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Best Vena Alternatives for Financial Planning & Modeling

Find an alternative to Vena for planning & modeling that integrates with all your data sources and anyone can use, even if they don't know SQL.

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Vena Solutions Alternatives

Looking for Vena alternatives? We’re here to help.

With economic surprises and opportunities coming ever more frequently, your finance team needs the right forecasting software to be even more nimble. What you knew to be true yesterday is no longer true today. What you expect from the year ahead will need to be revised, adjusted, and re-forecast — almost continuously.

Shifting from a yearly or quarterly planning to a more continuous one puts a lot of stress on the team and the tools it uses. Solutions prized for their flexibility when time isn’t urgent can become barriers when set up times are long and structural changes or additions take months to implement.

Vena Solutions

Vena Solutions streamlines and centralizes budgeting and workflows and simultaneously leverages the familiarity of Excel. Vena is almost infinitely flexible due to its focus on Excel. But that approach is a double-edged sword. While Vena Solutions is a popular CPM platform with various companies worldwide, it’s not without its shortcomings, and adopting the solution isn’t as easy as proclaimed. 

Disadvantages of Using Vena

We’ve compiled a list of alternatives to Vena Solutions that might be more suitable for your needs, but before we dive in, let’s look at the reasons companies are moving away from Vena:

Steep Learning Curve

Getting started with Vena isn’t easy. Deployments take months and rely heavily on expensive consultants. Very few demos and support resources are available to help your employees work independently, and some clients complain that they are over-reliant on customer support to get tasks done. And once customers go live, they often find they’re still dependent on consulting resources to adapt their solution to the needs of the business. 

Slow Uploads

Creating complex templates can take a long time to set up and open. Retrieving large data sets sometimes means watching the system upload bar for minutes at a time. Individuals that work with large files find that copying and pasting information is slow and cumbersome to manage. 

Bugs and Compatibility Issues

Users still report that the transition to Vena isn’t easy and that despite upgrades, there are still several compatibility issues for Mac users. 

Customer Support

Clients describe customer support as helpful, but error messages are vague. Customer service calls and tech support are often complicated and time-consuming. 

Updating Templates

Users find that it is difficult to change and update templates. Most users will find it hard to make changes without dialing tech support to add new requirements.

Pricing

For growing businesses, Vena pricing can be prohibitive. Worse, the need to work with consultants to implement and maintain a Vena solution can add significantly to the price and raise the cost of ownership beyond initial expectations.

Alternatives to Vena Software

Summing up, the disadvantages of using Vena Software include:

  • A lengthy learning curve that makes adoption difficult
  • Slow, cumbersome editing and creation process
  • Bugs and compatibility issues
  • Lack of training resources and demos
  • Vague error messages 
  • Over-reliance on customer support
  • Usability errors and difficulties

If your company needs something easier to use and less error-prone, several Vena alternatives are available. 

#1 — OnPlan 

Unlike Vena, which focuses mainly on enterprise-level organizations, OnPlan is a SaaS financial business planning application designed for small and mid-size businesses (25-500 employees). 

Like Vena Software, OnPlan streamlines sales forecasting and budgeting operations. Like Vena, OnPlan is tightly integrated into spreadsheets so that finance users can build models in their native language, easily audit them, and adapt them infinitely.

However, unlike Vena, OnPlan was designed for ease of use, rapid adoption and time-to-value realization. Onboarding can take place in a matter of days instead of months. And, it’s built on the latest technologies to offer blazing performance — up to 10x faster than Vena in some cases.

OnPlan

OnPlan shows a depth of understanding of the pain points that finance pros have regarding data modeling. Historically, they have faced a choice between systems that are heavy and expensive to implement and run, or limited but straightforward finance planning apps. Having to trade off speed for flexibility, or vice versa, is why Excel has remained the default solution for so many finance departments.. 

OnPlan overcomes the limitations and tradeoffs of existing solutions by acting as the best of both worlds with the familiarity and flexibility of Excel and Google Sheets together with speed and usability of a genuinely modern app. 

OnPlan offers spreadsheets and modeling logic with a powerful backend that makes FP&A work more straightforward, with visualizations, immediate BvAs, one-click rollovers, and collaborative features that make it easier to function in a modern, agile organization and deliver financial reporting the rest of the business can get value from. 

While its functionality compares well to Adaptive Planning, OnPlan is more affordable and not locked into Workday’s ecosystem. 

Key Features 

  • Pre-loaded fast-start model to get value starting in 1 week.
  • Predefined apps that customers can easily extend.
  • Spreadsheet modeling language.
  • Integration with third-party apps including ERPs like Netsuite, Quickbooks, Sage, Xero, SAP, and Microsoft Dynamics; CRMs like Salesforce, Hubspot; HR systems such as ADP or Bamboo; and spreadsheets like Excel and Google Sheets. (Additional integrations are accessible with the powerful API.)
  • Powerful and intuitive what-if scenario planning and BVA capabilities. 
  • Powerful charting capabilities for comparing inputs and outputs across various scenarios.
  • Ability to sync changes to presentations without copying & pasting.
  • Predefined dashboards.
  • Forecasting, benchmarking, and scenario planning.
  • Logical modeling organization and contextualization through dropdowns, long-form text notes, checkboxes, formulas, etc.
  • Tiered permission management to improve collaboration without compromising on data security. 
  • Ability to perform batch changes
  • Sync with Google Sheets in both directions 
  • Create and update scenarios with BVAs immediately
  • Switch between monthly, quarterly, and yearly summaries with a single click
  • Manage & update GL account, departments, customer types, or other data hierarchies in one place

Use Cases

  • Use synchronization capabilities to implement Excel formulas during model preparations and easily export forecasts into familiar spreadsheet formats. Share these formats with external stakeholders.
  • Use what-if scenario planning and budget vs actual capabilities to screen opportunities and threats as the business scales.
  • Use predefined dashboards and templates to create models for sales, marketing, and HR processes. 
  • Track business performance through variance analysis. 

#2 — Planful

Planful, formerly Host Analytics, is a leading FP&A cloud-based platform. Planful accelerates the end-to-end FP&A process and encourages business-wide participation in agile planning and decision making. Planful is a good solution for enterprise clients because it can handle a large workforce, and transitioning to Planful with the Excel add-in is straightforward.

Despite the difficulties with Vena, online reviewers found Vena to be easier to use, set up, and administer than Planful, but rate the two platforms similarly in terms of the product offering. Like Vena, Planful suffers from performance issues with larger datasets. Planful customers sometimes struggle to get data integrations right, reporting months-long delays, and some feel that using the product is unintuitive.

Planful is also cheaper than Vena. However, it’s not as user-friendly as OnPlan regarding automation and setup. For example, a key modeling limitation is that the forecasting canvas is static. If the structure of your hierarchies changes (for example, a new GL account, sales region, or customer type), your system administrator will have to manually modify the structure of every single input template to accommodate the change. 

planful vena alternatives
Planful

Key Features

  • Structured planning features for budgeting and forecasting.
  • Consolidation and reporting features. 
  • Real-time updates to financial metrics and KPIs.
  • Enterprise-wide collaboration across departments.

Use Cases

  • Self-service reporting by business users.
  • Improved communication with stakeholders resulting in greater accountability. 
  • Enhanced monitoring of business intelligence, milestones, and achievements. 

#3 — Anaplan

Anaplan is considered one of the most versatile tools and is popular with very large enterprises. Anaplan describes itself as a platform for connecting people, data, and plans. Much like some of the other tools in this review, businesses use Anaplan to deliver a real-time cloud-based environment to power decision-making across the entire organization. 

Anaplan is not based on spreadsheet language but its proprietary language, so finance teams will have to hire experts with prior Anaplan experience or devote a lot of time to become experts themselves. Also, the initial setup takes a great deal of time, and training and onboarding sessions can take days, compared to OnPlan, which can be set up and used very quickly. 

Anaplan

Key Features

  • Compensation management.
  • Marketing analytics.
  • Corporate performance management.
  • Sales & ops planning.
  • Supply-chain planning

Use Cases

  • Integrate and analyze all data in a single, unified platform. 
  • Create a single source of truth for planning and decision-making across the entire enterprise. 

#4 — Adaptive Planning

Adaptive Planning is a robust FP&A solution used to create and maintain budgets and forecasting. The tool has several custom reporting features, integration capabilities, and an Office Connect Excel plug-in for easy analysis. 

It’s an all-in-one package for business performance and includes modules like Adaptive Technology Foundation, Adaptive Reporting, Adaptive Consolidation, Adaptive Discovery, Adaptive Integration, and Adaptive Planning. Like many of the tools reviewed here, it’s accessible from any device. 

Since Workday acquired Adaptive Planning, they’ve invested a lot in making the two systems work well together, so Adaptive Planning is a good choice for customers using Workday for ERP and HR. 

Unfortunately, the tool lets its users down the minute there are organizational changes. Adaptive has made bold claims about their flexibility and agility, but clients haven’t found it true. 

As one client put it, “As our organization has grown through acquisitions and re-org, Adaptive’s inflexibility has been a bottleneck”. Updating the model can change locked versions, and load times increase dramatically as organizational data does. 

Locked versions change as accounts, level structures, and even simple formula calculations change. Users also complain that ERP integrations tend to break and require a long time and multiple support interventions to repair. 

Implementation is another significant challenge, with some clients reporting implementations of over a year.

Key Features

  • Long-term financial planning
  • Scenario modelling
  • Multi-currency management
  • Excel-based reporting
  • Benchmarking with external data

Use Cases

  • Financial planning, reporting and analyses
  • Accurate budgets 
  • Cross-functional collaboration over the web, mobile
  • Workforce planning (including capacity management)
  • Operational capacity planning 

Final Word

While Vena remains a trusted and reliable financial planning and analysis tool, it may not be suited to small and medium-level organizations that can’t afford the steep learning curve and expensive ongoing consultant-heavy management of the system. Before deciding, evaluate all the alternatives to determine which solution is best for your needs, budget, and time to value.

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I really love the user interface, modularity, and power of the platform. It makes a very complex process much easier to manage. I love the fact it tracks your updates so you can see people’s thinking at various points in time.

Gerald Sullivan
Gerald Sullivan

Head of FP&A, Redbubble

OnPlan gives me peace of mind which in itself is worth the price. I don’t have to worry about version control or someone inadvertently corrupting a calculation in our model. I “fly” ImplantBase using OnPlan as my instrument panel, it tells me how fast I can go and how close I am to the treetops. Crucially, it allows us to more quickly get to the answers we need.

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Ethan Lauer

CEO, Implantbase

OnPlan is our go-to source for key operational data. It puts key information at our executives’ fingertips so we can make faster and better data driven decisions. OnPlan has helped eliminate hours of manual labor and allows us to create tailored dashboards that can be shared with key stakeholders across the company.

Joe Oest
Joe Oest

VP of Finance, Welkin Health

We have regularly hit our numbers since moving to OnPlan. I now have confidence in our forecast, and our Board members are much happier. The direct integration with Quickbooks saves us a ton of time. But the two critical issues it has solved is making sure we don’t run out of cash, and having a trustworthy forecast that we can base decision making on.

Sunil Saha
Sunil Saha

CEO, Perkville

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