Building Allocation Solutions in Excel Vs Oracle Cloud PCM
The previous blog in this series, Why Oracle Cloud PCM Is the Right Tool for Allocation Solutions, established, at a high level, that Oracle Cloud PCM is purpose-built for allocation solutions and should be your tool of choice when looking at developing an allocation solution for any of the identified use cases. But let’s dig into the details, starting with investigating why we should look at building for allocation solutions in Oracle Cloud PCM rather than Excel.
Below is a list of benefits when developing our allocation solution in Oracle Cloud PCM rather than Excel:
Let us unpack the image in more detail.
A Systematic and Documented Approach to Allocations
Excel is amazing in its ability to accommodate almost any basic task in our corporate world, but it has limitations. Allocation solutions built in Excel have no pre-defined approach to allocations, no defined data integration strategy, no pre-defined best practices for the implementation of allocation methodology, no pre-defined reports, and little no controls or governance. In a nutshell, Excel is the wild west of allocation solutions, anything goes!
Oracle Cloud PCM is a mature product that has been purpose-built to be an allocation solution. Implementations have well-developed approaches with widely accepted best practices and documentation. The access to the solution can be controlled with varying levels of access available and can be audited with much greater confidence and efficiency than Excel solutions.
Allocation Methodology Transparency and Visibility
Enjoy creating Excel spreadsheets with thousands of vlookups (or hlookups, or even xlookups, if you are lucky) to multiple spreadsheets mixed in with a few hundred sum and sumifs and other Excel functions? If so, Excel allocation solutions are for you!
If you are like the rest of us that do not like spending our days tweaking Excel formulas, trying to find out where we missed a bracket and/or find which one of our linked spreadsheets has not been updated and/or is no longer there, Oracle PCM is for you! Oracle PCM is focused on providing a business user-focused user interface that allows for visibility into the allocations and traceability of the results. Users will spend less time analyzing the results of the solution than trying to figure out what and where something has gone wrong.
Reduction in Manual Effort and User Errors with Integration and Automation
Excel solutions take effort to maintain. They often contain multiple spreadsheets that must be sourced and then updated, formulas often must be modified, and reports manually updated and then distributed. Of course, most of us know too well the dreaded #VALUE or similar error that routinely pops up in Excel, but what about the less obvious errors? How about when something goes wrong, and someone only picks up the issue because of familiarity with the numbers? How do you figure out what went wrong? Was it an issue with the source data? Was it a vlookup or another Excel function that was not written correctly? Often the only solution is to try and trace back each step, which can be incredibly painful.
As Oracle Cloud PCM is a purpose-built allocation solution, part of its appeal for many clients is the ability to integrate with various ERP and EPM applications (both in the cloud and on-premise). Also, it generates results that can be easily traced and can be automated. This leads to significant time savings in manual effort, and a reduction in user-generated errors and ultimately leaves more time for analysis of the results.
Accurate and Repeatable Allocation Process
The ultimate goal of any allocation solution is to produce an accurate and repeatable allocation process. If the recipients of the results of the allocation solution do not trust the output, what was the point of producing it?
Many of the previous points touch on Excel’s struggle with control, user-generated errors, lack of integration, and trouble with visibility and traceability. All these elements lead to a lack of trust in the solution over time. In addition, Excel reporting options are limited and often do not ideally cater to the needs of the target audience.
As discussed in many of the above points, Oracle PCM does not suffer from the same lack of trust in the results generated due to the enablement of proper controls, efficient automation, and integration to other systems, and enhanced visibility and traceability of results. Oracle Cloud PCM is an effective reporting tool with functionality to support ad-hoc reporting through SmartView, standardized reporting through Financial Reports, and/or PCM analytics and dashboards.
Excel is a fantastic tool for the initial development of allocation solutions offering many benefits in the short term. Indeed, many of our allocation solutions start in excel as we start to design and proof out allocation methodology.
However, in the long term, the disadvantages inherent in implementing Excel allocation solutions become apparent. If an organization has sufficient foresight, they can see the warning signs early and develop more control-centric, robust, and traceability solutions in other tools before a problem arises. Others are forced to be reactive and only start to evaluate the alternatives once a key person leaves and they are no longer able to run the process or the financial close is unacceptably extended due to concerns over the solution output.
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