With Oracle decommissioning its Public Sector Budgeting (PSB) system, it leaves many public sector organizations with an opportunity to select a new budget solution. While upgrading to Oracle’s Hyperion may be at the forefront of administrators’ minds, jumping into a new solution without considering all the available solutions that provide comprehensive budget preparation and budget management capabilities to the public sector could result in an organization contracting a solution that is not the most cost effective, or the best fit for its specific short and long-term needs.
Before making a decision that could affect your organization’s efficiency, long-term productivity, and public perception, administrators should consider these 10 crucial factors:
1. Hosting and Deployment
Every organization has unique priorities and concerns, which is why multiple deployment options are necessary for any platform. Depending on the size of an organization, its technological infrastructure, IT support and funds, you may wish to deploy a budget solution on your own site/network. However, entities that lack the necessary infrastructure or the internal technical expertise may prefer a cloud deployment. The best hosting and deployment options for an organization will be time-and cost-efficient and not disruptive to the work flow of the office during or after deployment.
Questica offers its customers on-site and cloud deployment options. On-site allows for your organization to retain its information completely within your secure networks, while cloud hosting is offered in a multi-instance environment. Through multi-instance architecture, each of Questica’s customers receives its own isolated solution – not just a portion of a single cloud like in multi-tenant environments. Every customer’s unique instance can be optimized and upgraded based on their specific needs. Unlike the multi-tenant environment where all customers must accept upgrades at the same time, Questica’s multi-instance solution provides customers the ability to control the timing of all upgrades, much the way they would if hosted on-site.
Security concerns don’t end at the discussion of hosting and implementing the solution, particularly as the number of external and internal cybersecurity threats continues to rise. A budget platform contains sensitive and even confidential information, which should be viewed and changed by only those granted authority. The right product for any organization is one like Questica, which allows administrators to determine access based on the principle of minimal privilege. Executives and department heads can specify, and modify if necessary, the information workers see. Additionally, administrators can set permissions for making any or certain changes within the system, which are always tracked for oversight and audit purposes.
Organizations draw financial information from numerous departments and systems, and a budgeting platform isn’t useful and cost-efficient if it doesn’t seamlessly integrate with your pre-existing software to import the necessary data. The right choice for a new solution works with your enterprise resource planning (ERP), financial, payroll, human resources and other programs to ensure the right data is always available.
Organizations moving on from Oracle PSB may be concerned with whether a platform will integrate with their other Oracle solutions and lean toward Hyperion for this reason. However, many other providers have experience with the Oracle platforms. Questica integrates with more than 25 financial systems and has extensive experience with JD Edwards, PeopleSoft and the Oracle E-Business Suite.
A platform should adjust to your organization – not the other way around. The true measure of a budget solution is how well it can be shaped to fit the internal processes of your organization without drastically increasing costs and time spent prior to implementation and use.
By offering a Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) product, Questica delivers all the necessary budgeting tools while also offering multiple options for a high level of configurability. The additional modules, including a staff planning tool, enhance Questica’s software, enabling the platform to benefit any organization no matter the size. Many other budget solutions, like Hyperion, ultimately offer many of the same capabilities, but only through extensive customization that increases both the financial and time investment of customers as well as the overall complexity of the solution.
Questica’s focus is on improving the budgeting process for organizations, not making these entities adapt to a new solution. Our products offer tailored work flows, report scheduling and automated distribution, dashboards, user-defined fields and configurable entry screens, advanced search capabilities for detailed analysis, change requests and interdepartmental allocations.
Not only is Questica’s solution 100 percent web-based, supporting the most commonly used browsers, but also there is no footprint on the workstation and no need for IT to install or distribute
software when new releases or updates are made available. Any system with Internet access can be used by an authorized user to access and work on the Questica solution.
5. Available Capabilities
Beyond implementation, organizations need to consider the finer details of potential budget solutions. What are the true capabilities the solution offers and how easy is it to gear them to your organization’s preferred workflow?
Organizations need to be able to do more than pull financial data to track costs. They must have the tools to easily compare expenditures versus the budget, run audits, make departmental transfers, compare versions, forecast for years into the future and prepare customized analytics and reports. Unlike many of the other budgeting software providers that service all areas of business, the Questica solution was purposely built for the public sector. We understand the inherent needs of public sector organizations, which is why it offers all these capabilities and more within Questica Budget.
6. Performance Management
Performance factors impact an organization’s bottom line as much as financial elements, which is why it’s crucial for your organization’s budget to be based not only on the hard numbers, but also non-financial measures. Internal performance metrics such as employee engagement and productivity are key to the long-term success of an organization and may indicate if funds are being put to effective use. Additionally, external elements that are known to impact operations can be tracked to better forecast for future need, leading to more educated allocations of funds.
An organization in need of a new budget solution should look to implement a complementary performance measurement solution as well. We offer the Questica Performance module to better align budgetary and non-financial considerations for any organization. Measures can be established and monitored to track progress toward your organization’s overall strategic objectives.
The cost of new technology is a major consideration for any organization. Whether it is hardware, software or the associated implementation costs, an organization needs to ensure its money is well spent and that the latest purchase will benefit it for many years to come. Questica understands the pressure public sector organizations face to maximize the value and return on their investments, which is why it offers a comprehensive platform at a competitive price when compared to the cost of upgrading to Hyperion.
Technological investments will fail if employees don’t know how to use them. If an organization’s new budget program isn’t intuitive, well laid out or delivered with proper training, any money or time saved prior to implementation is quickly lost. Employees need to be able to use their new budget solutions from day one. It may take a few training sessions to bring them entirely up to speed, but the system must be well-documented and intuitive.
Questica prides itself on its products’ ease-of-use. Workers can dive into the solution from the very beginning, but we do not expect them to go it alone. Questica ensures that everyone is fully
trained and that the education process continues even after the completion of the implementation. Fully searchable and modifiable On-Line Help is available throughout our solution.
9. On-going Support
A new budget solution isn’t merely a tool that organization’s purchase before going on their way. It’s an opportunity to create a partnership with a provider that benefits your organization for years, which is why your organization should choose a solution that comes with a comprehensive support offering.
Beyond the initial training, administrators, employees and IT support are bound to come up with a few questions, and Questica is there to help. We offer unlimited customer service through our support desk, inclusive of a self-service web portal and knowledge base. Understanding the need to go above and beyond basic technical support, we have developed Questica Academy, our online learning channel. Plus, our Customer Success team will work with you to ensure you make the most of Questica Budget and help you achieve your short and long-term organizational goals.
10. Evidence of Success
Arlington Public Schools, a former Oracle PSB customer, which encompasses more than 30 schools and programs including more than 23,000 students, recently implemented Questica Budget. This is but one example of our previous success and familiarity with Oracle systems. Questica integrated the solution with the Oracle E-Business Suite to enable the school district to better manage personnel budgeting, account for changing enrollment and scale as the district grows.
For almost 20 years we’ve been providing public sector organizations with a strong budget solution – one that is consistently improved upon through a combination of industry and customer input. Over 600 customers across North America in 45 states and 10 provinces and territories have chosen Questica’s budgeting, performance and data visualization solutions.
If you are looking for alternatives to being forced to upgrade from Oracle PSB to Hyperion and want to learn more about Questica’s public sector experience and how we can help you bring better budgeting to your organization, contact us today and request a demo.