Budgeting in the Cloud – A Viable Option for Government?

Budgeting in the Cloud – A Viable Option for Government?

By Stiliyan Neychev

December 21, 2023

The government – a place of power and decision-making. On average, it employs around 20% of a country’s total workforce and spends between 49% of its GDP. So, it’s imperative that government processes be made more efficient. Hundreds of projects get approved, declined, or remade every day, all because the financial leaders there need to walk around very tight budgets.

The average person may believe that it’s an easy task to do. However, the truth is that the government is the one place where the planning and budgeting phases need to be managed and optimized perfectly. Otherwise, they risk losing the faith and hope of their people, stakeholders, and invested parties.

Hmm … wait, doesn’t this sound like your typical company? It very much does! So, why are we singling out the public sector like it’s immune to the emerging and evolving technologies?

Excel spreadsheets and dated legacy systems are nearing the end of their lifecycle, partly due to the inefficiencies and inconveniences they cause in the sped-up modern times. So, the door is open for a new contender? Which would it be? Well, we believe it should be Anaplan, and we’re here to tell you why.

What is Anaplan?

Anaplan is a cloud-based SaaS platform used for planning, forecasting, and model building. It’s an elegant tool that serves as a bridge between all your organization’s departments with the help of its connected models. With Anaplan, you can test various cases and what-if scenarios to spot any hidden opportunities or make the most optimal budgeting decisions.

It’s a great system to switch to when you wish to replace that old Excel glue that’s holding all your processes together. Additionally, everything collected in one easy-to-use model on the cloud means that you’ll have department-wide access to a single source of truth, resulting in fewer mistakes or inaccuracies.

And let’s not forget the cherry on top – Anaplan doesn’t work with scripts but rather with syntax formulas. So, the platform offers a much smoother transition for companies more familiar with Excel-like tools and systems.

Key Benefits for the Public Sector

Actually, there are more features than we led on in the previous paragraph, so let’s go through some of the more interesting ones.

Connected Budgeting – Every institution and its sub-agency works with its own data and its own numbers, but with Anaplan, all the different department models can be connected to create more accurate budgets and forecasts. This is great since you can see how any change in a sub-sector will impact your current overall plans, so you can have realistic expectations regardless of the situation.

Quickly React to Changes – While on the subject of unexpected occurrences, with Anaplan, you can easily create “what-if” as you go that will answer any ad-hoc questions you may have. This way, the government can better anticipate and react to crisis events like wars, pandemics, market crashes, etc. Again, every feature we talk about is department-wide, so these forecasts and plans can be applied to any program, project, or budget.

– Time-saving – Time is your most valuable asset when working in the public sector. The faster things get done, the happier everyone is. That’s why dashboards have become as popular as they have. You can quickly check your most important KPIs and get the insights you need at a glance, saving you time in inspecting complex and heavy data tables. Additionally, while working with spreadsheets, annual budgets can take months to build up, while with Anaplan, you can prepare them in a few weeks. With just a couple of clicks, you can have unlimited scenarios for proactive comparisons, after which you can make optimal data-based decisions.

Audits and Reviews – Anaplan is a cloud-based platform, so it’s much easier to store any version changes and activity histories for long periods of time. This helps with department audits and reviews, where officials want to confirm that all data is in order and no shady business is afoot. This total transparency can not only help bring back the trust and confidence in the eyes of the people but also helps avoid and deter corruption from setting in and spreading within the government. 

Successful Implementations

So, by now, you’ve seen what the Anaplan platform can offer, and you probably think that, in theory, it sounds great. Well, we’re about to show you that the situation still stands in practice, and all those features and benefits can offer quite a lot to the public sector.

Healthcare Service

For example, let’s observe the NHS, which decided to switch to Anaplan a few years ago. Inspecting and dissecting diseases as part of their pathology services was slow due to the communication channels. With the connected planning services of Anaplan, though, they were able to link up their systems and automate the collection of the required data. Additionally, during the pandemic, they were able to manage each medical center’s equipment, supplies, and personnel, so they could better plan for any shortages and emergencies.

Education Service

Spreadsheets plague many public sectors, though, even education and childcare. KinderCare in the U.S. had its time constantly consumed by planning and budgeting activities. It got to a point where they needed a quicker solution than Excel. So, they looked elsewhere and transformed their system with the help of Anaplan. KinderCare’s annual budgeting got more accessible and informative very quickly. They were able to streamline their processes and improve their data and results, so their team could focus on their key task – educating children.

Judiciary Service

Finally, let’s get back to the UK once again. The volume of distinct and complex cases there got to a point where doing number-crunching in spreadsheets just wasn’t providing sufficient results. So, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) turned their attention to Anaplan as a potential savior. A few months after they implemented the platform within their systems, they observed minimized manual workloads and optimized efficiency. Furthermore, they were able to increase collaboration and transparency across the whole organization and decreased their response times thanks to their improved planning ability.

Conclusion

So, in the end, the government bodies and agencies don’t need to strain themselves with tedious and time-consuming spreadsheets when they can go into more advanced solutions. And going into these advanced solutions would not only help with transparency and reporting but will also improve the public sector’s reaction time to crises. Such an investment won’t cost millions but would save so much time and effort that the ROI would be easily noticeable within months.

Every institution needs this advancement in cloud budgeting. The best way to do that is by learning from both the experience and best practices set by the top Fortune 500 companies and by other countries that’ve already taken a dive into cloud technologies. All it takes is for one sector to set the stage – healthcare, education, etc. – and the advancements and improvements would easily follow suit across the rest of the public institutions.