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Primal: Optimal Cloud-based Planning Management Systems
Spreadsheets serve as an entrenched constituent of corporate management operations at organizations. Usually, back office departments such as planning department, accounting department, personnel departments, and general affairs department use spreadsheets, especially Excel, to construct and operate the three major management processes of information collection, compilation and processing, and reporting. In addition, it is often necessary to annually review which information to collect, what data processing methods to apply, and which contents to include in reports, to keep pace with the swift evolution of the business environment and management policies. However, it is simply difficult to systemize these operations. Furthermore, with business operations increasing in complexity, system vendors now need high-level business knowledge and abilities to build sophisticated systems and system users need to be upto- date with technological advancements. This is where Primal delivers high-quality products and services in accounting and planning as their main fields, which help bridge the gap between users and venders to make every effort for a project successful. The company’s clients are professionals who handle operations in accounting, planning, and HR.
A certified public accountant from Deloitte with rich IT skills and professional knowledge in financial planning and accounting (FP&A) and core business operations, such as marketing, procurement and production, founded Primal in 2006. The company operates the three core businesses of software product, system integration (SI), and consulting and aims to become an indispensable company for customers and society. From its base in Japan, Primal also offers implementation service and training in the APAC region through their experienced consultants. The consolidated accounting system Conglue and the budget compilation system BizForecast were integrated into the business group management system, the BizForecast Series brand, in 2018. “For the company considering implementing a custom accounting system or reforming an existing system, we can propose, design, and develop optimal systems using ‘BizForecast’ and offer our high-quality consultation on strategic planning to operations,” says Makoto Kondo, the Representative Director and CEO of Primal.
BizForecast Series can manage and solve typical issues in FP&A. These issues include constant changes required due to market circumstances, replacement of president and reconsideration of the KPI, the need to correspond to internal and external environment changes, and the necessity for the FP&A system to comply immediately with changes in new data requirements. FP&A professionals value Excel for its good quality interface for data input alongside good usability for data compilation and analysis when utilized with work sheet functions, pivot tables, graphs, and charts. At the same time, Excel has some disadvantages in terms of limited information-sharing and its security. With an upper hand, BizForecast Series, as a cloud-based system, eliminates Excel’s disadvantages and offers the full benefits of Excel’s extremely convenient data input interface, flexible and easy-to-use aggregation and analysis functions. Moreover, the client shall also be able to perform annual maintenance on their own. “BizForecast Series is a system solution for the golden age of cloud-based services, developed with the concept of ‘Use Excel’ not expulsion of the use of Excel,” states Kondo.
Setting BizForecast ahead of its competitors in the cloud-based planning market are its modules which are specialized in specific needs, empowering the solution to match clients’ needs and offer the best for their companies. The Core Module of the BizForecast Series carries the fundamental data structures and general functions of an accounting system, such as journal data entry and accounting worksheets.
We talk with our clients face-to-face, listen to them, and understand their needs to develop our software products that carry the best usability and quality standards
With multi-language capabilities, the module can manage any data from multiple group companies or departments. Core can systemize an organization’s entire business management operations.
Apart from the Core Module, BizForecast’s modules comprise the Budgetary Control (BC) module for financial planning and legal entity group management, Financial Consolidation (FC) module that can be used for consolidated accounting based on IFRS, and Business Intelligence (BI) module, which includes dashboard, pivot/OLAP features. These modules can be combined not only to cope with a wide variety of management tasks but also to enhance the performance of the client company. “BizForecast is not just a budget management tool but a high-quality platform service that can support all the tasks of the management and can promote a high performance of IT investment,” says Kondo.
Primal's work is based on their users' perspectives and needs. “We talk with our clients face-to-face, listen to them, and understand their needs to develop our software products that carry the best usability and quality standards,” says Kondo. Illustrating Primal’s efficient functioning, Kondo mentions a client that faced time-consuming and error-prone business processes as they performed their international planning department’s work, manually with Excel. As a result, the performance of data analysis was deprived of enough time and attention from the business users. Even at present, all of the client’s budget estimation and actual work are done manually, using Excel. This leads to human errors, endangers the integrity of data which could cause inaccurate sales forecast and misguided business decisions, while increasing the time taken to create/update/ amend the Excel files even if the user is proficient with Excel. Due to these problems, the client was in search of a solution to lighten the manual work of their staff and to help them focus on analyzing data that came from disparate sources to rapidly provide accurate and meaningful insights for their business.
Primal deployed BizForecast and delivered multiple benefits for the client such as reduced effort on manual operations during budget, estimate and actual business process, with consolidation and cleansing of raw data from disparate sources into one. Business users can now easily query the consolidated budget and actual data for analysis and presentation purposes, and also analyze and graphically present the consolidated budget and actual data with an increased number of perspectives. Specifically, BizForecast delivered the following positive results to the client—50 percent reduction in time spent to complete budgeting work, 50 percent reduction in time spent to complete estimation work, 70 percent reduction in time spent to complete actual work, 100 percent integration of essential raw data from all disparate sources into a central datasource, increased data accuracy for budgeting, estimation and actual data, and added data views with ease of operation
The extensive advantages that Primal presents, highlight the company’s mission to ‘make business management familiar and easier’ by firstly, developing a business management system which is well-secured, more flexible to adapt to any business environment changes, and easier to use like a calculator or Excel. Secondly, Primal strives to make the system more affordable to use for more companies.
Driven by its mission, Primal follows a robust plan for the advancement of the company. “In a few years, we are aiming to be listed on Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE), Mothers,” states Kondo. The company aspires to make every effort to improve their system usability and expand their clientele beyond Japan into the APAC region centering on Singapore, rapidly. Primal also plans to increase the sales ratio of subscription revenue by developing a multi-tenancy cloud service targeting SMEs. In addition, The company aims to enhance the accuracy of business forecasts using AI. “Our objective is not to provide a dedicated service in a specific business area but to offer ‘platform services for system developing’ which is specialized in developing an application that helps business management,” concludes Kondo.