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.

Integrate Adaptive Insights with QuickBooks: DataBlend Year-End Special

datablend-oval-and-typemark-solid_03Carlson Management Consulting, the Adaptive Insights 2014 Innovation Partner award-winner, is offering a Year End Special for Adaptive Insights customers using Quickbooks.  Using DataBlend, our proprietary cloud integration platform, we will integrate your Quickbooks Desktop or Quickbooks Online system with Adaptive Insights. With DataBend, you will eliminate manual imports and free up time for more value-added activities.  You can have your systems integrated for as lttle as $1999.  The Year End Special includes DataBlend setup, web-based user training and a 1 year subscription for one licensed user.

DataBlend is a cost-effective SaaS solution that integrates data from general ledger (GL), customer relationship management (CRM), professional services automation (PSA) and other systems into Adaptive Insights for improved reporting and a holistic view of business performance.  Pre-built integrations currently include Adaptive Insights, NetSuite ERP, NetSuite OpenAir,, Intacct, Quickbooks Online, Quickbooks Desktop and others. DataBlend provides unique features that unlock new and existing capabilities of the Adaptive Insights API. With DataBlend, business users can import, export, and transform data into a variety of formats in minutes rather than hours.

Over twenty Carlson customers have already experienced the benefits of DataBlend, which implements quickly to deliver impressive results. “Using DataBlend, we got our Quickbooks integration to Adaptive up and running in just 4 hours, fully tested. Carlson even demoed with our real data on the first call and had a working integration before we wrapped up!” stated Jenna McPhail, Chief Financial Officer at Rave Mobility Safety.

For more information about the DataBlend Promotion, please email  This special offer ends 12/31/2015.

Mind the Gap…in Your Monthly Reporting

Ethan-Carlson-mind-the-gap-450-600I’m in London on a whirlwind business trip this week visiting clients, partners and attending the Adaptive Insights Roadshow. Earlier in my career, I worked in London so I have a strong attachment to this city. If you have ever navigated London using the Underground, you know that whenever the train doors open and close, there is an automated announcement to “Mind the Gap”. This iconic message is a fitting metaphor for the information gap that exists in most of the reporting packages that form the core of decision-making. Most of the reports that our colleagues in financial planning and analysis (FP&A) produce include requisite financial details yet lack operational, human capital, R&D, customer and other non-financial data that provide a more comprehensive portrait of business performance. As such, these reports fail to connect the dots between performance measures in different areas of the business to provide not only a holistic perspective but to elucidate the relationships and dependencies between those areas. These metrics are vital to agile planning and action as they are often early indicators of future business issues and successes. Read more

Carlson Launches New Cloud Integration Solution; Saving Adaptive Insights Users Days of Effort and Providing Unified Data


datablend-oval-and-typemark-solid_03WOBURN MA, Sept 24, 2015Carlson Management Consulting, the cloud financial solutions experts, today announces the launch of its new DataBlend cloud integration solution. DataBlend makes it easy to seamlessly bring data from external systems into Adaptive Insights, the #1 cloud Corporate Performance solution. With DataBlend’s unique capabilities, business users can create static versions in Adaptive with the click of a button, transfer data across versions easily, and replace slow formula-based tasks with high performance batch processes. Users are able to integrate data from mission-critical systems into Adaptive Insights in just hours, rather than days.

DataBlend is the latest innovation from Carlson Management Consulting, which ranks 553 on the Inc. 5000 list of the fastest-growing private companies. Carlson previously received the Partner Innovation 2014 award from Adaptive Insights for its pre-built vertical market solutions.

“We are excited to announce the official launch of DataBlend for Adaptive Insights customers. We have already received glowing feedback from our early adopters and are ready to make available to the broader Adaptive community,” stated Ethan Carlson, founder and CEO of Carlson Management Consulting. “DataBlend addresses the need for a high performance, bi-directional integration solution designed for business users. It enables finance professionals to benefit from full picture insights and analyses within the Adaptive system that only comprehensive and unified data can deliver.”

Read more

Join Carlson at the NYC Adaptive Insights Roadshow

Carlson-Adaptive-Roadshow-NYCJoin Carlson Management Consulting at the Adaptive Roadshow at the Millennium Broadway Hotel in New York City on Thursday September 24th.  This full-day event offers two tracks to Adaptive customers as well as those evaluating Adaptive solutions.

As a sponsor, we will be showcasing our new DataBlend integration solution.  DataBlend is a cloud-based integration platform that makes it easy to seamlessly bring data from external systems into Adaptive Insights. With DataBlend’s unique capabilities, you are able to integrate your mission-critical systems into Adaptive Insights in mere hours, rather than days.  Please come by for a demo.  We hope to see you there!

If you aren’t able to attend the event, but would like to see DataBlend in action, please contact us to schedule a demo.