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The Value of Multiple Users in Synario

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Unlike Excel, Synario is a collaborative application. Users are encouraged to add their opinions and perspectives to a model because Synario was developed with the understanding that multiple inputs generally yield a view of the future that is greater than the sum of its parts.

When Synario clients empower multiple users, either from different divisions or finance roles, to access and add to a model, they often create a team that can tackle much more challenging questions.

Users are split into two types, Power Users and Standard Users, and each user group brings different strengths to a Synario financial model. More Synario Power Users means a greater division of labor and ability to overcome more complicated planning and modeling hurdles. Alternatively, more Synario Standard Users allow outside stakeholders and non-finance leaders to explore model findings and input their own perspectives.

Organizations planning to put a large focus on multi-year forecasting should enable a Synario modeling team with multiple Power and Standard Users. Modeling teams with multiple financially adept Power Users and a few cross-divisional Standard Users can craft a more full-field view of their organization’s financial future than any single division or user.

Stephen Covey covers this topic in his bestselling book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. In his book, Habit #6 covers the concept of synergy, described as a team working together to achieve more than they could accomplish individually.

Covey defines synergy as “…producing a third alternative – not my way, not your way, but a third way that is better than either of us would come up with individually. It’s the fruit of mutual respect – of understanding and even celebrating one another’s differences in solving problems, seizing opportunities.  Synergistic teams and families thrive on individual strengths so that the whole becomes greater than the sum of the parts.  Such relationships and teams renounce defensive adversarialism (1+1=1/2). They don’t settle on compromise (1+1= 1 ½ or merely cooperation (1+1=2). They go for creative cooperation (1+1=3 or more).”

In Synario, creative cooperation leads to exploring and uncovering unknown organizational trajectories that yield financial growth and sustainability. Creative cooperation within a team of Power Users means more comprehensive scenario analysis and a deeper understanding of the financial impacts associated with large-scale strategic or financial changes.

Creative cooperation among Standard Users with different backgrounds and strengths means multiplying your model’s breadth of perspective while simultaneously establishing better trust and transparency in organizational decision-making.

Even non-finance users, who are generally looked over when constructing or analyzing spreadsheet-based financial models, can add immense value to your Synario models. Often, these users push the model to encompass both financial and strategic viewpoints. Non-finance users can also add perspective on the cascading ramifications associated with a given financial or strategic direction, uncovering hidden costs or opportunities that unfamiliar users would look over or completely miss.

An additional benefit of a diverse, synergistic modeling team is the consensus gained around solutions to difficult organizational decisions. By creating and enabling a diverse modeling team, divisions across your business will know that their opinions are accounted for and leadership made the best decision possible with their needs and goals in mind.

The result of adding multiple Power and Standard Users to a Synario financial model is threefold:

  • Overcome more complex challenges by involving more members of your team.
  • Broaden consensus for a given organizational trajectory.
  • Uncover a full-field view of your financial future.

Here is an example of how Wake Forest University sees the threefold benefits of additional users within their financial models.

The University’s Power User base stems from different divisions within the finance department, including Accounting, Budgeting, and Planning. The Director of Financial Reporting and Accounting owns the historical data related to financial statements within their Synario model, used to project known values into the future.

From the budget office, the Sr. Financial Management Analyst loads budget related data into their model and performs budget sensitivity analysis while the Assistant VP of Budget and Planning reviews all budget projections.

The planning department provides needed quantitative insight on capital projects and debt funding. The Power Users from the planning department are split into two functions; the Assistant Controller is responsible for incorporating capital project funding and endowment data into the model while the Director of Capital Budgets adds capital project expenditures and timings.

Finally, the Assistant Vice President of Finance reviews all the data, analysis, and projections from the different divisions.

The division of labor between these six Power Users allows Wake Forest University to manage and maintain one of Synario’s most robust models to date. Model insights are comprehensive and reliable on multiple fronts as each user adds their strength and perspective to the model’s data and assumptions under their control.

For example, trustworthy budget and endowment projections allow users responsible for capital plans to trust the future financial state of the institution upon which their plans are built. Likewise, comprehensive capital plans that contain reliable expense projections help direct the University’s future budget.

Wake Forest University’s Synario model is a trusted source of insight for the organization’s leadership when making financial and strategic decisions. Because of the diverse set of Power Users, model projections can be trusted to give a comprehensive full-field view of the University’s financial future.

Adding Power and Standard Users to your Synario model can help move your organization toward more comprehensive and trustworthy financial projections. See our recent webcast, Creating and Enabling Leadership Teams to Confidently Drive Organization Change, to learn how to craft a diverse team and give them the tools they need to lead your organization toward a financially rewarding future.