Cloud-based Planning Analytics lightens the load of financial planning

DNA decided to replace its legacy financial planning solution with IBM Planning Analytics on Cloud. DNA’s trusted partner Solita implemented the migration without a hitch, one application at a time. The new solution has made the critical planning processes much smoother. Users also praise the easy interface.

There’s no need to steer financial software projects with a firm hand. One of the leading telecommunications companies in Finland knows this well. When DNA decided to upgrade to the new cloud-based IBM Planning Analytics solution, Solita implemented an agile migration, improving existing applications on the go. The goal was frictionless financial planning.

“We wanted to implement the change quickly. In addition to technical migration, old planning models were tweaked so that the solution would better serve our controllers. With Solita’s support, we proceeded in a straightforward manner and launched the new cloud-based solution in record time,” says DNA’s Group Business Controller Juho Ansio.

The benefits of Planning Analytics

  • Easy interface saves time and effort for both controllers and the administrator.

  • A modern solution enables smooth financial planning in one place.

  • The cloud-based solution is cost-effective and simple to maintain.

More than just a move to the cloud

DNA’s finance team had been using IBM Cognos TM1 (also implemented by Solita) and its predecessor for around ten years. While it covered the basics, the on-premise solution no longer served the financial planning of a front-running company in the best possible way. In 2018, DNA decided to switch to Planning Analytics, IBM’s next generation solution in the cloud. It was only natural that DNA’s long-time partner Solita would fulfill the wish.

While the idea was to take the existing planning applications to Planning Analytics, the team wouldn’t be set with mere data migration. At the same time, they wanted to improve some of the problems recognised with the old planning models and make everyday life easier for the users. Furthermore, they wanted to start using the new solution as soon as possible.

"With Solita's support, we proceeded in a straightforward manner and launched the new cloud-based solution in record time.” Juho Ansio, Group Business Controller, DNA

Fast results with flexible collaboration

A close-knit team of four – half Solita, half DNA – was free to move forward. No guidelines, no strict timetables. Only cooperation, flexibility and trust.

Applications were migrated to Planning Analytics one at a time. First, rolling forecasts were up and running. Next, activity-based costing was ready, and finally, fixed asset management. In the fall of 2019, the entire palette had been migrated to the cloud and the old solution was laid to rest.

An element of suspense came from the decision to launch the first application in the middle of DNA’s busiest budgeting period. Courage and confidence in Solita carried the team over the finishing line.

“Our ambition was just to move forward. Controllers entered budget figures in the old system, the project team carried out the technical cutover, and controllers continued their work on Planning Analytics. Everything hit the mark. Users received training and Solita supported with questions,” Juho Ansio recalls.

Business Analyst Ulla Annala is the main user of Planning Analytics at DNA. She praises the low threshold for implementation. “Learning a new system is always somewhat exciting, but our users embraced the new solution painlessly. Their feedback has been unanimous: simple, easy to use, and quick to learn,” she says.

“As the administrator, I usually hear feedback only when there are problems. Things have been quiet.”Ulla Annala, Business Analyst, DNA

Smooth financial planning in one place

The benefits of Planning Analytics manifest in the users’ daily lives. With the user-friendly interface, DNA’s business controllers work on forecasts, perform segment calculations, and manage fixed assets. The solution also serves as a source for reporting.

Planning Analytics has made life easier for the administrator as well. No longer does Ulla Annala have to jump between different systems. “The new interface enables a lot since everything happens in one place. Making changes is easy and flexible. And version updates are delivered into the system without downtime. ”

The cloud-based solution is cost-effective and simple to maintain. There have been very few technical issues, and Solita has treated small hick-ups in a matter of minutes.

“As the administrator, I usually hear feedback only when there are problems. Things have been quiet,” says Annala.

The basic applications are now in power use, but the team has plenty of development ideas. Planning Analytics offers a variety of capabilities which DNA and Solita assess together. Tight-knit teamwork is important for partners who have been solving various information management and analytics challenges together for more than 10 years.

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