In Part 6 of this series, we initiated an assignment workflow, enabling our users to contribute, review and/or approve data entry in response to notifications. In this short post, we continue our journey through a PPS Plan cycle, using the PPS Add-in for Excel to submit or review budget data within a model, and, managing the state of the data-entry or review assignment with PPS Planning Business Modeler (PBM).
7.1 Entering Budget Data
Back in Excel, a contributor is able to see his/her new assignment in the PerformancePoint Action pane. Clicking on it retrieves an instance of the form template from the Planning server. In Figure 7.1 below, we see the open form associated to our assignment, with a region of yellow indicating where we may insert data.
Although the primary purpose of data entry is for submitting budget data, recall that we can also use data entry in concert with business rules to perform what-if analysis; here, setting up a review-only assignment would be ideal for such situations.
Another collaborative feature carried forward from Business Scorecard Manager (BSM) 2005 is the annotation. Annotations provide users with opportunities to further qualify a specific value with commentary-- in BSM 2005, a user with sufficient rights could add an annotation to any cell in a scorecard. In the PPS Add-in for Excel, annotations are aligned to a data entry cell, and the annotations themselves are stored within the Application Database (SQL Server 2005). On subsequent examination of data entry, for example, a reviewer may gain further insight on a specific budgetary value, or, if the assignment is defined appropriately, then a reviewer may add further commentary as well. Figures 7.2 and 7.3 illustrate the basic steps towards creating an annotation: right-clicking on the yellow data-entry cell, selecting ‘Annotations’ from the context menu and entering text for the annotation.
A subtle yet handy feature associated with annotations is the annotation view of the matrix. When this view is enabled, cells with annotations are shaded, helping a reviewer to quickly identify where a contributor has added a comment (see Figure 7.4).
Once satisfied with data entry, our contributor needs to publish either a draft or final submission of their work to the Planning server. Draft submissions allow for subsequent modifications by contributors, while final submissions prevent such users from submitting further changes via the input form. Users in reviewer and approval roles can also publish their work to the Planning server, with different options to mark their submissions as reviewed or approved. Figure 7.5 shows how the user may submit contributions using the PerformancePoint Action pane.
7.2 Managing Assignments
The “contribute/examine in Excel and submit to PPS Plan” paradigm changes the state of the assignment on the Planning server, causing successive workflow tasks to execute. We can use PBM to monitor progress of an assignment as well as pre-emptively purge, stop or restart it where necessary. PerformancePoint Planning CTP2 documentation describes six states (Table 7.2) an assignment may be in at any given time during a cycle.
These assignment states can be managed from the PBM Process Management workspace using the ‘Available Actions’ menu item covered in Part 6. There are nine actions in total (CTP2) which can be performed against a given assignment, depending on the PBM role of the user. Table 7.3 aligns these actions to said roles.
This shorter post rounds out the overall discussion on implementing a budget cycle. All the previous topics in this series broadly describe how PPS Planning may be used to design and develop a business model covering a specific facet of an organisation.
In a previous post adopting a 1:1 approach was suggested, using a specific business model for a given budgeting domain; here, the input form we use as the key interface to a business model reinforces this view towards optimizing the user (contributor/analyst) experience. Nevertheless, most (if not all) businesses require a master budget from which budgeted financial reports are generated, and, this situation often requires consolidation once supporting budgets are complete (e.g., for sales, direct labour, raw materials purchases, capital expenditure, etc.). In large diversified companies, consolidation is a more complex exercise often involving additional intercompany and share-allocation processes-- fortunately, as we addressed in Part 4, PPS Plan offers variety of business rule sets and flexibility in customizing business rules to support budgeting needs from the small business to the large enterprise.
In the next and final post of this series, we will briefly revisit the role of business rules and rule sets in consolidating individual budgets and a few options at our disposal for creating financial reports.
- Adrian Downes