Media and Publishing Firms Need Full-Function Financial Planning

Posted by Chris Hering, Industry Manager for Media & Publishing, NetSuite

Media companies today face a vastly more complex set of business and market factors than they did 10 years ago. International expansion, rapid shifts in technology, consolidation in the publishing markets, more complex multi-media properties and shorter time-to-market cycles make business and financial planning ever more challenging. To make accurate strategic decisions, executives at advertising, broadcast and news organizations need sophisticated, automated data analysis, modeling and reporting.

But up until just a few years ago, most media firms had only two real choices: they could either use a spreadsheet application, such as Excel, or they could implement a large, on-site ERP system. The spreadsheet solution typically provided few analysis and reporting tools and the big on-site systems were expensive to purchase and maintain. Only large companies could afford the license fees, hardware expenses, and IT payroll costs required.

Fortunately, there is a third option, one that is more flexible and far less expensive. Cloud-based financial analysis and planning applications have the advantage of being web-based, meaning they're easy to access and more user friendly than big legacy systems.

NetSuite's Financial Planning application module provides features to liberate non-technical business executives to analyze data, generate reports and create their own dashboards with whatever metrics and data they need to have up front.

A 360-degree view of your finances—fast

Just as customer service managers yearn for the 360-degree view of customer data, business and financial professionals need a full view of enterprise data. To do that, they need to be able to bring in data from multiple sources—either by importing spreadsheets, integrating with third-party connectors, or writing scripts—and analyze and model it to compare different categories of data, create "what if" scenarios, and visualize the outcomes in graphics.

Business users can use NetSuite's drag-and-drop builder to assemble custom reports incorporating different types and sources of data, from historical overviews of sales growth by product category or region, to in-depth analysis of expenses by category, department, project or client. They can also create dashboards customized to their needs—with real-time data such as KPIs, alerts on metrics that go outside of set parameters, and real-time graphs.

For analysis of more complex information, users can create dynamic models of multiple types of data, as well as drill down into single data cells to trace its origins or any changes that have been made to it. They don't have to wait for an IT specialist to dig up the data or run the report, thus saving time and making it possible to address any problems faster.

By having the freedom to create their own models, business professionals are free to analyze data at will, potentially making correlations and spotting discrepancies that can have a big impact on the bottom line. And because of data through user- and role-based permissions, employees only see the data that pertains to their job and department.

Cloud applications made to share data with each other and third-party applications provide an alternative to the typical mess of integration efforts found in many enterprises that have accumulated multiple silos of data and have had to construct "spaghetti code" or "hairballs" of programming to connect them. That in turn frees up the media company and staff to focus on running its business and staying competitive.

To find out more, take the online tour of NetSuite's Financial Planning for Media/Publishing Companies

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