reasonably good Excel interface
  • Use of a dimensional style model was a good concept
  • Cloud-based tenants in theory minimize the amount of administration
  • The tool uses at least four different query and data manipulation languages, once you get your data to the tool. All of which are proprietary, limited flavors of other languages (such as SQL and MDX).
  • The use of a MongoDB back end has resulted in the ongoing use of floats for numeric data storage. This works fine if you are budgeting at a high level. However, if you are leveraging their transaction-level features, you will see divergence due to the inherent issues of floating point being unable to precisely represent decimal values.
  • There is very little community documentation around the tool, and the documentation provided by the vendor is sparse, poorly written, and often out of date or just plain wrong. This extends to their sample code as well
  • There is currently no direct way to feed data from your source system databases. The primary method is dumping data to flat files and either executing the uploads manually through the web UI or wrapping a java-based CLI with Powershell or windows batch for local execution. There is also a preview of a logic app if you have Azure as part of your infrastructure
  • Better than using spreadsheets
  • There is a significant time investment required when stretching capabilities beyond basic budgeting.
  • Back-end capabilities lacking what one would expect from a mature FP&A system, resulting in more maintenance and administration than one might expect from a SaaS solution.
I did not select Vena, and would not after popping the hood. It looks slick at a glance and has a good concept going, but once you begin to investigate further, there are a lot of foundational issues. Have your IT department perform a deep dive before making a decision.

I have worked with Cognos and Microsoft tools in the space, as well as a roll your own solution using Analysis Services and XLCubed. All had their own issues, but at the end of the day, the data was stored properly, the results could be trusted, and at least basic change management/source control could be applied.
Vena may be fine for a department or very small organizations. However, it is not an enterprise class tool. There is a reason they tend not to sell through IT or provide open access to their documentation and knowledge base (always a red flag in my opinion). A non-production tenant is not provided as part of the package. There is also only limited functionality for migrations between tenants. Migrating within a tenant is also challenging. There is no version control capability across the tool, and its own versioning is scattershot within it. Integrations have no version control at all, and some of the components code cannot even be copy-pasted to roll your own. I have resorted to copy-paste for scripts and accessible code, along with screenshots (yes, seriously) for other components with inaccessible code.

Additionally, integrations largely rely on the naming conventions of the objects. So even though there are folder structures, two objects in different folders cannot have the same names. This results in manual code changes when migrating from a non-production to a production model.

That said, the web interface isn't bad, and neither is the Excel add-in. The pieces your business users will see during the sales cycle. Excel-based reporting is robust. Web-based and ad-hoc reporting relies on Microsoft Power BI, licensed separately.

Vena Feature Ratings

Long-term financial planning
Financial budgeting
Scenario modeling
Management reporting
Financial data consolidation
Journal entries and reports
Multi-currency management
Intercompany Eliminations
Not Rated
Minority Ownership
Not Rated
Local and consolidated reporting
Not Rated
Detailed Audit Trails
Not Rated
Financial Statement Reporting
Management Reporting
Excel-based Reporting
XBRL support for regulatory filing
Not Rated
Cost and profitability analysis
Not Rated
Flat file integration
Excel data integration
Direct links to 3rd-party data sources
Report Formatting Templates
Not Rated
Drill-down analysis
Formatting capabilities
Report sharing and collaboration
Not Rated
Publish to PDF
Not Rated
Report Versioning
Not Rated
Report Delivery Scheduling
Not Rated
Multi-User Support (named login)
Role-Based Security Model
Multiple Access Permission Levels (Create, Read, Delete)
Not Rated
Single Sign-On (SSO)

Vena Solutions Attributes

Do you think Vena delivers good value for the price?


Are you happy with Vena's feature set?


Did Vena live up to sales and marketing promises?

I wasn't involved with the selection/purchase process

Did implementation of Vena go as expected?

I wasn't involved with the implementation phase

Would you buy Vena again?


I will give Vena credit for at least trying and being initially responsive. However, it is clear that their attitude toward development is cavalier. We have engaged them both via helpdesk and on consulting engagements. The solutions provided are often given without proper testing, resulting in significant time spent on back-and-forth to get issues resolved, or fixing the code yourself. There does not seem to be much in the way of process or project management on their side for customer engagements.
This is split between usability from an end-user perspective and administrative.

Administrative - The tool is lacking in a cohesive way to administer the tool, both from more of a back-end perspective (ETL/Integrations, scripting, etc.) as well as from a business administrative (Processes, Models, etc.). On the more back-end IT related aspects, the tool is a mishmash of modules that were clearly developed in stovepipe fashion. Basic feature/functionality aspects such as version control, auto vs manual save, etc. differ between the code preparation components. It is also lacking in any sort of coherent version control. Not all pages display the context information, so extreme caution must be used. There is also no coherent migration strategy. The process and model navigation has been somewhat challenging for our business administrators, often requiring assistance from Vena when creating or altering templates. 2 of 10

End User - This is better. The Excel add-in generally functions well. Creating basic templates is straightforward, and there is a large degree of flexibility when creating reporting templates. Being part of Excel puts many users into a comfort zone. The toggle switch between template and data mode is not well conceived, and the add-in pop-ups occasionally have issues on multi-monitor displays. 6 of 10

Vena Solutions Support

Good followup
Knowledgeable team
Problems get solved
Kept well informed
Support cares about my success
Quick Initial Response
Escalation required
Need to explain problems multiple times
Yes - it took a long time to get the issue resolved, but Vena did stick with it. I give them credit for continuing to pursue the issue, which was related to calc scripts and inconsistent results. While the bug was not declared a bug, Vena did eventually come up with a workaround solution. However, fearing it would not be completed in time, we built our own workaround and implemented that instead. A for effort, but it was not timely and took a number of meeting with Vena to get them to acknowledge the issue and pursue a viable solution.
The business (I'm IT) has had better luck. I'm copied on many of the communications, and Vena's support seems much more prepared to deal with user-facing issues such as template design, etc. than the back-end. They respond quickly to the initial inquiry and updates happen frequently, often intraday. So for the user-facing components, Vena support does a good job of finding solutions, and doing so quickly. The incident in particular that stands out was on fixing a template. Within less than 24 hours, they responded, had a couple of back-and-forths to get more information, then worked with a copy of the template to resolve the issue and provide it back.

Using Vena Solutions

Do not like to use
Unnecessarily complex
Difficult to use
Not well integrated
Feel nervous using
Lots to learn
  • Creating the base model framework
  • Cloning/Copying a model
  • Creating a basic reporting template
  • Migrating code within or across tenants
  • Understanding the differing limitations of calc scripts
  • trying to version control the code