Shane Riddle, Director of Financial Planning and Analysis at Planar, likes to describe his employer as hidden in plain sight. “You may have never heard of us but I guarantee you’ve seen our stuff,” Riddle said.
Acquired by China’s Leyard in 2015, Planar makes video screens you see in settings ranging from retail and hospitality to museums, higher education and healthcare. Some of Planar’s specialized large-scale monitors are used by NASA to track everything from satellites to space debris. Planar and its parent serve a vast and expanding global customer base.
The grind of global ambition
Tracking the key drivers of a global business is difficult under any circumstance, but it’s near impossible when the only reporting tool you have is Excel - check out our blog posts about 4 risks for relying on Excel. Before implementing Host Analytics in 2010, Excel was all Planar had for planning. Riddle arrived shortly after Host Analytics was implemented, and he’s seen it scale with the business.
“We were consolidating books from three different companies with different charts of accounts... we also had four main business units for which we had to provide P&L reports,” Riddle says. Planar’s finance team also had to factor in U.S. dollars, Euros and other currencies when preparing results. The team kept different sets of spreadsheets to track global divisions and product sales. “Any meaningful analysis would take days,” Riddle explains.
Pulling it all together with cloud-based EPM
With Host Analytics Reporting, which Riddle describes as “a single source of the truth” by capturing all global financial data, reports by territory, product line and business unit are available within a few clicks. Planar has also fully integrated Marketo and Salesforce data for further insights, gaining a clear view of performance through cloud-based EPM.
“We’ve had a lot of business change at Planar in the last seven years. We’ve been able to accommodate all those changes, and we’ve also grown significantly while keeping expenses flat,” said Riddle. Smart use of data has allowed Planar’s management to make better decisions.
Today, Riddle and his team have established a reputation for best practices in reporting and analysis and are now responsible for much of the reporting for Leyard’s global business. Management can now get ad hoc reports on demand. They’re also afforded monthly profit and loss statements, balance sheets, KPI summaries, spending summaries and a complete forecast vs. actuals.
“Host Analytics has always been able to adapt to what we need, when we need it,” Riddle concludes. “We don’t have to schedule upgrades, we don’t have to take our IT systems down for a weekend and have people come in and work. It’s just there and it works.”
To learn more about Planar's use of cloud-based EPM from Host Analytics, check out the following video.