Recently, our Host Analytics team at Cervello did a webinar on Host Analytics Modeling. In case you missed it, we wanted to share with you some background on what Modeling is and convey some of the advantages that Modeling can have on your FP&A and organizational processes.
Modeling is one of the newest product offerings from Host Analytics that was released back in early 2015. Since its release, the Modeling functionality is constantly being improved with new features and functionality that are rolled out on a monthly basis. Although there are constant enhancements happening, the fundamental structure as to what Modeling is capable of has remained consistent.
Modeling is an advanced modeling and analysis tool built on multidimensional technology that leverages data from both the Host Analytics Core Application and other external data sources. The familiar and intuitive Excel interface allows end users to effortlessly manipulate data to create what otherwise would be complex analysis and “what if” scenarios.
With Modeling, there are two main products: Spotlight and Advanced Modeling. The table below outlines both the similarities and differences between the two.
You will notice that both options within Modeling include Excel based reporting. Excel based reporting within Modeling provides more options for formatting reports, such as double underline and more control over alignment, than what is available in the Core Application. Also, you can create graphs off of reports or independently within Modeling. Creating graphs within Modeling is fairly simple and extremely quick to build. These graphs can be viewed individually, as part of a report, or users can construct aesthetically pleasing dashboards that can help the management team in viewing key results. Reports and graphs can be viewed within Excel, as well as via the Web or Mobile interfaces. Having these insightful reports available at the touch of a button allows for approvals and improvements to be made in a much more agile manner. Below is an example of a dashboard in Modeling:
Another tool that is available in Modeling is Interactive Query & Analysis. Within Interactive Query and Analysis, the user is able to manipulate data within a specific model and quickly create views to help analyze the data. These views can be altered very easily by first dragging and dropping the dimensions you need to use to create the view, and then by leveraging the Zoom in/Zoom out functionality. For example, if 2016 is selected on the columns of your view, you can click the Zoom in button to drill down into the quarterly data, and then click again to drill into the monthly data. Once a view is set and saved, it can effortlessly be turned into a report or an input template. Being able to create views within minutes allows analysts to spend their time further analyzing the data and focusing on their Plan, rather than spending hours on data manipulation. Below is an example of what a view can look like:
Sometimes the data that the Finance team needs to complete their analysis, however, is not in the Core Application. This is where Advanced Modeling can be very beneficial. With Advanced Modeling, you can create models that contain data from external sources. These models also allow for extra dimensions that are not in the Core Application. For example, if you wanted to budget your revenue by customer and SKU number, and these dimensions are not in your Core Application, within Modeling you can create a new model with customer and SKU as dimensions. Actuals data by customer and SKU can then be loaded into the model, and a view can be created that serves as an input template so that a Manager could Plan by each customer and SKU. This data can then be summarized and pushed into the Core Application. Having the flexibility of being able to bring in external data to a Model will allow for the creation of a more accurate Plan.
The options for flexible Planning within Modeling are vast and vigorous and will only continue to improve. As you can see, Modeling has a lot to offer through its three key features- Excel based Reporting, Interactive Query & Analysis, and Advanced Modeling. If you have any questions on any of these features or on Modeling in general, please contact us.
Also, be sure to join us for the next installment of our Host Analytics Modeling webinar series as we cover various use cases that you could use for your organization. Happy Modeling!
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