Our experience has shown that planning solutions range from the very simple, only requiring a modicum of technology to facilitate a client’s needs, through to sophisticated enterprise level multi-company modelling solutions.At the high end of the market there are very expensive tools which purport to deliver high end functionality. Our tools are not designed to compete with these products but our belief is that many planning solutions do not need that level of sophistication and indeed many of these tools end up with a high degree of customisation, and the additional cost required to develop this.Ultimately the cost/benefit is unique to each organisation and we believe in offering informed choice. In the most recent versions of Analysis Services, writeback performance is strong and when augmented with an Excel or Web based front end like XLCubed it is a great choice for many businesses. Where the business requirement is more involved or complex, it can be difficult to achieve this in native Analysis Services, and XLCubed offer an extension to enable full customisation of the writeback calculation and spreading process.
Reporting Services and PerformancePoint Services are primarily tools which help IT deliver reporting and dashboards to the business. While this model can work we often hear that neither party is happy in this arrangement. The business want to be in a position to turn around their own reporting requirements quickly if they need to, without a formal internal request process. IT want to focus on the core application support activity and planned new project work rather than 'firefighting' the latest specific reporting request.
FluenceXL delivers managed self service reporting where IT is typically responsible for the data warehouse and cubes, for performance and data integrity, and the business is in control of their reporting and dashboard requirements. FluenceXL requires no programming or query syntax knowledge, and can readily be picked up by business users already familiar with Excel. In many cases we have also seen IT teams choose FluenceXL because of the lengthy report development time which can be associated with building non-trivial reports in Reporting Services, or due to a lack of flexibility in Performance Point.