Budgeting, forecasting, and planning processes come with a variety of challenges, even for the most organized enterprises. Many teams start the process with Excel spreadsheets, but this quickly gets messy and hard to manage, especially for larger organizations. 

When you have multiple teams handling the same data in different spreadsheets, things quickly devolve into confusion. There’s no single source of truth to refer to, so teams spend more time sorting through files than interacting with their data. 

The need for a reliable platform surrounded by an entire ecosystem that works seamlessly together is more important than ever. Today’s enterprise teams are transitioning to a broader planning strategy that touches every department in the organization. And their toolset needs to be robust enough to keep up with the times.

The Shift to xP&A

FP&A strategies have shown just how valuable data is when planning your organization’s future. Many enterprises are now taking this one step further with xP&A. 

What is xP&A?

Extended planning and analysis, or xP&A, is an approach to collaborative planning across your organization. xP&A uses financial planning tools and data for other purposes outside of finance. This approach brings multiple departments together to tell a complete story with your data. 

This new approach is often used for sales, inventory, workforce management, and CapEx planning in addition to financial planning. Any part of your organization that collects data will benefit from xP&A strategies.  

What Are the Benefits of xP&A? 

xP&A results in collaborative decision-making across departments, which benefits the entire organization simultaneously. These cross-functional decisions use a single source of truth—the data you’re already managing in Power BI. 

Every decision made in your organization has a downstream effect, which is why having your data in one place is so valuable. 

For example, when HR hires a new employee, it directly affects the finance department. P&L statements need to be updated, which may then change existing projections or budgets. 

Using an xP&A approach minimizes miscommunications between departments for smoother operations. It also facilitates more efficient and confident decision-making. 

Acterys is Now Microsoft’s xP&A Tool of Choice

Since a strong xP&A strategy brings multiple departments and separate systems into the mix, a reliable connection between all of these moving parts is crucial. Which is why Microsoft now has an xP&A tool of choice: Acterys.

Acterys, a financial reporting and planning solution built around the Microsoft ecosystem, recently signed a significant licensing agreement with Microsoft to include their xP&A technology with Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 xP&A offering.

The Acterys xP&A Suite seamlessly integrates and combines information from multiple sources by storing data in a cloud-based repository. It generates dynamic dashboards and facilitates AI-powered planning processes with high-speed writeback capabilities while incorporating popular enterprise tools, such as Azure Cloud, Power BI, Teams, and Excel.

Key Benefits of Acterys and Microsoft

The collaborative relationship between Acterys and Microsoft gets robust planning capabilities into the hands of more Power BI users. The strengths of both platforms are combined, giving users a more effective solution for their xP&A strategy. 

Time Savings

While the ability to create complex data outputs for planning and analysis is one of Power BI’s biggest strengths, the need to jump back and forth between Power BI and planning platforms becomes time-consuming.

Acterys’ writeback capabilities eliminate this need by helping teams work within a single platform. Instead of having to jump around to different systems every time you make changes to your data, you’re able to manipulate data and have it sent back to your database in real-time. 

A Single Source of Truth

In addition to the time savings that writeback capabilities introduce, perhaps more importantly, these capabilities allow your enterprise team to maintain a single source of truth.

Since all of your data inputs are pulled back into Power BI in real-time, you don’t have to worry about juggling Excel spreadsheets or manually exporting data back and forth. Previously, when you had to rely on those manual processes, inconsistencies in your data were bound to appear.

Since Acterys now writes back your data, all of these updates happen automatically, giving you the most accurate data to reference in your visualizations and KPIs. 

Data Storage

Standards for data security and storage can vary from organization to organization, and Acterys allows you to choose the storage location that suits your needs. 

While a cloud-based storage option is available, Acterys can also accommodate security standards that call for on-premise or hybrid data storage.

Self-Service Builds

We love Power Apps for its self-service capabilities, but Acterys provides a more specific xP&A alternative when building apps. 

Acterys really shines when it comes to more complex scenarios, like concurrent write-back, where you have multiple people updating and adding comments and you need to keep track of audit logs.

Since the Acterys platform is all self-service, it allows business users to create this infrastructure without having to rely heavily on IT. These processes improve scalability across your organization, from simple data input all the way up to complex generative AI features. 

The Power of Collectiv, Power BI, and Acterys Together

We’re all humans, and at the end of the day, we don’t like change.

When you force people into different systems and they have to click twelve times to get to the screen that they’re most used to using, it’s going to derail the overall implementation and the ROI of that application. 

By combining the power of Acterys, Power BI, and Collectiv, your enterprise will be able to tailor the user experience for each individual department and increase user adoption. Not only will your teams be happier, but they’ll also get the data where it needs to be to make strategic business decisions.

Ready to make the most of what Power BI and Acterys have to offer? Schedule a call to partner with Collectiv’s expert consultants.