Most businesses are planning to grow in one way or another: perhaps an expansion via diversification and acquisition; achieving deeper access to their markets; or simply a better management of their offering.

SMEs will have these aims, just in the same way as larger organisations, but will often view products such as IBM® Planning Analytics as too expensive or solely aimed at bigger businesses.

This is not the case. IBM® Planning Analytics works in such a way that it suits any size of enterprise. The product is fully scalable and can grow and adapt as the environment it is used to analyse develops. There are also various pricing enticements aimed at SMEs, based on the number of users and which packages are chosen.

Rather than waiting until the business grows to a certain size, a key benefit of implementing an entry-level package is the avoidance of software changes at a later date. With IBM® Planning Analytics in place from the outset, all development occurs incrementally, which is far more manageable for the organisation.

Take the following example, which would normally sit as an Excel spreadsheet activity within SMEs:

For a company with eight business units, the planning cycle would, at best, require eight forecast and eight budget workbooks, not including the spreadsheets feeding the exercise. If the number of business were to double the size of the spreadsheet system would be immediately doubled as well.

This can be replaced with one centrally controlled application, a single version for the entire organisation. In IBM® Planning Analytics, it would take mere seconds to add eight new elements to the business unit dimension, making them instantly available for everyone through the application.

We would argue that as soon as two or more people start to use the same spreadsheet, you should be looking at using IBM® Planning Analytics. Time previously spent crunching data can be transferred to value-added analysis, helping smaller businesses to have a bigger impact.

With the advent of Cloud technology, the management of hardware and software has transferred to the vendor, removing both the need to control it within your organisation and the potential headache of keeping up with software releases

In this age of gathering data and transforming it into useful information, continuing reliance on spreadsheets because you are ‘too small’ could hand the initiative and growth to your competitors.

Why not contact Spitfire Analytics to see what is possible and implement a tool for the future that will grow with your business.

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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