The Future of Planning

Press Release: What It Takes to Make Planning and Forecasting Fit for the Future

PRESS RELEASE – WÜRZBURG, September 29th, 2021

BARC (Business Application Research Center) today published the results of its topical survey “The Future of Planning – Tackling Changed Requirements with Comprehensive Modernization”. Based on a user survey of 401 companies, the study examines the biggest challenges in forecasting and planning today as well as improvements and modernizations that can help organizations to deal with increasing complexity and dynamics. The study is available for download free of charge thanks to sponsorship by Board, Corporate Planning, Jedox, OneStream Software and Unit4.

Key findings:

  • #1: 89 percent of companies think that the predictability of global events with an impact on their business is low to zero
  • #2: Lack of efficiency and excessive bureaucracy are the biggest criticisms of corporate planning today
  • #3: Companies are investing in more detailed planning, simulations and rolling forecasts to tackle increasing challenges

According to a new BARC survey, 89 percent of companies think that predicting global events and future developments with sufficient reliability is not possible. Major global developments such as the pandemic are difficult to foresee and thus even more drastic for many organizations. To be able to face future events and developments in dynamic environments, suitable strategies and measures are needed. While planning and forecasting require substantial modernization in many companies, some have to address more mundane challenges first.

Challenges in planning and forecasting exist in almost every company

“Planning and forecasting are viewed with suspicion in many organizations. They take too long, tie up too many resources, produce high costs and the quality of the results does not reflect the effort involved,” said Robert Tischler, Senior Analyst Data & Analytics at BARC and co-author of the study. The survey results confirm many of these criticisms. Only 5 percent of the companies surveyed state that they currently have no challenges in this area. The key issues relate primarily to the efficiency (40 percent), duration (35 percent) and transparency (33 percent) of planning processes and results (see Figure 1).

Chart: What are your biggest challenges in corporate planning and forecasting at the moment?

Figure 1: What are your biggest challenges in corporate planning and forecasting at the moment? (n=389) © BARC

But what are the root causes of these challenges? The time-consuming consolidation of data from various source systems demands lots of effort, but also delays the provision of vital information. 50 percent of companies state that merging data from many source systems is very time consuming. The need to leverage data from many sources is by far the top cause for many of the challenges companies are currently facing.

“In dynamic business environments, time is money. If organizations make the right decisions based on relevant data faster than their competitors, they can exploit market potential faster than others,” said Tischler. “Fast-changing buying patterns and short-lived trends require companies to continuously forecast and adjust the trajectory of their business. What used to be inconveniences, such as inefficient planning and forecasting and outdated results, are becoming questions of surviving or thriving amid ever fiercer competition. Fast and reliable forecasts help to determine future courses of action. Today, companies require sound automated projections, which in turn require high quality data from a growing number of sources. Not being capable to handle data efficiently and effectively often means not being able to satisfy customers better than competitors.”

Companies are extending the reach of planning and enhancing simulations and forecasts

As most companies are facing severe challenges, they are investing in measures to modernize and enhance their planning and forecasting to tackle changing requirements (see Figure 2).

Chart; In which methodological measures and approaches have you invested?

Figure 2: In which methodological measures and approaches have you invested? (n=165) © BARC

 

The number one measure, pursued by 41 percent of survey respondents, is to extend the scope of planning and forecasting beyond finance by integrating operational sub-plans. Furthermore, investing in more frequent simulations and scenarios was another important measure taken by 40 percent.

“Simulations are essential for understanding alternative courses of action. Done correctly, they provide invaluable information for decision-makers,” said Dr. Christian Fuchs, Senior Analyst Data & Analytics at BARC and co-author of the study. “Increasing dynamics and the associated uncertainty raise the value of simulations for corporate management. They help companies to thoroughly assess and compare potential developments. Many organizations have recognized the benefits of simulations and scenario analyses and have stepped up their use.”

Moreover, the survey results show that 37 percent of companies are investing in switching their year-end forecasts to rolling forecasts. Rolling forecasts provide greater value for management in turbulent times and consume fewer resources than lengthy annual planning. This measure allows companies to cope with increasing dynamics by updating their planning and forecasting more frequently. However, this needs to be flanked by substantial automation and better data management to reach that goal.

About the survey

“The Future of Planning – Tackling Changed Requirements with Comprehensive Modernization” is a topical BARC survey assessing the challenges companies currently face in planning and forecasting due to increased complexity and dynamics and how to overcome them. The study is based on a worldwide survey of 401 companies of various sizes and industry sectors. The focus of the study is to assess what improvements are needed and how it can be ensured that they meet current requirements and move companies forward. The authors of the study are Dr. Christian Fuchs and Robert Tischler, Senior Analysts for Data & Analytics at BARC.

Useful links

Further information about “The Future of Planning” + download links
Infographic

About BARC

BARC (Business Application Research Center) is one of Europe’s leading analyst firms for business software, focusing on the areas of data, business intelligence (BI) and analytics, enterprise content management (ECM) and customer relationship management (CRM). The company was founded in 1999 as a spin-off of the Chair of Business Administration and Information Systems at the Julius-Maximilians-University in Würzburg. Today, BARC combines empirical and theoretical research, technical expertise and practical experience, including a constant exchange with all market participants.

Contact

For further information, please contact:

Regina Schmidt
Communications Manager
Tel: +49 (0) 931 880651-47
Mobile: + 49 (0) 1520 431 82 39
Email: rschmidt@barc.de

The Data Management Survey 22

Press Release: BARC Survey Finds Business User Enablement Is Driving Investment in Data Management

PRESS RELEASE – WÜRZBURG, September 23rd, 2021

The analyst firm BARC published The Data Management Survey 22 today. The third edition of this annual study analyzes feedback from a survey of 1,101 professionals on the selection and use of data management software.

Key trends driving investment

The trends currently driving the most investment in data management initiatives relate to the enablement of business users. These include self-service, the fostering of a data-driven culture, empowerment of business users and data democratization.

Which trends are having the most impact on your data management investments

Figure 1: Which trends are having the most impact on your data management investments (n=1,048)

 

Self-service in particular was highlighted by 60% of respondents and has also been among the top trends over the years in many BARC surveys, such as the Data, BI & Analytics Trend Monitor.

47% of respondents confirmed that the establishment of a data-driven culture is having a significant impact on their investments.

The concept of data democratization – in other words, allowing data access to as many employees as possible – has also been an important factor behind investments in data management for around one in four companies.

“The transformation of data management from pure IT discipline to a collaboration between business and IT is in full swing,” said Timm Grosser, Senior Analyst Data & Analytics at BARC and author of The Data Management Survey 22. “Our survey clearly shows the relevance of business user enablement on investments in data management. In our opinion, this influence will continue to grow in the future as companies increasingly democratize their data and adopt new technological solutions. For this to happen, there has to be a common ground and understanding of data. Closely linked to business user enablement, data governance will therefore also play an essential role, as the survey also indicates.”

Top investment measure is to modernize data and analytics architecture

52% of companies are investing in modernizing their data and analytics architecture.

“The drivers for this are complex,” said Grosser. “Examples include the operationalization of advanced analytics models that require the integration of different systems and processes for optimal operation, or new use cases that require uniform data access to the distributed system landscape. This leads to concepts such as data lakes, data lakehouses and data fabrics that help to provide data from different systems as efficiently as possible. The fact that so many companies are making such investments could be an indication that their historically grown systems no longer meet current needs for flexibility and agility as well as speed.”

What specific data management measures are being invested in

Figure 2: What specific data management measures are being invested in (n=1,035)

 

Extended scope of The Data Management Survey 22

The Data Management Survey 22 has significantly expanded in scope this year. From analyzing user feedback about 12 data management tools last year, the new edition covers 20 software products from a diverse range of vendors. These include industry giants AWS (NASDAQ: AMZN) and Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL); global business software generalists Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT), Oracle (NYSE: ORCL) and SAP (NYSE: SAP); specialists such as Alation, Snowflake (NYSE: SNOW) and TimeXtender; and regional European players including 2150, Dataspot and Synabi.

About the study

The Data Management Survey 22 is the third edition of BARC’s annual study of the data management software market. The study is based on a worldwide survey of 1,101 data management professionals, which addressed questions about their software selection, implementation and usage. Detailed feedback on 20 established data management products is analyzed and compared.

For more information, visit:
https://bi-survey.com/data-management-survey-about

For aggregated product-related results and an online product comparison tool, visit:
https://bi-survey.com/data-management-software-comparison

About BARC

BARC (Business Application Research Center) is one of Europe’s leading analyst firms for business software, focusing on the areas of data, business intelligence (BI) and analytics, enterprise content management (ECM) and customer relationship management (CRM). The company was founded in 1999 as a spin-off of the Chair of Business Administration and Information Systems at the Julius-Maximilians-University in Würzburg. Today, BARC combines empirical and theoretical research, technical expertise and practical experience, including a constant exchange with all market participants.

Contact

For further information, please contact:

Regina Schmidt
Communications Manager
Tel: +49 (0) 931 880651-47
Mobile: + 49 (0) 1520 431 82 39
E-Mail: rschmidt@barc.de

Data Black Holes: A BARC Study

Press Release: Dissolving Data Silos: Companies Need To Define a Common Data Language

PRESS RELEASE – WÜRZBURG, June 22nd, 2021

BARC (Business Application Research Center) today published the results of its topical survey “Data Black Holes – Are Data Silos Undermining Digital Transformation?”. In the study, BARC analysts Jacqueline Bloemen and Timm Grosser take a close look at the implications of data silos for the data-driven enterprise and offer insights into the main challenges companies are currently facing due to data silos. The study is available for download free of charge thanks to sponsorship by Ab Initio, Collibra, Dataiku and Denodo.

Key findings:

  • #1: Central data provisioning is not the one and only key to success when it comes to dissolving data silos
  • #2: Having uniform business terminology helps companies to step up their game when it comes to coping with data silos
  • #3: Organizational silos have to be taken as seriously as data silos and need to be addressed by management

Raising awareness of existing data silos and their consequences

According to a new BARC survey, many companies are struggling with the consequences of their current data landscape. When asked about the biggest challenge in the use of data, there is a clear message from participants. 41 percent agree that having key personas tied up with elementary data problems instead of working on the digital future of the company is the most pressing issue. This leads companies to the conclusion that action is required: 27 percent are already working on raising awareness of existing data silos and their consequences. A further 33 percent are planning to take this measure.

Centralized provisioning of data does not necessarily ensure simple and efficient data use

The study results show that investments in defining uniform business terminology pay off. Companies that have not implemented such terminology have significantly more problems in using their data to address new questions. This includes companies with a central data warehouse that is undermined by individually created data sets. But even a common data language is not the sole remedy. Companies that have implemented uniform terminology in a decentralized data landscape clearly have fewer problems using their data than those without common terminology, but not as few as companies with a centralized data landscape.

“In the future, it will become even more difficult to manage data in a centralized manner. The data landscape of the digital enterprise is highly distributed. In other words, we must live with data silos. Solution concepts must integrate data silos instead of fighting them,” said Jacqueline Bloemen, Senior Analyst Data & Analytics at BARC and co-author of this study.

This is reflected in the approaches that companies are taking to deal with their challenges (see Figure 1).

 

Data Black Holes press release figure 1

Figure 1: Top 5 selection from “Which of these approaches is your company taking to deal with the challenges caused by data silos?”
(n=318) © BARC

 

Knowledge about data, but not the data itself, should be provided centrally. The most frequently chosen approach to this is to create transparency about existing knowledge of data and foster collaboration (49 percent). This goes hand in hand with establishing a platform for collaboration and knowledge exchange, which 34 percent have chosen to do. Another 30 percent state that they are creating a central directory for finding and understanding data sources. These approaches are mostly implemented with the help of data catalog technologies. 31 percent of companies are working to liberalize access to data and improve self-service support. This is in line with other measures to facilitate ad hoc access to data. For example, 36 percent plan to create a central platform for data shopping. Among best-in-class companies, this approach is even more common (45 percent). One building block for this is to make physically distributed data accessible without having to copy it. This plays a greater role especially for companies with distributed data provisioning (27 percent compared to 23 percent on average). However, with the named approaches taken to deal with the challenges caused by data silos, a new set of challenges arises.

Business and cultural challenges are obstructing efforts to address data silos

In principle, all companies strive for digital transformation. However, they face several business and cultural challenges in this process (see Figure 2).

 

Data Black Holes press release figure 2

Figure 2: Top 8 selection from “What business and culture-related challenges have you experienced in implementing approaches to deal with the issues caused by data silos?”
(n=312) © BARC

 

The highest rated concern, lack of communication (56 percent), is in stark contrast to another study finding with companies reporting that data and information is shared extensively between departments. The fact that this apparently does not really work in practice is also underpinned by the second-highest rated problem: a lack of motivation to share knowledge with others (42 percent). Further challenges include a lack of clear strategic goals and a lack of understanding of what these mean in practice.

“Some learning processes can be supported bottom-up. However, when it comes to strategy and goals as well as the behavior of people in the company, it is clearly the managers who are called upon,” said Timm Grosser, Senior Analyst Data & Analytics at BARC and co-author of this study.

A lack of management support was ranked as the third most important challenge in the implementation of strategic measures at 38 percent. For companies with decentralized (42 percent) and hybrid (43 percent) data landscapes, as well as for laggards (58 percent), this applies even more frequently.

About the survey

Data Black Holes – Are Data Silos Undermining Digital Transformation? is a topical BARC survey assessing the challenges companies currently face due to data silos and how to overcome them. The study is based on a worldwide survey of 318 companies of various sizes and industry sectors. The focus of the study is to assess the implications of data silos for the data-driven enterprise. It also examines approaches taken by companies to break down the barriers of these data and knowledge silos. The authors of the study are Jacqueline Bloemen and Timm Grosser, Senior Analysts for Data & Analytics at BARC.

Useful links

Further information about “Data Black Holes” + download links
Infographic

About BARC

BARC (Business Application Research Center) is one of Europe’s leading analyst firms for business software, focusing on the areas of data, business intelligence (BI) and analytics, enterprise content management (ECM) and customer relationship management (CRM). The company was founded in 1999 as a spin-off of the Chair of Business Administration and Information Systems at the Julius-Maximilians-University in Würzburg. Today, BARC combines empirical and theoretical research, technical expertise and practical experience, including a constant exchange with all market participants.

Contact

For further information, please contact:

Regina Schmidt
Communications Manager
Tel: +49 (0) 931 880651-47
Mobile: + 49 (0) 1520 431 82 39
Email: rschmidt@barc.de

Analytics Unchained

Press Release: Increase in Self-Service Planning in Business Departments: A Sign of the Times

PRESS RELEASE – WÜRZBURG, May 27th, 2021

The analyst firm BARC published the results of The Planning Survey 21 today. The seventh edition of BARC’s respected annual study collates feedback from over 1,400 professionals on market trends and their use of software for planning, budgeting and forecasting.

 

Key findings:

  • #1: Self-service planning is the new #1 trend
  • #2: Cloud planning continues strong growth
  • #3: Importance of simulations and scenario analyses

 

Self-service planning is the new #1 trend

Self-service planning in business departments has surged in popularity over the last two years to become the number one trend in planning software this year (see Figure 1), adopted by 63% of companies.

planning software trends

Figure 1: Trends in use, 2016-2021, (n=various) © BARC

“The rise of self-service appears to be largely due to the pandemic,” said Christian Fuchs, senior analyst at BARC and author of The Planning Survey 21. “Increased market dynamics have led many decision-makers to demand forecasts and projections at least once a month to take account of changing signals from their environment for corporate management. To increase the speed and agility of planning and forecasting, it must take place directly in business departments. Therefore, the software tools used need to be straightforward and business-user-friendly.”

 

Cloud planning continues strong growth

The use of cloud-based planning has jumped from just 8% of survey respondents in 2016 to 38% in 2021 (see Figure 2). The last three years have seen especially strong growth.

“The introduction or modernization of software solutions is a necessary investment for companies seeking to optimize their planning and forecasting. Many of the best solutions on the market today either have a cloud version or are exclusively cloud-based so a large proportion of new implementations use the cloud,” said Fuchs. “Particularly in dynamic times, cloud-based solutions can provide fast time to value by eliminating time-consuming installation processes. Right now, nothing is more important than up-to-date information for decision-makers.”

Cloud planning use time 2016-2021

Figure 2: Time series for the use and planned use of cloud-based planning, 2016-2021, (n=various) © BARC

 

Simulation and scenario analyses

50% of survey respondents currently use simulations and scenario analyses and a further 40% plan to do so. Simulations allow the analysis of different scenarios, based on mathematical business models and variable parameters. The detailed comparison of different scenarios helps to evaluate the influence of changes as well as the resilience of companies and thus provides important insights for corporate management.

“The fact that nine in ten companies either use or plan to leverage simulations and scenario analysis in the future demonstrates their importance,” said Fuchs. “Increasing dynamics and uncertainty are major reasons for this. We see many organizations now regularly using simulations to better estimate the impact of important decisions.”

Use of simulations and scenario analysis in planning

Figure 3: Time series for the use and planned use of simulation and scenario analyses, 2017-2021, (n=various) © BARC

 

About the study

The Planning Survey 21 is the seventh edition of BARC’s major annual study into the selection and use of planning, budgeting and forecasting tools. The findings are based on a worldwide survey of 1,422 planning users, consultants and vendors, which was conducted from November 2020 to February 2021. It features analysis and comparison of 21 leading planning products based on user feedback, as well as current data on market trends and the selection and use of software. As in previous years, BARC pledged to give €1 to charity for every survey completion. This year, a donation of €1,500 was made to UNICEF.

 

Useful links

For more information, visit:
https://bi-survey.com/planning-survey-about

For aggregated product-related results and an online product comparison tool, visit:
https://bi-survey.com/planning-software-comparison

 

About BARC

BARC (Business Application Research Center) is one of Europe’s leading analyst firms for business software, focusing on the areas of data, business intelligence (BI) and analytics, enterprise content management (ECM) and customer relationship management (CRM). The company was founded in 1999 as a spin-off of the Chair of Business Administration and Information Systems at the Julius-Maximilians-University in Würzburg. Today, BARC combines empirical and theoretical research, technical expertise and practical experience, including a constant exchange with all market participants.

 

Contact

For further information, please contact:

Regina Schmidt
Communications Manager
Tel: +49 (0) 931 880651-47
Mobile: + 49 (0) 1520 431 82 39
Email: rschmidt@barc.de

Analytics Unchained

Press Release: Analytics Leaders Are Building on Vertical Integration

PRESS RELEASE – WÜRZBURG, May 25th, 2021

BARC (Business Application Research Center) releases the results of its new topical survey “Analytics Unchained: Unleash the Power of Analytics With Integrated Software”. The global survey examines the requirements of tightly integrated modern data and analytics software as well as obstacles for re-using data, models and visualizations and the benefits achieved when using integrated data and analytics software. The study is available for download free of charge thanks to sponsorship by Board, ONE LOGIC, Pyramid, Suadeo and Tableau.

Key findings:

  • #1: Enhanced analytics agility: Vertical trumps horizontal integration
  • #2: Data democratization needs free flow of data and transparency around data usage
  • #3: Better usability and tight integration propel effectiveness, speed and efficiency

Integrated data and analytics software makes its way into the heart of corporate analytics

Many companies struggle to convert their data into insights that help them support decision-making and drive innovation. Therefore, enhancing the required capabilities for the data and analytics process is high on the agenda for many organizations. Companies see huge potential in vertically integrated tools which provide end-to-end functionality in a unified environment for a variety of use cases.

According to the new BARC survey, 43 percent of the companies questioned are already relying on vertically integrated end-to-end software to support their decision-making. Among the companies that claim to be better than their competitors at leveraging data for decision support and decision automation (leaders), this share is even higher with 73 percent already using vertically integrated software. While laggards have not fully bought into the benefits of the concept yet, leaders have already acted and are reaping substantial rewards.

“Companies realize various benefits when deploying integrated data and analytics software. The clear number one benefit for companies is better usability,” summarizes Robert Tischler, Senior Analyst at BARC and co-author of this study. “This is achieved through unified interfaces and augmented analytics features that guide users when analyzing data or creating analytics assets. This is of course only a means to an end: It is an enabler to engage more business users to provide more relevant results in less time to inform and automate decisions.”

 

What benefits does your company gain by using integrated data and analytics software?

What benefits does your company gain by using integrated data and analytics software? (n=131) © BARC

 

Transparency creates confidence in results and crushes the barriers to free access

The analytics process is yet to be perfected in most companies and it can be expected that there will always be room for improvement as expectations rise constantly. The study shows that a major threat to the free flow of data and ideas are data silos, which are more often created by restrictive access policies than by incompatible software. In all cases, the problem begins with data silos, whether it is the drawing of data or the organizational barriers that result in restrictive and exclusive access.

 

What significant challenges do you observe when building analytics assets?

What significant challenges do you observe when building analytics assets? (n=312) © BARC

 

Transparency is of vital interest when removing these barriers. “Having comprehensive metadata provides a view on data lineage that shows where data is used and where it comes from. Knowing where it is used and who uses it makes it easier to agree to share it with others for the benefit of the organization. Transparency is vital to democratizing access to data in a company,” said Nina Lorenz, BARC Analyst and co-author of the study.

About the survey

“Analytics Unchained: Unleash the Power of Analytics With Integrated Software” is a BARC market research study that examines the use of integrated data and analytics software and analyzes the drivers for adoption and the benefits achieved. It is based on a worldwide survey of 319 companies of various sizes and industries. The authors of the study are BARC Analysts Nina Lorenz and Robert Tischler.

Useful links

Further information about “Analytics Unchained” + download links
Infographic

About BARC

BARC (Business Application Research Center) is one of Europe’s leading analyst firms for business software, focusing on the areas of data, business intelligence (BI) and analytics, enterprise content management (ECM) and customer relationship management (CRM). The company was founded in 1999 as a spin-off of the Chair of Business Administration and Information Systems at the Julius-Maximilians-University in Würzburg. Today, BARC combines empirical and theoretical research, technical expertise and practical experience, including a constant exchange with all market participants.

Contact

For further information, please contact:

Regina Schmidt
Communications Manager
Tel: +49 (0) 931 880651-47
Mobile: + 49 (0) 1520 431 82 39
Email: rschmidt@barc.de

Account Reconciliation and Closing cover

Press Release: The Fast Close Movement Is Not Over

PRESS RELEASE – WÜRZBURG, April 15th, 2021

BARC (Business Application Research Center) today published the results of its topical survey “Account Reconciliation and Closing – The Journey from Excel to Artificial Intelligence”. In the study, Dr. Susanne Leitner-Hanetseder, Professor of Accounting at the University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria in Steyr, and BARC Fellow Stefan Sexl offer insights into current practices around account reconciliation and the closing process and show to what extent and with which IT solutions consolidated financial statements are prepared. They also examine the possibilities to improve consolidated statements and the associated challenges. The study is available for download free of charge thanks to sponsorship by Wolters Kluwer.

Key findings

  • #1: The level of automation of group accounting is still very weak
  • #2:Manual workarounds are still number one when it comes to data preparation and closing at single entity level, resulting in Excel still playing a major role in the process
  • #3: Faster closing is still the main challenge that companies will face in the coming years

According to a new BARC survey, the opportunities for automating the group accounting process are not yet recognized. Many companies still operate with a low level of automation. Only 1% of the companies surveyed considers their automation of consolidated financial statements as excellent. The overall degree of automation of group accounting processes is quite weak.

This is also represented by the finding that manual workarounds are still number one when it comes to data preparation and closing at single entity level. 57% of participants state that they use Excel for data and closing preparation in single entities (See Figure 1). Although the closing of consolidated financial statements is usually done by the parent company, an optimized group accounting process starts with data preparation and reconciliation at single entity level.

“Companies tend to overlook the inherent risks of using Excel, such as a lack of division of duties, no options to standardize processes, no control over preparation, review and approval, limited speed and reconciliation”, said Dr. Susanne Leitner-Hanetseder, Professor of Accounting and co-author of this study.

What are you using for data and closing preparation in single entities?

Figure 1: What are you using for data and closing preparation in single entities? (n=110) © BARC

 

Faster closing is still perceived as a major challenge, but there are more issues to solve

Aiming for faster closing is nothing new in the corporate world. However, many companies have not properly addressed this goal yet. Asked about the challenges perceived with regard to account closing and reconciliation in the next 3 years, faster closing is revealed as a major pain point. Even when broken down by maturity level (best-in-class companies versus laggards), fast closing is no less significant (see Figure 2).

What challenges do you see for account closing and reconciliation in the next 3 years?

Figure 2: What challenges do you see for account closing and reconciliation in the next 3 years (n=59), by best-in-class © BARC

The study underlines that fast closing has not been achieved to a satisfactory level yet and that, even in best-in-class companies, there is room for improvement.

A faster close also requires that the group accounting process is integrated with other processes to reduce time lag. The study results show that this integration of processes represents a challenge of its own for many companies given their current disparate systems and dependency on Excel.

A key factor is the creation of an end-to-end reporting process, from recording through consolidation and reporting, and executing within one model. Group accounting processes also depend on regulations and requirements such as shorter deadlines. Therefore, there is a need to adapt processes when regulations or requirements change. Furthermore, due to the “digital transformation”, companies will have to adapt or change their business models. “Companies realize that the necessity to change structures and make organizational changes also requires them to adapt processes for group accounting”, said Stefan Sexl, BARC analyst and co-author of the study.

About the survey

Account Reconciliation and Closing – The Journey from Excel to Artificial Intelligence is a topical BARC survey about current practices around account reconciliation and the closing process. The study is based on a survey of 110 companies from various industries and of different sizes in the DACH region. The focus of the study is to show to what extent and with which IT solutions consolidated financial statements are prepared. The study also examines possibilities for improving consolidated statements and the associated challenges. The authors of the study are Dr. Susanne Leitner-Hanetseder, Professor of Accounting at the University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria in Steyr and Stefan Sexl, BARC Fellow.

Useful links

Click here to download the full study from the sponsor’s website
Further information about “Account Reconciliation and Closing”
Infographic

About BARC

BARC (Business Application Research Center) is one of Europe’s leading analyst firms for business software, focusing on the areas of data, business intelligence (BI) and analytics, enterprise content management (ECM) and customer relationship management (CRM). The company was founded in 1999 as a spin-off of the Chair of Business Administration and Information Systems at the Julius-Maximilians-University in Würzburg. Today, BARC combines empirical and theoretical research, technical expertise and practical experience, including a constant exchange with all market participants.

Contact

For further information, please contact:

Regina Schmidt
Communications Manager
Tel: +49 (0) 931 880651-47
Mobile: + 49 (0) 1520 431 82 39
Email: rschmidt@barc.de

Data, BI & Analytics Trend Monitor 2021 cover

Press Release: The Time Has Come for the Cloud

PRESS RELEASE – WÜRZBURG, November 11th, 2020

The analyst firm BARC publishes the Data, BI & Analytics Trend Monitor 2021 at this year’s Big Data & AI World Frankfurt online conference. 2,259 users were surveyed for the study, providing a comprehensive overview of the current trends in the global market for data management, BI and analytics. For the fourth year in a row, master data and data quality management is voted the number one trend. This year’s development towards the digital workplace has propelled the “Cloud” trend to its highest ranking to date. The full report is available as a free download.

Key findings

  • #1: “Cloud BI is now getting the attention it deserves,” says Dr. Carsten Bange, CEO of BARC. “Increased discussion about home offices and the digital workplace in society and politics is creating a positive climate and experience for the use of cloud applications. The main arguments in favor of BI solutions in the cloud are today’s increased requirements for flexibility and speed. New data and reports can be made available quickly to changing user groups.”
  • #2: Like last year, master data and data quality management, data discovery, data-driven corporate culture, data governance and self-service analytics are voted as the top five trends.
  • #3: “Attention is the new oil”: Alerting takes off as a new trend.

Data, BI & Analytics Trend Monitor 2021 cover

The new edition of the Data, BI & Analytics Trend Monitor 2021 is available for free, © BARC

Cloud on the rise

“Cloud BI is not a new trend, but this year we see it is finally reaching end users. We think this is at least partly due to the current coronavirus crisis,” says BARC founder and CEO Dr. Carsten Bange, explaining the rise of the cloud from 18th place last year to 14th place.

“Homeworking is currently the subject of much discussion in politics and society. The cloud plays a central role here as it allows flexible access to applications and data from any location. Furthermore, cloud applications can often be set up and implemented more quickly, which meets the rapidly growing need for speed and flexibility. More flexible billing models are also better suited to the uncertainty and unpredictability of these dynamic times. Cloud BI is now getting the attention it deserves.”

No major shifts despite coronavirus crisis

Despite the global changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the leading trends remain unchanged. Like last year, master data and data quality management, data discovery, data-driven corporate culture, data governance and self-service analytics are voted as the top five trends.

Data, BI & Analytics Trend Monitor 2021 changes

The comparison of rankings in the 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021 editions,
n=2772/2770/2679/2865/2259, © BARC

“Business intelligence systems have played a central role in enabling decision-makers to quickly bring transparency to where and how the pandemic is affecting their business,” says Dr. Carsten Bange. “In addition, the rapid adaptation of scenarios and forecasts has been required as well as the creation of new reports and dashboards with new content. The five strongest trends are all vital to enabling companies to make data-driven decisions. This became more important in 2020 than ever before.”

Alerting – a new trend takes off

Among the newly added trends for 2021, respondents rated alerting as one of their top ten topics despite the tendency for new trends not to perform well in their first year in the Data, BI & Analytics Trend Monitor.

Dr. Carsten Bange explains this development: “Attention is the new oil: In a BI system, a great deal of data is presented in various reports and dashboards and users are sometimes overloaded with it. Our survey respondents obviously find it helpful for the system to actively point out what is important to users or what they should derive an action from. Software vendors are also making a lot of progress in this area.”

Data, BI & Analytics Trend Monitor 2021 trend rankings

The trends in the BARC Data, BI & Analytics Trend Monitor 2021, n=2,259, © BARC

About the Data, BI & Analytics Trend Monitor 2021

With 2,259 participants, BARC’s Data, BI & Analytics Trend Monitor 2021 is the largest global trend survey on analytics, business intelligence and data management. It offers a detailed evaluation and weighting of 20 individual trends by region, industry and self-assessment of the participating companies (“Best-in-Class” vs. “Laggards”). The complete study is available free of charge thanks to sponsorship by Alteryx, Cubeware, Information Builders, MicroStrategy and TARGIT.

Useful links

Further information about the Data, BI & Analytics Trend Monitor 2021
Download the full report
Infographic

About BARC

BARC (Business Application Research Center) is one of Europe’s leading analyst firms for business software, focusing on the areas of data, business intelligence (BI) and analytics, enterprise content management (ECM) and customer relationship management (CRM). The company was founded in 1999 as a spin-off of the Chair of Business Administration and Information Systems at the Julius-Maximilians-University in Würzburg. Today, BARC combines empirical and theoretical research, technical expertise and practical experience, including a constant exchange with all market participants.

Contact

For further information, please contact:

Regina Schmidt
Communications Manager
Tel: +49 (0) 931 880651-47
Mobile: + 49 (0) 1520 431 82 39
Email: rschmidt@barc.de

The Future of Analytics cover

Press Release: Advanced Analytics Will Gain Traction – but Only if Data and Analytics Literacy Keeps Up

PRESS RELEASE – WÜRZBURG, October 29th, 2020

BARC (Business Application Research Center) releases the results of its new topical survey “The Future of Analytics”. The global survey gives insights into current use of advanced analytics and sheds light on its future development in terms of its role for companies, relevant user groups, processes and technologies. The study is available for download free of charge thanks to sponsorship by Dataiku, Qlik and Tableau.

Key findings

  • #1: Implementing analytics requires a mix of the right technology, education, strategy and internal marketing
  • #2: Automated machine learning and augmented analytics can support experts but will not replace data science teams in the future
  • #3: Data management and analytics literacy needs to be improved

Tools, skills and strategy drive advanced analytics forward

Although advanced analytics has been a hot topic for several years now, promoting it within the organization is the top priority for its successful use. 97 percent of survey respondents regard it as important to promote analytics, as well as data understanding and competence, within their company. Having the right tools for the right users is rated as the second most important requirement (95 percent).

aspects of advanced analytics

How important are the following points in the successful use of advanced analytics in your company? (n=298) © BARC

Another important point is the definition of a holistic data strategy. In terms of future investment priorities, improving data management is rightly seen as a top priority by 64 percent of respondents. “It is not surprising that improved data management is considered a success factor and an investment priority,” said Alexander Rode, Analyst and Data Scientist at BARC and co-author of this survey. “Advanced analytics requires access to data for entire new user groups, making new data sources accessible and establishing relationships between data beyond traditional data warehouse models.”

AutoML makes data scientists and business analysts more efficient – but won’t replace them any time soon

With automated machine learning applications (AutoML), mathematical models are trained, optimized and evaluated automatically on the basis of data selected by humans. More than 80 percent of respondents see AutoML solutions as a way to make business analysts and data scientists more efficient. But expert knowledge is still required to use these solutions and interpret results. While 79 percent of respondents see AutoML being increasingly used by data scientists, only 53 percent see business analysts, who often lack deep statistical knowledge, using these tools.

automated machine learning

To what extent do you agree with the following statements regarding automated machine learning (AutoML)? (n=277) © BARC

Only 20 percent anticipate that the roles of data scientist and business analyst will be replaced by automated machine learning solutions. “This makes sense as there are many analytical tasks that require human intervention, such as problem formulation, selection of the right method and error measure, and interpretation of results,” explained Rode. “Data science still requires human input on, for example, the definition of use cases, the evaluation of results and decisions about whether to operationalize a prototype and integrate solutions into the organization.” 

About the survey

The Future of Analytics” is a BARC market research study that examines the future prospects for the development of advanced analytics in terms of its role for companies, relevant user groups, processes and technologies. It is based on a worldwide survey of 317 companies of various sizes and industries. The authors of the study are BARC Analysts and Data Scientists Dr. Sebastian Derwisch and Alexander Rode.

Useful links

Further information about “The Future of Analytics” and to download the study
Infographic

About BARC

BARC (Business Application Research Center) is one of Europe’s leading analyst firms for business software, focusing on the areas of data, business intelligence (BI) and analytics, enterprise content management (ECM) and customer relationship management (CRM). The company was founded in 1999 as a spin-off of the Chair of Business Administration and Information Systems at the Julius-Maximilians-University in Würzburg. Today, BARC combines empirical and theoretical research, technical expertise and practical experience, including a constant exchange with all market participants.

Contact

For further information, please contact:

Regina Schmidt
Communications Manager
Tel: +49 (0) 931 880651-47
Mobile: + 49 (0) 1520 431 82 39
Email: rschmidt@barc.de

The BI & Analytics Survey 21

Press Release: Faster Is Not Always Better – but in BI and Analytics It Is

PRESS RELEASE – WÜRZBURG, October 27th, 2020

The BI & Analytics Survey is published today. BARC’s flagship annual research study analyzes feedback from a survey of 2,591 users and consultants on their selection and use of BI and analytics software and their views on market trends.

The fastest projects deliver the greatest business benefits

While decent benefits are obtained by BI and analytics projects with the longest implementation times, there is clear evidence that the fastest projects achieve the highest level of business benefits – and this gap has widened in the last twelve months (see Figure 1).

“This shows that timely results are crucial when implementing your analytics and BI solutions,” said Robert Tischler, Senior BARC Analyst and author of The BI & Analytics Survey 21. “Quick reaction to changing requirements driven by developments inside or outside a company straightforwardly impact the benefits and insights gleaned. Cutting requirements into slices to deliver benefits to users as quickly as possible is a fruitful approach as the evidence clearly shows.”

The BI & Analytics Survey 21 press release fig 1

Figure 1: Level of business benefits achieved, by implementation time, 2020 (n=1,708) vs. 2019 (n=2,055)

 

Today’s projects finish faster

The median implementation time for BI and analytics projects is currently just over four months. However, the proportion of projects completed within three months is significantly higher for projects that started less than two years ago (54 percent) compared to older projects (43 percent). This shows that changes in technology as well as project methodology enable customers to deliver solutions quicker and yield benefits faster.

BI and analytics are like wine – they improve with age

On average, BI and analytics implementations in place for more than two years generate greater benefits than their more recent counterparts.

“Do not expect all benefits to materialize immediately,” advised Tischler. “Analytics and BI is not a one-time project but an ongoing effort that constantly delivers value for businesses. Similarly, buyers should not expect to cover the full scope of solutions that have existed and matured over 20 years in 20 weeks as too much is baked into these established systems.”

The BI & Analytics Survey 21 press release fig 2

Figure 2: Level of business benefits achieved, by age of implementation (n=1,682)

 

BI and analytics are increasingly embedded in business applications

Embedding BI and analytics is currently a hot topic with many vendors focused on delivering polished content through OEM. The proportion of users working with embedded BI and analytics solutions has steadily increased in recent years but there is still room for growth.

“While several large vendors embed their own analytics products in their business applications portfolio, a number of smaller specialists are providing their solutions as OEM embedded in third-party business applications,” said Tischler. “This approach is increasingly being pursued as sophisticated BI functions are expected in most business applications today. For OEM-heavy vendors, packaging a solution with prebuilt content is a possible route to landing at important accounts and expanding beyond the initial scope of the solution.”

The BI & Analytics Survey 21 press release fig 3

Figure 3: Use of embedded analytics and BI over time (n=changing basis)

 

About The BI & Analytics Survey

The BI & Analytics Survey 21 (formerly known as The BI Survey) is the 19th edition of BARC’s major annual study into the selection and use of analytics and business intelligence tools. The findings are based on a worldwide survey of 2,591 software users, consultants and vendors, which was conducted from late February to early June 2020. It features current data on market trends as well as detailed analysis and comparison of 33 leading software products from 28 different vendors based on user feedback. The survey was renamed to “The BI & Analytics Survey 21” this year to reflect the stronger overall role that data and analytics now plays.

For more information, visit:
https://bi-survey.com/bi-survey-about

For aggregated product-related results and an online product comparison tool, visit:
https://bi-survey.com/business-intelligence-software-comparison

About BARC

BARC (Business Application Research Center) is one of Europe’s leading analyst firms for business software, focusing on the areas of data, business intelligence (BI) and analytics, enterprise content management (ECM) and customer relationship management (CRM). The company was founded in 1999 as a spin-off of the Chair of Business Administration and Information Systems at the Julius-Maximilians-University in Würzburg. Today, BARC combines empirical and theoretical research, technical expertise and practical experience, including a constant exchange with all market participants.

Contact

For further information, please contact:

Regina Schmidt
Communications Manager
Tel: +49 (0) 931 880651-47
Mobile: + 49 (0) 1520 431 82 39
E-Mail: rschmidt@barc.de

Sound Decisions in Dynamic Times cover

Press Release: Fast Results Are a Must for Corporate Management

PRESS RELEASE – WÜRZBURG, September 29th, 2020

BARC (Business Application Research Center) today published the results of its topical survey “Sound Decisions in Dynamic Times – Forecasts and Simulations Support Modern Corporate Management”. The user survey of 275 companies examines how companies are adapting to an increasingly dynamic environment. The study is available for download thanks to sponsorship by Board, Corporate Planning, Cubeware, Jedox, OneStream and Unit4.

Key findings

  • #1: Static methods and outdated tools fail in a dynamic environment
  • #2: Forecasts are replacing classical budgeting as the central instrument for corporate management
  • #3: Simulations are the basis for the sound analysis and evaluation of action alternatives, opportunities and risks

Constant change is the only constant in volatile times

The dynamics to which companies are exposed are being massively increased, not least by the global COVID-19 pandemic. The rapidity with which COVID-19 has overturned many things previously considered safe has brought the challenges of dynamics, volatility and complexity painfully back into focus.

As expected, 89 percent of the survey participants confirmed that the dynamics in their field of business have increased in recent years. This applies generally to all company sizes and industries. Only a few organizations from the public sector reported a constant dynamic (23 percent). “Due to enormous upheavals in the markets, many established approaches to corporate management are coming under increasing pressure,” said Dr. Christian Fuchs, Senior Data & Analytics Analyst at BARC and co-author of the study.

Planning dynamics

Figure 1: How have the dynamics in your business field developed in recent years? (n=274) © BARC


Greater efficiency and effectiveness through acceleration, integration and automation

In order to withstand the increasing dynamics and pressure and remain capable of making decisions, half of the companies surveyed said they need to update their plans and forecasts more frequently. Many are therefore converting classic year-end forecasts to rolling forecasts (42 percent), which significantly improves their contribution to controlling.

The increased automation of forecasts is another means of enabling more meaningful simulations according to 43 percent. “Greater automation must always be critically examined, especially in the context of dynamics. While automation reduces reaction times and increases the transparency and consistency of results, it can also inhibit flexibility,” explained Robert Tischler, Senior Data & Analytics Analyst at BARC and co-author of the study. “Systems with sophisticated automation can therefore fail due to rapidly changing requirements. In practice, the solution for this is often found in Excel, which is not usually conducive to quality, efficiency and satisfaction.”

Dynamic planning measures

Figure 2: What measures are needed to align planning and forecasting to a more dynamic business environment? (n=275) © BARC

Dynamics describes the degree of change and increasing competitive pressure in markets. It is caused by innovation as well as changing social and political conditions. The development of highly dynamic markets is not fully predictable. Dynamics in markets have been rising for a long time and companies are feeling increasing pressure as a result.

About the survey

Sound Decisions in Dynamic Times – Forecasts and Simulations Support Modern Corporate Management” is a BARC market research study that addresses the current status of forecasts and simulations, and examines which measures need to be taken in order to use them effectively. It is based on a worldwide survey of 275 companies of varying sizes across all industry sectors. The authors of the study are Dr. Christian Fuchs and Robert Tischler, Senior Data & Analytics Analysts at BARC.

Useful links

Further information about “Sound Decisions in Dynamic Times – Forecasts and Simulations Support Modern Corporate Management”
Infographic

About BARC

BARC (Business Application Research Center) is one of Europe’s leading analyst firms for business software, focusing on the areas of data, business intelligence (BI) and analytics, enterprise content management (ECM) and customer relationship management (CRM). The company was founded in 1999 as a spin-off of the Chair of Business Administration and Information Systems at the Julius-Maximilians-University in Würzburg. Today, BARC combines empirical and theoretical research, technical expertise and practical experience, including a constant exchange with all market participants.

Contact

For further information, please contact:

Regina Schmidt
Communications Manager
Tel: +49 (0) 931 880651-47
Mobile: + 49 (0) 1520 431 82 39
Email: rschmidt@barc.de