Making better decisions doesn’t always require more data. Finding the right data and making sure the right people have it at the right time does. This is particularly important for companies that use the cloud.
Using cloud financial planning solutions is an excellent way to automate, extend, and align goals with business outcomes in light of the cloud’s complexity. The solution can also help eliminate cumbersome, error-prone manual processes.
The following guide walks you through seven cloud FP&A solutions that you can use today to avoid surprise cloud costs or missed cloud ROI targets. But first, let’s provide some context on cloud financial planning and analysis.
What Is Cloud Financial Planning?
According to Gartner, cloud financial planning and analysis is a method companies use to manage financial modeling, planning, budgeting, and reporting on performance in the cloud.
But doing all this manually takes a lot of time, drains employee morale, and is prone to error. By using financial planning automation, you can collect the right data at the right time to make timely decisions that optimize cloud resource usage, costs, and performance.
This is where cloud financial planning and analysis platforms come in.
What Is Cloud Financial Planning Software?
By combining all your cloud plans, processes, and data in a single platform, cloud FP&A software can help your organization easily monitor, control, and optimize all finance and operations activities before, during, and after implementation.
Cloud financial planning solutions automate analyzing historical cost patterns to predict future resource utilization and costs. As a result, finance, operations, and other stakeholders can make quick and informed decisions that produce desired results.
7 Cloud Financial Planning Solutions To Help Optimize Your Cloud Spend
Here are some tools that will help you provide your cloud decision-makers with concise, accurate, timely, and actionable information — without endlessly crunching numbers in Excel.
CloudZero provides a full-featured continuous planning solution for FP&A teams and SaaS companies. Using CloudZero, you can turn real-time and historical cloud cost telemetry into accurate, contextual, and actionable financial insights.
The following are some benefits you can gain from CloudZero:
- Unit cost insight – See how much each feature, dev team, project, etc., costs to support so your engineering teams can build cost-efficient software and increase profitability.
- Cost per customer – See how much you spend to support specific customers, so you can make informed decisions around your pricing and renewal strategies.
- Cloud Budgets – Create custom financial plans that you can stick to and receive notifications in Slack or email if you go over budget or reach a preset threshold, so you can better manage your spending.
- SaaS COGS analysis – Link your cost of goods sold to the specific people, products, and processes that produce them to determine where you can maximize your gross margin.
- Insight into Kubernetes costs – Take advantage of containerized applications, multi-tenant architectures, and Kubernetes clusters without the risk of surprise costs.
- Cost anomaly detection and alerting – Automatically detect unusual metrics or cost spikes and send alerts to the right person to prevent wasteful spending.
Engineers, finance teams, and executives can use CloudZero Dimensions to know who, what, and why their cloud costs are changing so that they can more accurately forecast and allocate cloud costs. Schedule a demo here.
2. AWS Budgets
AWS Budgets enable you to set custom spending plans on AWS for a specific period. You can also set email or Amazon SNS alerts to go off and notify you if your AWS usage or costs exceed your set budget or are on pace to exceed your desired threshold.
For example, AWS Budgets can notify you when you spend a certain percentage of your budget. You can also set alerts to notify you if you go over your budget by a certain amount. For example, you can opt to be notified if your Reserved Instances and Savings Plans usage drops below a specific level.
3. Adaptive Planning By Workday
Formerly Adaptive Insights, Adaptive Planning is a good choice if you need a cloud financial planning solution that goes beyond strictly FP&A capabilities. Adaptive Planning provides workforce, sales, financial planning, and FP&A capabilities such as modeling, forecasting, collaboration, and analytics.
A solution like this appeals to enterprises looking for seamless data integration automation, a unified view across the company, and world-class security. This platform is popular for its spreadsheet-like reports, OfficeConnect tool for connecting MS Office, and the ability to lock versions.
Anaplan is also a cloud-only provider of analytics and planning for finance, workforce, sales, supply chain, and marketing. Connected Planning, a platform feature, helps companies deliver continuous sensing and iteration in a scaled, automated manner. As a result, it makes for an ideal cloud FP&A solution for enterprises.
Anaplan lets you use real-time analytics to assess options and trade-offs for course-correcting your plans and their implementation in the cloud. By sharing the insights with all stakeholders, all units will have the information to maximize their contribution.
The Vena Complete Planning platform is a cloud-based, business-wide planning solution for cross-functional teams to integrate their data and secure it on a single, secure platform. Vena combines an OLAP cube technology with an Excel interface, so it’s intuitive to use at scale.
The solution’s capabilities span from budgeting and allocation for finance to cash flow planning and tax provisioning business-wide. The company also offers what-if analyses, financial close management, and comprehensive strategic planning in line with its “growth engine” slogan.
With Planful, companies can create structured yet dynamic plans in a single platform. You can also use Planful to run ad hoc financial and operational analyses, what-if scenarios, and models to determine how your plans may change.
The platform offers automated and continual forecasting tools. So, Planful supports collaborative workflow or process management, data consolidation, and board presentations that drive strategic planning.
7. Oracle Hyperion, Essbase, And PBCS
Oracle offers both on-premises and cloud-based FP&A tools. With Oracle Hyperion, you can centrally manage planning, budgeting, and forecasting at scale. Essbase provides a powerful platform for testing and modeling complex business assumptions in on-premises and cloud environments with what-if analysis.
As you navigate through the complexity of the cloud landscape, the Planning and Budgeting Cloud Service (PBCS) can help you make sense of your goals and progress dynamically.
Oracle provides these capabilities through mobile, Microsoft Office, and desktop interfaces.
Forecast And Understand Your Costs With Cloud Cost Intelligence
Think about involving more than just finance or FinOps program stakeholders when choosing your cloud FP&A solution. Ideally, the solution you choose should also enable your engineers and finance professionals to speak the same language.
That’s why we designed CloudZero as an observability platform rather than another traditional finance tool. CloudZero’s cloud cost intelligence platform allows you to manage ongoing planning, budgeting, and forecasting from a single source of truth.
Using this approach, engineering, finance, and C-suite can collaborate on cloud financial management to control costs at every stage of cloud transformation — from migration to cost optimization. to learn how CloudZero can transform your cloud FP&A program within hours, not months.