Adaptive Insights as a Central Hub for Decision-Making

At the recent 2016 Adaptive Live user conference, I had the opportunity to present a session along with a panel of our customers about the benefits of making Adaptive Insights the central hub of decision-making.  Many organizations fail to fully utilize the breadth of capability within Adaptive for making solid business decisions by limiting the scope of data from which they work.  Part of the reason for this is the mindset among some finance professionals that they should be concerned only with financial data.  Another reason is that importing data from external systems can be time-intensive and problematic.  What I conveyed, and demonstrated through my company’s own use of Adaptive, is that unifying data within Adaptive is not as challenging as one might think.

According to the Harvard Business Review (Oct. 2012 edition), data-driven organizations are 5% more productive and 6% more profitable than their competitors.  This alone is a compelling reason to investigate the means for broadening the scope and quality of data within Adaptive.  So how does one get started?  Examine the graphic below for incremental steps:

central hub diagram

The 1st step is critical because, as the saying goes, “garbage in – garbage out”.  It’s important to take stock of the data being generated in external systems to make sure that it is credible and in the appropriate format for importing into Adaptive.

The 2nd step begins with identifying a discrete number of drivers (I recommend 10 or so) that really move the needle within your organization.  These are the key elements for measuring financial and operational performance.  By qualifying a smaller set of drivers, it is much easier to focus on the important variables where decisions have the greatest impact.  One thing to note, you should also incorporate non-financial drivers within Adaptive.  The best way to determine these is through feedback from your colleagues in different areas of the business.  After all, the benefits of Adaptive can and should be distributed throughout your organization.

Step 3 is an interim step that helps you understand how you should structure your data for import.  It also allows you to troubleshoot any technical issues or questions that may arise.  You can then test how that data would display in Adaptive and make any changes as required.

In the 4th step, I recommend focusing on automating the data integration between systems.  This is important for the following reasons:

  • Data transfers are now the leading cause of data errors
  • Automation reduces the time spent populating data
  • Automation synchronizes data between systems more efficiently
  • It enables end users to always work with up-to-date data and information

The 5th step is about quantifying the benefits that you have received through automated integration.  While you should realize efficiencies in short order, it’s always a good idea to be able to report to the executive team the benefits you’ve enjoyed.  Furthermore, by reducing the amount of time spent on these types of manual processes, your FP&A team will have much more time for value-added analysis, which is covered in the next step.

Step 5 is a focus on thorough and thoughtful analysis based on quality, comprehensive data which naturally improves the quality of decisions.  The data and analyses that your team develops should be distributed to other stakeholders outside of finance.  What better way than to provide self-service dashboards and reports?  This is a key functionality offered by Adaptive Insights’ Discovery product.

Now that you understand the steps and benefits of automated integration, there are several approaches that you can take to get to unified data.  One cost-effective and quick way to get there is with DataBlend .  DataBlend (see video here) is a cloud-based integration solution that we at Carlson developed after listening to our customers’ requirements for a business user friendly way of integrating systems with Adaptive.  Of course, we used DataBlend within our own company to unify data and create a central hub which has paid enormous dividends (see our actual systems workflow below):

Carlson workflow

Prior to implementing DataBlend, we encountered many of the challenges experienced by high growth firms with silo’ed systems.  Take a look below at our before-and-offer challenges and results:

Carlson hub challenges resultsOur own experience making Adaptive a central hub for business decision-making has paid off with tangible returns.  Best of all, it can be done with relatively little effort and cost.  If you are interested in transforming Adaptive Insights into your own central hub for decision-making, contact us today to schedule a discovery call and demo of DataBlend.

Join Carlson and Adaptive Insights for Lessons Over Lunch in Ft. Lauderdale

Lessons over lunch

Join your peers for a complimentary finance executive luncheon on Tuesday, June 7 at The Capital Grille. You’ll learn how successful finance teams leverage FP&A technology to improve accuracy and efficiency, as well as actionable strategies to bring finance transformation to your company.

Attend to learn how to:

  • Enhance your credibility by delivering more value and higher quality to internal customers
  • Reduce budgeting time by 70% – while eliminating errors
  • Deliver timely, accurate re-forecasts and what-if scenarios


Please contact me with any questions about this event.  We look forward to your participation!


Mike Mooney
(603) 369-0387

Beyond the Benefits: Ethan Carlson to Moderate Panel at the CFO Leadership Council Talent Show

CFOLC talent showTalent – we all have it, employ it, and rely on it to help move our companies forward. But how do you find the best people, best growth opportunities, and best methods to retain that talent base?

Join The CFO Leadership Council on Wednesday, May 18, 2016 at Bentley University for The 2016 CFO Talent Show, a full-day event dedicated to the lifecycle of your talent processes. From new methods to find high-talent employees to building an award-winning culture, managing across generations and surviving through downturns, our conference will inspire you to change the way you engage with your most important asset – your people.

The Talent Show agenda includes:

  • Morning panels on ‘Follow Me: Finding Great Employees the First Time Around,’ and ‘When It All Falls Down: Managing During a Downturn’
  • Afternoon panels on ‘How to be the Next Cool Place to Work,’ and ‘The Future of our Workforce’
  • New 10-minute Radical CFO Talks on Personality Tests, Office Design, The Power of Play, and making the old new again

For the most up-to-date agenda, please go here.

From 2:40pm – 3:50pm, Ethan Carlson will moderate the panel discussion: Beyond The Benefits: Becoming The Cool Place To Work.  This panel will look at how companies, new and mature, are revitalizing their corporate culture to be a place that potential employees want to work and current employees are proud to be a part of. We’ll review benefits packages, review and feedback, philanthropy, social engagement, and more. Confirmed speakers include:

CFOLC confirmed speakers
Please click here to register.

Kevin O’Brien to Present Budgeting and Forecasting Best Practices at Dayton Accounting Show

Kevin O'Brien Vice President

Kevin O’Brien
Vice President

Kevin O’Brien, Vice President at Carlson Management Consulting, will present Making Budgeting and Forecasting a Competitive Advantage at the Dayton Accounting Show.  The Dayton Accounting Show is one of OSCPA’s premiere events offering accounting and finance professionals the opportunity to network with hundreds of peers, find business solutions with exhibitors and gain insight into the topics that are shaping the profession. The two-day event will feature a new AICPA Financial Planning track and a new Leadership/Lifestyle track along with a variety of tax, A&A, not-for-profit, and technology sessions. The Dayton Accounting Show provides a valuable learning experience and an affordable way to get the information finance professionals need to improve their skills and the way they do business.

Kevin’s session on Thursday, May 19th at 9:30am (FP&A track) will address the following:

  • Discover techniques to better model future results, prepare critical metrics, and benchmark yourself.
  • Learn specific steps you can take in helping your organization improve in 2016 and beyond.
  • Discuss methods for leveraging technology, data and metrics.

He will be available after the presentation to answer any questions that participants have.  If you are unable to attend the event, but would like more information about Kevin’s topic, he can be reached at

Adaptive Live 2016: A Visual Recap

Adaptive Live 2016, a Journey to Insights, was held last week and by all accounts was a great success. Carlson, a Gold Sponsor, sent a large contingent to take in the workshops, meet with our clients, and network with Adaptive customers and staff. Read the post and check out the video and photos.