The most serious problems encountered in the use of a planning and budgeting product are directly related to the product itself.

Results from The Planning Survey offer evidence that Excel users experience many more problems than users of specialist planning software products. Only 10 percent of Excel users say they have no significant problems at all, compared to 44 percent of specialist planning software users.

Moreover, Excel users struggle with general problems like ‘lack of planning specific functionality’ (which is a declaration of bankruptcy for a product intended to be used for planning purposes), ‘product cannot handle data volume’, ‘product cannot handle number of users’ and ‘lack of reporting/analysis functionality/integration’.

These results clearly underpin the importance of a thorough software selection process with a detailed analysis of requirements and a comprehensive study of the market. Choosing the product that most closely matches these requirements will help to avoid many of the aforementioned problems.

Results showing the most common problems with planning and budgeting software

What, if any, are the most serious problems your business users have encountered in the use of your product? Products vs. Excel (n=835), Best-in-Class vs. Laggards, (n=121)

An impressive 74 percent of best-in-class companies say they have encountered no significant problems in the use of their planning and budgeting product. By contrast, only 21 percent of laggards, who often use Excel as their main planning product, have no significant problems.

Problems such as ‘software difficult to use/not user-friendly’, ‘slow query performance’ and ‘lack of reporting/analysis functionality/integration’ point to cardinal mistakes in the software selection process.