I have had several situations where someone asks me “Who decided this should be the number?” It is a common question and part of the disconnect that happens when several people are collaborating on a budget or forecast. Sometimes a single assumption can cause a significant ripple and you want to understand why someone chose the number they input. Without a change record, you open yourself up to errors and lack of accountability.
How do I get change records by user?
Having an audit trail of who did what comes down to what tool you are planning in. If you are planning in Excel, you would need to know the whole map of connections put together to get the comprehensive number. It can also be really tough to figure out where the variances are, since Excel is based on formulas and they don’t have the greatest drill-down reporting capability. If you do end up finding where the data originated from, you still need to hope that the users were using comments on the cell.
What is the best tool for accountability?
Some planning systems, like Oracle’s PBCS, offer the ability to see who made what change. Many of these tools require you to enable this functionality, and you would likely need a Smart View query on one screen, and a planning form on another to get to the answer.
In short, the best tool I have seen for tracking changes and providing accountability to a number is Adaptive Insights. For example, you can easily set up a graph in a dashboard that allows you to click a graph point and drill in by the applicable dimensions.
Once you get to the number you find causing the variance via the graph, you can click again and select ‘Explore Data’. The tool automatically shows the audit trail for any forecasted data. This is inherent functionality that comes with any Adaptive Insights environment.
The Adaptive Insights platform is such an integrated solution, that a user can click right from a dashboard to a form, to the data, and back in a matter of seconds. And none of this functionality needs to be configured or enabled. It is all out of the box.
If you are interested in seeing a demo of this technology or want to learn what other benefits it can offer, connect with the eCapital team. Or visit the Adaptive website to learn more about what their platform can do.