Alan Whitehouse's Ramblings

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Planning, Budgeting, and Forecasting for the Office of Finance White Paper

Posted by Alan on January 21, 2011

The other day a co-worker forwarded me a link to a white paper entitled “Planning, Budgeting, and Forecasting for the Office of Finance White Paper“.  This white paper manages, in my opinion, to show why the Microsoft stack of products is great for planning solutions and at the same time shows why the Microsoft stack of products is horrible for planning solutions.

I think the authors have mapped out a great solution but their design has a fundamental flaw.  The flaw is not technical but critical none the less.    Their whole solution leaves the finance group (who is doing the budgeting) at the mercy of the IT department.  I have been selling, designing and implementing ERP and budgeting solutions for almost 17 years now and the one constant I hear over and over again from executives (i.e., CFOs, CEOs, etc.) is that they want to be able to manage their operations with minimal involvement from the IT group.  If they need to add a user or change security, they want to be able to do it themselves without having to call in IT.  Using IT means requests, paperwork and delays.  

Imagine giving a budget manager whose whole life is finance access to SQL Management Studio or BIDS so they can assign dimension level permissions to users?  When you do, at the same time you should also be imagining lots of flashing red lights and sirens at the same time.  Imagine trying to explain MDX syntax to an accountant.  When you do, at the same time you should also imagine the pain of driving a 3 inch long decking screw into your skull.  

Read through the paper and tell me what you think.  They have some great ideas and mapped out some great concepts — many of which mirror the design of the solution we are currently building.  However, their solution is definitely one that needs to be owned and maintained completely by IT and that is not usually a good thing as far as finance is concerned.  And when it is all said and done, it is usually finance who pays the bills.


4 Responses to “Planning, Budgeting, and Forecasting for the Office of Finance White Paper”

  1. Peter Eb. said

    Jeff was on the original Biz# team, leaving around the time we shipped V1. This is very much the document that attempts to prove/describe the assertions that Office2010 + SQL2008 are sufficient for building PBF solutions when cancelling future PPS releases. I think it blends the original Biz# design with a few lessons learned (and recent developments like Excel cube writeback and PowerPivot) while being as brief as practical.

    Anyway, I totally agree it’s confused about it’s audience being IT vs finance. But in some ways, doesn’t that mirror the PPS experience completely? But that said, like PPS it’s possible to create an interface between IT and Finance, but how to actually achieve a viable one is the secret sauce. (not that PPS perfected it by any means)

  2. Hello Alan,

    Do you know if there are code samples about this paper’s suggested approach?


  3. May I simply just say what a relief to discover someone
    who genuinely understands what they’re talking about on the web. You actually know how to bring an issue to light and make it important. More people ought to look at this and understand this side of the story. It’s surprising you’re not more popular given that you most certainly have the gift.

  4. Thanks for finally writing about >Planning, Budgeting,
    and Forecasting for the Office of Finance White Paper Alan
    Whitehouse’s Ramblings <Loved it!

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