April 7, 2015

Silicon Angle

Host Analytics aims to address problem of islands of Excel

Host Analytics Inc. is expanding its cloud-based performance management platform with a new modeling service that centralizes planning across the enterprise. The addition aims to address the lack of coordination that too often exists between the financial department and the rest of the organization.

Business divisions rely more on their data than ever before, but much of the modeling  performed to extract meaning from that information is still carried out the old-fashioned way, using Excel. The unwieldiness of the format makes it difficult to synchronize the calculations with the balance sheets, which is detrimental when the resulting decisions have a tangible impact on the bottom line.

That’s especially true in faster-moving parts of an organization like the sales force, where the operational calculus can change from day to day. As Host Analytics product marketing head Janette Kosior explained to SiliconANGLE, even short-term shifts in key factors such as anticipated bookings and commission rates make a noticeable difference.

Yet in the typical environment, those fluctuations will only appear in the department’s model while the rest of the organization continues to operate according to a financial plan created in beginning of the month. By the time that the changes find their way into the accounting calculations, decisions will have already been made based on the inaccurate data.

Compounded across every unit that carries out its modeling in isolation, that adds up to a potentially significant discrepancy that not only creates more work for the financial team but also makes it more difficult to balance the budgetary requirements of the different departments. That ends up hampering operations, a situation Host Analytics promises to help avoid with the new addition to its platform.

The modeling service brings collaboration features that allow an analyst to create a report in Excel and synchronize their work to the vendor’s cloud, where it’s made accessible to the rest of their organization, including the financial department. There’s also built-in analytics functionality that make it possible to create plans directly through a browser and then view the results on a mobile device.

The service is built directly into Host Analytics’ platform, which allows workers to access and act upon information in the same environment. The launch marks the latest milestone in the company’s efforts to narrow the gaps in performance management, which previously saw the introduction of an integrated planning service for sales personnel last year.