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Book Contents

Ch. 9
Building Model-Driven Decision Support Systems

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Budget Financial Models

Budgeting DSS are an especially popular enterprise-wide application. Lockheed Martin wanted to improve the quality of their budget information while they cut the number of staff hours needed to develop it. They implemented Comshare (http://www.comshare.com) BudgetPLUS. Sunoco Retail, a division of Suncor Energy, was burdened with an inflexible, labor-intensive in-house budgeting system. Comshare BudgetPLUS "has resolved Sunoco's budgeting needs and given the Company a centralized financial data repository, while empowering users who now have control over their own budgets". Budget models can also be built and tracked for divisions, products or projects.

Companies are making major changes in their budget planning and forecasting processes. The process is becoming a company wide effort, with many managers contributing inputs using Web-based support tools. Both large and medium-size companies are trying to combine the traditional bottom-up approach to budget preparation, in which department heads submit budget requests that are rolled up into a corporate budget, with a top-down approach in which budgets are prepared in line with strategic objectives outlined by top management. Companies are also revising budgets throughout the year. Using Web technologies, changes can be made quickly to the budget model estimates and the cost of deployment is much less than with mainframe-based, enterprise-wide systems.

Products from a number of vendors support participative budget processes. Comshare, Adaytum Software, and Hyperion Solutions have products that assist in strategic planning, budgeting, management reporting, analysis and financial consolidation and are innovating with new Budgeting DSS. BudgetHub.org is an on-line resource for enterprise budgeting information.

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