We ended our series of posts about Robertson replacing spreadsheets with IBM® Planning Analytics by referring to the next stage – using Workspace and Planning Analytics for Excel to change the ways in which information is distributed and consumed.

The primary difference this process brings to the finance function is uncovering learnings which would otherwise have remained hidden within an overload of spreadsheets. PAW and PAX allow for the analysis of data to produce insights which drive strong decision making within a business.

The volume of data being produced within organisations is rapidly expanding. These huge collections of information can only provide valuable insight to a business if they are dealt with using the appropriate tools to consolidate and analyse them.

Clean data sets

At the outset, time should be spent drilling into the organisation’s data sets and system to ensure everything is correct. This information will form part of the answers down the line and so shouldn’t be clouded with unnecessary elements. The cleansing process in this initial phases is best repeated every cycle.

Focused planning

Once the data is ready, business logic is used to channel it around the company to the appropriate recipients. Everyone will have a clearer picture of the situation because they are viewing validated data in a targeted fashion, without having to wade through whole workbooks of information in search of the appropriate material.

Strategic Planning

It is incredibly easy to perform what-if planning using the sandboxing facility within the software. Scenarios can be created and drivers of change manipulated in order to create a clearer vision of potential outcomes.

The finance team can predict changes and dynamically drive them through the plan in real time. Currently underperforming areas of the business might deliver surprising results when examined in scenario planning, thereby altering what would have been the organisational reaction to the current situation given added foresight into potential future outcomes.


Using Planning Analytics Workspace, the team can ensure that the same data set is being viewed by users from around the business, with everything originating from a centralised location.

The visualisation tools allow analysts to tell a story with their data; this drives engagement levels higher around the organisation and helps stakeholders to develop more informed opinions. Using graphs and metrics to illustrate conclusions can be extremely useful in guaranteeing buy-in from other parts of the organisation.

The world of analytics is constantly evolving and it can be difficult to keep up but investing in an off-the-bench knowledge base and leveraging Spitfire Analytics’ years of combined experience has helped our clients, including Robertson, to gain faster access to crucial insights and avoid unnecessary pitfalls. Contact us to find out how your business could benefit from our expertise.

Simon Bradshaw

I have worked in finance and business systems development since 2001 and am an associate member of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants. In 2016 I became a founding member of Spitfire Analytics, a consultancy specialising in IBM Planning Analytics. We are committed to building long-term relationships across all industries. I focus on my CPD through CIMA and IBM badges, ensuring I am always abreast of best practice and developments within the industry.


Working with Spitfire Analytics has resulted in the Finance Team becoming an integral part of the business. We are now able to provide analysis and strategic advice on the future direction of the business, rather than spending our time poring over endless spreadsheets.

- Lee Boyle, Finance Director (Engineering), NG Bailey

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