If you are like me, I dread the annual budgeting process; I would rather have a root canal than go through the budgeting cycle. It seems like every year we are creating new templates and then trying to consolidate everything into a single format so that it could be entered into our ERP system. The BI360 – Planning Module is an Excel-based data entry tool with a flexible SQL Server database and is fully compatible with report writer (BI360 Reporting). Planning can be used to automate budgeting and forecasting as well as other business processes that require data entry and a database. Think of BI360 Planning as an automated way to save any data from Excel into a structured SQL database. Planning data entry is an optional way of entering data in Excel. In other words, users can type information directly into Excel or they can open the BI360 Planning data entry screen and enter it there. When the data has been entered into Excel, it is automatically saved into the underlying row in the Planning module and then can be saved to the Data Warehouse database. The Planning data entry screen is a powerful tool for:
- Automatic spreading of numbers across many cells in Excel. Many spreading rules are available, including rules that can use prior year actuals or seasonal as a base.
- Input of text comments at the row or line item level.
- Input of many rows of line item detail and have them roll up to a single line item in the budget, for example, the user can list all of the business trips for the upcoming year and they will all roll up into a single line in the budget.
- Automatic charting of the current row in Excel and comparison to another row with historical data.
In short, BI360 Planning can store data (numbers and text) from any Excel spreadsheet. The data will always be stored in the Data Warehouse database. From there, the stored data can be sent back to the ERP system, reported on or even processed into OLAP cubes for advanced analysis.