September 19, 2019

For many businesses, annual planning and budgeting for 2020 is just getting underway. For many, the process can be quite painful. The reality is, many companies still rely on Excel as a planning tool, which it’s not. A dedicated business performance tool like Catalyst offers infinitely more depth and flexibility for financial planning and analysis.

Whether your organization wants to take a top down or bottom up approach, Catalyst makes planning a relatively simple and straightforward process that’s free of any roll-up errors, broken formulas and the dreaded “multiple-version” problem you get when you’re passing around spreadsheets the old-fashioned way. You get one source of truth that’s accurate down to the most granular transaction level and completely unbreakable. And the best part is, Catalyst is up and running in just a few short weeks.


Let’s take a look now at 5 ways Catalyst can revolutionize your planning process.


Plan from any framework and at any level

Driving a plan to the ground can be extremely tedious. Catalyst allows you the flexibility to use any framework to build your plan, so you can take the most practical approach for your business, not your planning tool.

Plan by dollars, customer, SKUs, groups of SKUs, departments, regions and more. With a few simple clicks, Catalyst will allocate those dollars down to the lowest levels of granularity, so you can quickly see if your plan is grounded in reality and get an idea of what it will take to meet your numbers.


Plan collaboratively in the Cloud

With Catalyst, you have a completely collaborative tool that enables cloud-based planning. Unlike other financial planning and analysis tools, Catalyst comes with an unlimited number of user licenses, so everyone in your organization can get a seat at the table for true bottom up planning, if you like. Access is customizable by users, groups or departments, so employees only see what you want them to see.

As a truly cloud-based tool, Catalyst eliminates the problem of consolidating multiple versions, making it easy for sales teams or departments to add individual projections to the plan.


Quickly diagnose root causes

One of the most common issues we’ve found with annual planning is the lack of agility and visibility within the plan. Why is this a problem? Without this, as soon as plans get off track, the plan is abandoned, and then you just hope and pray to hit the annual number.

With Catalyst, you get unparalleled visibility to understand if and why things aren’t going according to plan. This allows you to make progressive adjustments and realign as you go, greatly increasing your chances for success as the year goes on. This is a powerful exercise with long-term benefits: when you plan from the bottom-up on a continual basis, all of your teams become more involved with the business and your planning accuracy will improve greatly over time.


Create multiple scenarios

With many planning tools, creating new scenarios requires an IT request and a waiting period. With Catalyst, you can create new scenarios with just a few clicks. This allows you to easily compare multiple scenarios for what-if analysis.

Quickly see the differences between 5% growth and 7%. Compare budgets vs. actuals. Go from 2+10 to 3+9 as soon as the books are closed. Catalyst quickly taps historical data that’s tied down to the most granular level, so you can what happened before and understand the probability of what will happen in the future.


Utilize your Big Data sources

Seeing the cause and effect relationship of variables like point-of-sale data and syndicated data is impossible with most planning tools. In most cases, it requires launching a lengthy and expensive data science project. With Catalyst, these data sources can be right at your fingertips.

Catalyst is built on a Data Lake, which holds all your structured and unstructured data. Using our proprietary Query Tool, you can tap into these sources and see them alongside your transactional data. Depending on the Big Data you’re collecting, you could potentially understand how social media analytics relate to sales numbers, how weather affects profitability or how different trends affect your business. As your different departments are planning the next year, this type of information could make an invaluable impact.

Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg with Catalyst. It’s a revolutionary tool that simplifies your time-eating tasks like monthly variance analysis and empowers your team with game changing insight that allows you to evolve the business and grow your profitability.

Want to see Catalyst in action? Sign up for a free demo or proof of concept:


What planning issues are plaguing your business? Sound off on social media now and join the conversation!