Microsoft has recently announced it will no longer offer budgeting and forecasting module Microsoft Forecaster in Dynamics GP 2016.

Since this announcement, I’ve heard from a few current and prospective ERP clients. These clients say they’re curious about third party budgeting and forecasting platforms. Are they necessary? Which is best? Is Management Reporter really an adequate substitute for Microsoft Forecaster in Dynamics GP?
In this post, I’d like to show you:
• how budgeting and forecasting tools add value to ERP solutions
• what every ERP user should expect from budgeting and forecasting products
• how to choose the right budgeting and forecasting product for your organisation.


Why supplement your ERP solution with budgeting and forecasting software?

At Professional Advantage, we’re big fans of ERP platforms like Dynamics GP, Dynamics AX and Infor SunSystems. For the right organisation, there’s no better way to gain control of financials, manage inventory or drive growth.
However, some clients may find these tools have limited out-of-the-box budgeting and forecasting capabilities. They may lack advanced controls, security and automation features.
To create accurate and realistic budgets, it’s often worth supplementing your ERP system with a third party budgeting and forecasting product. Without one, it’s easy to end up under a pile of Excel budget spreadsheets that are time-consuming to maintain.
You can prevent these headaches by complementing your ERP system with a product that includes functionality like:
• budgeting and forecasting
• support for organisational planning
• workflows
• data capture
• business modelling
• predictive modelling.


Which standalone budgeting and forecasting tool is right for you?
Just as there’s no one-size-fits-all ERP platform, the right budgeting and forecasting tool will depend on your unique requirements.
Is there an organisational need for a scalable solution that reduces latency, ensures consistency and shares processes with other teams and systems? Or does the client have a low-level need that would work best as a report?
I prefer to recommend products to clients once I understand what they need, and why they need it. However, I can give you a rough indication of which budgeting and forecasting tools work best in which scenarios.
At Professional Advantage, we specialise in two budgeting and forecasting tools:
• Infor BI
Infor BI and BOARD can meet the requirements for a forecast plan process as well as handling workflows, data capture and business modelling – including maintainable assumptions, inputs and staging. All of these occur in a robust, configured, fit-for-purpose application.
With these capabilities in mind, let’s take a look at which product may fit your needs.


“I want to avoid using multiple finance software products”
I know many organisations are reluctant to purchase a third party budgeting and forecasting product. Why? Because it’s one more tool to add to an ever-expanding finance software toolkit.
Organisations of a certain size, or with complex financials, often need more than just ERP and budgeting and forecasting capabilities. They also need business intelligence and financial reporting.
Maintaining, supporting and upgrading multiple software products can get expensive. And that’s without factoring in time and cost of keeping staff skills up-to-date.
If you want to avoid headaches like this, I’d recommend choosing BOARD. BOARD combines budgeting and forecasting, business intelligence, financial reporting and corporate performance management in a single product.
With BOARD, all key finance activities take place in one location. And since staff only need to learn how to use one product, they’re better at retaining skills to use the platform optimally.


“I need to replace Management Reporter and Forecaster in Dynamics GP 2016”
If you’ve upgraded to Dynamics GP 2016, chances are you’re looking for an alternative to Management Reporter and Forecaster.
Power BI and Qlik can both fill that gap. They also add extra value with visual analysis and insights that Management Reporter and Forecaster are unable to provide.
However, if you’d prefer to replace Management Reporter and Forecaster with an all in one budgeting and forecasting product, BOARD or Infor BI might be a better fit.


“I want to leverage the wide range of business data stored by my organisation”
Your organisation collects vast amounts of data every day. To use this data for planning, you may need to support your ERP system’s integrated planning capabilities with BOARD.
Both Infor BI and BOARD gives ERP users the ability to plan across systems, leverage a wider range of business data and simulate new scenarios. In short, making planning more agile and nimble.


Learn more about streamlining budgeting and forecasting
If you’d like to find out how your organisation could benefit from streamlined budgeting and forecasting, come to Professional Advantage’s Streamlining Budgeting and Forecasting event this June. Learn more and register here.


You can read more about how Professional Advantage helps clients with Infor BI and BOARD here.

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