Financial and business planning software tools have been around for decades, but the last few years have seen exciting new advances and tools enter the market for the first time. In the past, FP&A software tools capable of processing large data sets and completing complex forecasts were only available to enterprise-grade companies with deep pockets and the patience to weather lengthy implementation times. Small and mid-sized companies would either pay an exorbitant fee or stick to Excel.
Solutions like Workday Adaptive Planning, which used an out-of-the-box business planning model, were considered cutting-edge when they launched in the early 2003s because they provided greater analytical capabilities at a lower price. Fast forward almost 20 years, and you’ll find a solution like Jirav that brings enterprise-grade software to smaller businesses.
When you are choosing the right business planning solution for your business, you have to wonder whether or not Adaptive Planning has outlived its usefulness? Or if Jirav really lives up to its promises of bringing robust FP&A forecasting and budgeting tools to SMBs? And whether or not a solution exists that combines the ease of use of Jirav with the robust processing power of Adaptive Planning, bringing together the best of both worlds?
In this article, we’ll combine Jirav, Adaptive Planning, and an alternative solution, OnPlan.
Launched in 2003, Adaptive Planning (formerly Adaptive Insights) has a large client base around the world, although its popularity is waning. It’s a cloud-based business and financial planning system used for balance sheet forecasting, planning, reporting, analysis, and budgeting. While it was initially an important product for agile businesses, its aging cloud and database technology has meant that newer solutions outshine its current capabilities.
Jirav is one of the newer business planning platforms on the market. Whereas Adaptive Planning has been focused on mid-market and enterprise-level organizations, Jirav is focused on the SMB market through lower prices and a modern, intuitive UI. Like Adaptive Planning, Jirav comes with forecasting, modeling, and KPI tracking capabilities and can integrate with ERP and CRM.
Adaptive Planning and Jirav both perform the same function (at least, on the surface) but target very different user bases. Jirav focuses on smaller businesses; Adaptive Planning serves mid- to enterprise-level companies. Size alone isn’t the only determining factor when you have to choose an FP&A forecasting and planning tool, so we’ll look at how the two stack up against each other.
Adaptive Planning is still considered a market leader, despite waning interest in the brand, and has several large companies around the globe as its customers. Jirav is a fairly new entrant to the market. Adaptive Planning targets enterprise-level organizations, whereas Jirav is suitable for SMEs and single users, including freelancers. The two solutions are priced on opposite ends of the spectrum, as we’ll see in the next section.
Of the two solutions, Jirav is the easiest and most affordable to deploy. It comes with a free 14-day trial option, and single users pay as little as $250 per month. Professional users can expect to pay $850 per user per month. This price is far below Adaptive Planning, which starts at $15,000 per year per user. Adaptive Planning offers two packages to users. The Standard and Enterprise packages are similar, but the Enterprise version adds unlimited storage and sandboxing to the suite. Adaptive Planning also has three license types to consider, making the pricing structure more complex than Jirav. Both solutions are cloud-based and come with standardized out-the-box capabilities, which makes them easy to implement, but Adaptive Planning was built with much older cloud technology, giving Jirav a slight edge.
While Adaptive Planning’s UI is a little dated, the platform is more flexible than Jirav. Like OnPlan and a few other modern solutions, Adaptive Planning uses a familiar spreadsheet-based format that most finance professionals are thoroughly used to, reducing the learning and adoption curve. Jirav takes a different approach, using its own proprietary formats. Excel may not be a good FP&A tool, but it’s the go-to solution for data entry and data manipulation. Most FP&A pros will return to Excel, again and again, to perform these calculations if they aren’t included in the FP&A solution they’re using, which is why Jirav’s determination to move away from spreadsheets is a little puzzling. Jirav resolves the errors and issues users associated with spreadsheets, but it increases the time to value realization ratio considerably.
It’s here that Adaptive Planning shows its age. Operational performance really takes a hit, especially when large volumes of data have to be processed or with concurrent users. Jirav is generally quite stable, but accounts with large charts will find the system extremely slow. While Jirav claims that it is an enterprise-grade solution, it is built for smaller businesses and single users, and it shows when complex large data volumes need to be analyzed.
Adaptive Planning has many of the data modeling features that a large business requires, but its calculation engine is prone to instability. When comparing Adaptive Planning to Jirav, however, its features are superior. Jirav is aimed at SMBs, and its features reflect that. Jirav doesn’t allow bulk uploading. Custom tables need to be input manually (and not copied and pasted), which can lead to errors. The Jirav dashboard is more flexible than Adaptive Planning, but its visual data presentations are extremely basic, and it can be difficult to consolidate data within a single dashboard. Reporting on actuals isn’t enabled, and only two comparisons can be viewed at a time. This is very limiting for financial professionals that want to view actuals against forecast, or the prior year, and their budget in a single report. Adaptive Planning provides greater visibility and faster expense reporting to users in that regard.
Adaptive Planning is not particularly flexible. The solution is packaged out of the box with many useful features that should meet most needs, but innovation isn’t high on its priority list. It’s also much less capable of handling non-financial use cases, particularly when using non-Workday platforms. Jirav is the newer of the two solutions, and there is a roadmap with new innovations on the cards. However, in its current form, Jirav’s dashboards (particularly with regard to its formulas) are not easy to customize, either. Custom reports and tables require manual data entry, and their reporting functionality is restrictive and limiting. It’s a far cry from being an all-in-one solution.
Neither Adaptive Planning nor Jirav focus on scalability. Adaptive Planning is focused on maintaining its current solution and reducing performance issues, whereas Jirav’s focus on smaller businesses and single users means that it hasn’t targeted larger and rapidly expanding businesses. Most companies will need more complex formulas than Jirav allows, including multi-layer formulas like if-then statements. Calculations within reports are limited as well.
Adaptive Planning and Jirav are at the opposite ends of the spectrum. Adaptive Planning is a decades-old, large, enterprise-level solution whose reputation demands a hefty price; Jirav is newer, cheaper but also significantly lighter in terms of its features and capabilities. Adaptive Planning is user-friendly and leverages a familiar Excel format to make sure users can draw value from their platform; Jirav has an excellent and modern UI but uses an entirely unfamiliar method of analysis and data manipulation.
Adaptive Planning has cornered a large section of the mid-and enterprise-level market; Jirav focuses on smaller businesses and even single users. Neither is suitable for ambitious, fast-growing businesses that need a robust solution that can grow along with their needs.
If you need a more flexible and scalable solution, consider OnPlan. OnPlan is most similar to Adaptive Planning. It can seamlessly integrate with a number of systems (including ERP, HCM, CRM), providing a considerable edge over Adaptive Planning (which locks users into Workday). Like Adaptive Planning, OnPlan uses a familiar spreadsheet format, but it’s much more powerful than the dated platform. Complex what-if scenario forecasting and variance analyses can be conducted in mere seconds, even with large data sets. In terms of pricing, OnPlan is affordable enough for smaller businesses to use but comes with features and powerful processing capabilities that allow businesses to grow and expand without any changes in performance.
Jirav is a solid solution for small businesses or freelancers that need a basic planning and forecasting tool. Adaptive Planning comes with more features but is extremely inflexible and unadaptable. OnPlan is perfect for businesses that need enterprise-level budgeting and forecasting capabilities at a price point that is affordable enough for small and mid-level companies. Best of all, innovation is the cornerstone of the company. As the market (and your business) evolves, OnPlan will evolve with you.