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Planning software: how satisfied users are and what common challenges they face

The Planning Survey 21 The Results document: Chapter 3
Satisfaction In general, companies are satisfied with their planning products. The majority of respondents in this year’s Planning Survey said they were ‘very satisfied’ or ‘somewhat satisfied’ with their specialized planning software products (see Figure 1). However, Excel, which is not designed specifically for planning, has the highest level of dissatisfaction with 22 percent of users claiming to be ‘somewhat dissatisfied’ or ‘very dissatisfied’ with Excel as a planning tool. In contrast, the following products have the highest levels of satisfaction, based on the total percentage of ‘very satisfied’ customers. OneStream (83 percent) LucaNet (79 percent) macs Software (77 percent) Valsight (73 percent) Serviceware Performance (72 percent) Figure 1: To what degree are you satisfied with your planning tool? Specialized planning products (n=945) vs. Excel (n=127) Challenges First and foremost, no single category of significant problems is cited as frequently as ‘No significant problems’, demonstrating that a large portion of respondents (47 percent) do not experience serious issues when using planning tools. Figure 2 shows that ‘Performance too slow’ is the most common problem encountered during planning implementations (18 percent) followed by a number of issues related to the organization of the customer as well as product, features and functions. A planning tool not capable of serving the needs of a customer is likely to have many detrimental effects and several benefits simply cannot be achieved. This is a clear call to make a careful selection and not to risk failing to realize the potential benefits from using planning tools such as improved planning and CPM, competitiveness and monetization. Figure 2: What are the most serious problems you have encountered using your product? (n=923) Figure 3offers evidence that Excel users experience many more problems than users of specialized planning software products. Only 5 percent of Excel users say they have no significant problems at all, compared to 47 percent of specialized planning software users. Moreover, Excel users struggle with general problems such as ‘cannot handle large data volumes’ (47 percent), ‘poor data governance’ (41 percent) and ‘performance too slow’ (29 percent). These results clearly emphasize the importance of a thorough software selection process with a detailed analysis of requirements and a comprehensive study of the market. Choosing the product that most closely matches these requirements will help to avoid many of the problems listed in Figure 3. Figure 3: What, if any, are the most serious problems your business users have encountered in the use of your product? Specialized planning products (n=934) vs. Excel (n=129) An impressive 77 percent of leaders say they have encountered no significant problems in the use of their planning product (see Figure 4). By contrast, only 19 percent of laggards – who often use Excel as their main planning product – have no significant problems. Problems experienced by laggards such as ‘performance too slow’ (27 percent), ‘software difficult to use’ (14 percent) and ‘missing key product features’ (11 percent) point to mistakes in the software selection process. Figure 4: What, if any, are the most serious problems your business users have encountered in the use of your product? Leaders vs. laggards (n=179)

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Dr. Christian Fuchs
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