Software evaluation

Operational planning software: top tools to enhance efficiency

Updated: May 15, 2024 |


Jim Bullis
Jim Bullis

Jim Bullis has over 13 years of experience implementing CPM/EPM tools and other finance software, as well as consulting and supporting a wide range of clients from Fortune 500 organizations, to privately held corporations generating over $100M in revenue, to public sector entities.

Operational planning software: top tools to enhance efficiency

In FP&A, operational planning connects financial objectives to the nuts and bolts of functional areas, translating long-term visions into actionable steps. 

With the rise of sophisticated technology, operational planning software has emerged as a critical tool, promising to streamline processes and elevate efficiency. 

This blog aims to shed light on the best tools that finance and FP&A leaders can leverage to stay ahead of the curve.

Jim Bullis

Jim Bullis

Head of Pre-Sales & Solutions, Cube Software

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The role of operational planning software in finance and FP&A

Operations planning (OP) software is essential for finance and FP&A teams. It helps transform strategic goals into day-to-day tasks, making complex financial management more manageable and precise.

In finance, every decision matters. That's where operations planning software steps in. It aligns the OP process with the financial strategy, giving FP&A teams a solid framework to work with. This isn't just about setting lofty goals; it's about making those goals a reality through everyday actions.

This software gives finance teams a clear roadmap. It ensures that they're not just monitoring progress but actively shaping it, helping them navigate the intricacies of financial planning and analysis with confidence and clarity.

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Key features of operational planning software

Operations planning tools are packed with features that make them indispensable allies for finance and FP&A professionals. Here’s a closer look at some of these key features:

  1. Budgeting and forecasting: These tools streamline the budgeting process, allowing for real-time adjustments and more accurate forecasts. They turn a traditionally cumbersome process into a dynamic, responsive activity that keeps pace with business needs.
  2. Performance tracking: With dashboards and reports, these tools provide an ongoing assessment of company performance against set goals. This enables quick identification and correction of deviations from the plan.
  3. Scenario analysis: The ability to simulate various business scenarios helps in evaluating potential risks and opportunities, ensuring that decisions are made with a comprehensive understanding of their possible impacts.
  4. Resource allocation: They offer insights into optimal resource distribution, ensuring that every department has what it needs to meet its objectives without overspending.
  5. Collaboration tools: Many of these tools include features that facilitate collaboration across departments, ensuring that all teams are aligned and working towards common goals.
  6. Compliance and governance: They assist in maintaining compliance with financial regulations and internal governance, reducing the risk of errors and ensuring that all financial practices are above board.
  7. Integration capabilities: The ability to integrate with other systems, such as ERP or CRM software, means that operations planning tools can provide a holistic view of the company's operations, making them a central hub for financial and operations data.

These features collectively ensure that finance and FP&A teams have a comprehensive suite of tools at their disposal, making operations planning more than just a task—it becomes a strategic asset that can drive business success.

Top operations planning software tools

Finance and FP&A leaders need tools that are not only robust but also tailored to their specific needs. Here’s a closer look at some of the top operations planning software tools, highlighting their distinct features and how they can streamline the OP process and financial processes:

1. Cube Software

Cube Software excels in real-time data syncing and a familiar spreadsheet interface. Its centralized database provides users with a single source of truth, automatically updating financial models and reports. Its real-time data capability ensures finance leaders have the latest information for budgeting, forecasting, and scenario planning, making financial decisions more accurate and timely.


  • Integrates seamlessly with Google Sheets and all versions of Excel (no coding or formulas needed)
  • Onboards new accounts 5x faster than the competition
  • Prioritizes user-friendly features (Cube is rated #1 for Ease of Use on G2)


  • Cube is not a solution for learning FP&A for the first time
  • Pricing is not designed for pre-series A startups

Best for: 

Cube is best for SMEs needing an easy-to-adopt tool for streamlined sales and operations planning, and reporting.

2. IBM Planning Analytics

IBM Planning Analytics is known for its what-if scenarios and advanced predictive capabilities. It also offers a flexible, multi-dimensional planning environment. These features are useful for finance leaders in making data-driven decisions, risk assessment, and strategic forecasting.


  • Enables you to create and test multiple what-if scenarios and hypotheses.
  • Scalable for businesses of all sizes.


  • Requires a learning curve due to its advanced features.
  • Support for mobile devices is limited.
  • Users have reported a lack of adequate training and support.

Best for:

IBM Planning Analytics is best for large enterprises or businesses with complex planning needs.

3. Workday Adaptive Planning

This tool offers comprehensive planning capabilities with interactive dashboards, what-if scenario analysis, and integrated financial planning. Its what-if scenarios and integrated planning ensure that finance leaders can quickly adapt to changes, making operational adjustments and strategic decisions efficiently.


  • User-friendly interface with a modern look.
  • Robust reporting and analytical capabilities.


  • Integration with non-Workday systems may require extra effort.
  • Less customization flexibility compared to other tools.

Best for: 

It is best for businesses and customers (especially those already within the Workday ecosystem) looking for an intuitive planning solution that offers strong scenario planning and analysis.

4. OneStream


OneStream is a unified platform for financial close, consolidation, reporting, and planning. It supports complex financial modeling and provides detailed financial analytics. Its unified approach to financial operations simplifies complex processes like financial close and consolidation, making it easier for finance leaders to plan and forecast accurately.


  • All-in-one solution reducing the need for multiple tools.
  • Emphasis on data accuracy and financial governance.


  • May be more complex than needed for smaller businesses.
  • Lengthy implementation process.

Best for: 

It’s best for large organizations that need a comprehensive, all-in-one solution for intricate operations planning and financial governance.

5. Anaplan

Anaplan provides flexibility, real-time calculations, and extensive scenario planning. It offers a connected, integrated business planning platform that links operations and financial plans across the company. Its real-time processing and interconnected planning enable finance leaders to measure progress and make swift, informed decisions that align operational efficiency with financial goals.


  • Highly adaptable to diverse business requirements.
  • Immediate data processing for up-to-date decision-making.


  • The flexibility might make the initial setup complex.
  • Pricing could be high for smaller organizations.

Best for:

Anaplan is a good choice for larger enterprises with a strong IT team to support implementation.

For finance and FP&A leaders, choosing the right tool means finding a balance between advanced features, ease of use, and integration with existing systems. These tools each offer unique strengths that can significantly enhance operations planning and financial decision-making.

6. Jedox

Jedox stands out with its powerful data integration, Excel-like environment, and sophisticated reporting features. It also allows for seamless financial consolidation from various data sources. Its robust reporting and consolidation features make it ideal for complex operations budgeting, financial forecasting, and multi-departmental planning.


  • Highly adaptable to different industry needs.
  • Familiar interface for Excel users.


  • The interface may feel outdated to some users.
  • Complex initial setup.

Best for:

Jedox is best for larger organizations that require a comprehensive solution for intricate financial and operations planning across multiple departments or locations.

Integrating operations planning software with existing systems

Integrating operations planning software with the systems already in place within an organization is more than a technical step; it's a strategic move that can redefine how a company operates. The goal is to create and manage a seamless ecosystem where data flows freely, and insights are readily available, fostering a culture of informed decision-making.

Here’s a practical approach to ensure seamless integration:

1. Assess compatibility

Before integrating, verify that the operations planning software is compatible with your current systems. Look for software that boasts of seamless integration capabilities.

2. Leverage APIs

Use Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to facilitate smooth communication between your operations planning software and existing systems. This ensures data is transferred accurately and efficiently.

3. Train your team

Ensure your team is well-versed with the integration process. Proper training can reduce errors and enhance productivity.

4. Monitor and optimize

After integration, continuously monitor the system to ensure it's running smoothly. Be prepared to make adjustments as needed to optimize performance.

By taking these actionable steps, you can ensure that your operations planning software integrates seamlessly with your existing systems, leading to improved efficiency and better decision-making.


Operations planning software stands as a linchpin in the realm of finance and FP&A, offering unparalleled insights and efficiency enhancements. The tools highlighted represent the crème de la crème of what technology has to offer to finance professionals.

Embracing these tools is not just about keeping pace with the technological tide; it's about unlocking the full potential of your financial sales operations planning, and steering your organization toward success with confidence and clarity.

Want to learn how Cube can help you on this journey? Request a free demo today.

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