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Scenario planning software and tools for 2024

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In the ever-evolving SaaS landscape, scenario planning is essential to navigating the many uncertainties businesses face. Scenario planning equips businesses with the data they need to mitigate risks and at the same time, identify hidden opportunities they can leverage to accelerate growth.

However, scenario modeling and analysis in Excel is tedious, and choosing the right software for the task isn’t easy given the many options available today. 

This guide will save you a lot of time by comparing six popular scenario planning analysis software options that can help you forecast multiple business outcomes, understand potential risks, and make informed decisions. 


The best scenario planning analysis software compared

In this guide, we provide a detailed comparison of the six best scenario planning tools on the market today. 

We’ll also explain the many benefits that scenario planning software can offer your business and discuss the specific features you’ll want to look for in a solution.  

But first, let’s start by getting acquainted with your options. The table below gives you a summary with more detailed information on each tool to follow. 

Software/
Platform
DrivetrainMosaicVenaCubeWorkday Adaptive PlanningAnaplan
Price
$$
$$
$$
$$
$$-$$$
$$$
Best for
SMB to  Mid-Market
SMB to  Mid-Market
Mid-Market
SMB to Mid-Market
Mid-Market
Enterprise
Type of FP&A solution
3rd
Generation
3rd
Generation
2nd
Generation
3rd
Generation
2nd
Generation
2nd
Generation
Native Integrations
200+ OOTB integrations
29 OOTB integrations
Few native integrations
22 OOTB integrations
7 OOTB integrations
10 OOTB integrations
Scalability
Highly scalable
Moderately scalable
Moderately scalable (requires  extensive planning)
Moderately scalable (same limitations as Excel + requires manual data  uploads)
Highly scalable (requires continual adjustment)
Highly scalable (requires upgrades to accommodate growing needs)
Scenario planning & modeling
Collaboration with access control
Dynamic Dashboards
Onboarding, training & customer success

Drivetrain is a third-generation, cutting-edge, and strategic FP&A platform. It is designed to empower finance teams with data-driven insights and forecasting capabilities. 

The platform’s intuitive interface simplifies complex financial modeling, enabling businesses to make precise forecasts that can help them easily adapt to changing realities. 

Drivetrain seamlessly integrates with 200+ existing systems to provide real-time data and actuals for extensive scenario planning, what-if analysis, multidimensional modeling and smart decision making.

The Drivetrain platform is powerful yet simple to use and offers the full gamut of features that CFOs and their finance teams need to run their FP&A operations successfully.

Price: 

$$

Best for: 

Small and Mid-market

Pros:
  • Intuitive visualizations to compare scenarios quickly

  • Customizable forecasting models

  • Automated reporting with easy-to-use dashboards

  • Unparalleled customer support

  • Multiple strategic budgeting methods supported

  • Ability to implement rolling budgets/forecasts

  • Advanced collaboration features 

Cons:
  • Heavily focused on B2B businesses

Key scenario planning analysis features in Drivetrain:
  • Scenario planning and what-if analysis

  • Agile forecasting and reforecasting capabilities

  • Variance analysis (actuals vs. forecast and budget) 

  • Consolidation/roll-up

  • Multidimensional revenue modeling with multi-currency support

Mosaic is a software tool designed to streamline financial planning, analysis, and reporting processes. It provides real-time insights and data-driven forecasts to help finance teams to make informed decisions quickly. Mosaic’s platform facilitates collaboration across departments allowing a company to more easily and comprehensively monitor its financial performance. 

Price: 

$$ 

Best for: 

SMB to Mid-market

Pros:
  • Easy to use and set up

  • Good monitoring capabilities

  • Intuitive dashboards

Cons:
  • Limited integrations

  • Model templates are rigid

  • Lacks root cause analysis capabilities 

  • Version control of models is confusing 

  • Doesn’t support weekly reporting

Key scenario planning analysis features in Mosaic:
  • Real-time data integration 

  • Scenario modeling

  • Predictive analytics

Vena is an Excel add-in designed for businesses whose complexity has yet to completely outgrow spreadsheets but which need more robust FP&A capabilities than Excel can provide. It is designed to streamline financial planning, budgeting, and forecasting processes by offering  real-time collaboration, data consolidation, and reporting capabilities. 

Price: 

$$ 

Best for: 

Mid-market

Pros:
  • Flexible forecasting

  • Familiar Excel-based interface

  • Streamlined reporting 

Cons:
  • Steep learning curve for users who aren’t familiar with Excel 

  • Integrations are limited and complicated

  • Cost can be an issue for SMB and mid-market businesses

Key scenario planning analysis features in Vena: 
  • Rolling forecasts

  • What-if analysis

  • Version control

Vena product screenshot showing the status tracker for 2020 annual budget.

Datarails is a solid lightweight Excel-based tool that supports several FP&A use cases—budgeting and planning, financial forecasting, variance analysis, and automated report generation. Users can continue to use their existing financial models in Excel. It also uses AI/ML algorithms for predictive analytics and financial insights.

Price: 

$$ 

Best for: 

Small and Mid-market

Pros:
  • Automated records for data accuracy

  • Native Excel for faster implementation

  • Workflow collaboration

Cons:
  • Lacks a native Google Sheets integration

  • Users report the tool often freezing in the middle of an operation

  • Limited scalability and visualizations

  • Limited customization options

Key financial reporting features in Datarails:
  • Data visualization tools

  • Financial data analytics

  • Monthly reports

A heavily edited screenshot of the DataRails product showing the Collection Management feature with some workflows and commenting options.

Cube is another Excel-like interface platform that pairs the familiarity of the spreadsheet with the complexity of FP&A requirements. It helps businesses by scaling the traditional spreadsheet to accommodate budgeting, forecasting, reporting, and analytics.

Price: 

$$ 

Best for: 

Small to Mid-market

Pros:
  • Intuitive and easy to use 

  • Integrates with multiple sources 

Cons:
  • Slow fetching and loading of data 

  • Steep learning curve for non-Excel users 

  • Requires a lot of formatting to make reports understandable

Key scenario planning analysis features in Cube: 
  • Data integration with various source systems, including ERP, CRM, and HRIS

  • Bi-directional integration with Excel and Google spreadsheets

  • Multi-currency support

Cube product page powered by Flatfile showing the "Upload your conversion rates" page

Workday Adaptive Planning is a second-generation FP&A software – an advanced version of Excel on the cloud that provides enterprise performance management capabilities. 

Price: 

 $$-$$$

Best for: 

Mid-market

Pros:
  • Driver-based forecasting

  • Transactional-level drill down capabilities

  • Good reporting capabilities

Cons:
  • The formula builder uses its own syntax (not DAX-based), and combined with a not very user-friendly help system results in a steep learning curve

  • Steep learning curve

  • No root cause analysis (RCA) capabilities

  • Users complain about slow load times

Key scenario planning analysis features in Workday:
  • Scenario modeling 

  • Integrated financial planning

  • Multi-currency support

Workday product screenshot showing a top down plan with the Revenue Targets tab highlighted. It contains a table for revenue targets by departments, a chart showing revenue targets by region, a pie chart of the revenue share by various regions and a scorecard showing the annual target

Anaplan is a cloud-based performance management platform that supports connected business budgeting and planning. This second-generation FP&A tool,  though not purpose-built for SaaS, is well-suited for enterprise-level SaaS business use cases. 

Price: 

 $$$

Best for: 

Enterprise

Pros:
  • Good modeling capabilities 

  • Flexible and real-time data integration 

  • Available in multiple languages

Cons:
  • Limited visualization features on the dashboard 

  • Steep learning curve and long implementation times

  • Extremely expensive and high total cost of ownership

Key scenario planning analysis features in Anaplan:
  • Real-time data integration 

  • Scenario planning and analysis 

  • Robust modeling

Anaplan product screenshot showing a Top Line Revenue Summary with a stacked chart split by different revenue types, Group KPIs, P&L summary table and a line chart showing Total Revenue over some period

Drivetrain vs. the field: Why Drivetrain is the best scenario planning analysis solution

The celebrated author, Neil Gaiman, once said, “The things that really change the world, according to Chaos theory, are the tiny things. A butterfly flaps its wings in the Amazonian jungle, and subsequently, a storm ravages half of Europe.”

While it might seem like an exaggeration, the truth is that in the context of the SaaS industry, businesses today are functioning in the midst of great uncertainty. The market demands companies to act quickly to change and be prepared for various eventualities. 

This is exactly why scenario planning is critical

With Drivetrain, your finance team has a tool that is both powerful and scalable while being simple and efficient for them to do the scenario modeling necessary to reveal deep insights that will help you be better prepared for whatever the market throws at you. Drivetrain makes your data business-ready and easily accessible to stakeholders so they can directly manipulate it for performing analysis and surfacing timely insights for quick decision-making.

In addition to scenario planning, Drivetrain provides a host of other features that will help you identify the highest-value activities that will deliver strategic impacts for your business.

See how Drivetrain can help you easily do scenario planning analysis

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How to choose the best scenario planning analysis software for your business

What is scenario planning software?

Scenario planning software is a tool that helps companies forecast and evaluate future possibilities by creating detailed best case, worst case, most-likely and what-if scenarios. Scenario planning software offers capabilities for modeling, forecasting, and data analysis, enabling users to visualize the potential impact of their bets/assumptions/decisions. 

Scenario modeling software enables you to evaluate different scenarios, assess their impact on key business metrics like revenue, profit margins, cash flow, and valuation, and develop contingency plans. It would also help in evaluating the sensitivity of the business to different variables to make more informed strategic decisions.

Drivetrain’s scalable, intelligent multi-dimensional modeling architecture is powerful and intuitive, helping SaaS companies build complex multidimensional models in a fraction of the time it takes with other tools. 

With Drivetrain, you can model at the speed and dimensionality at which your business operates—thanks to seamless integrations and a shallow learning curve with plain-English formulas that help you get up and running with your model in minutes.  

The 7 biggest benefits of using a scenario planning tool in your business


Here are the biggest benefits you can realize with the right scenario planning analysis software.  

1. Be better prepared

Paying attention to trends and using your intuition will only get you so far when it comes to predicting how the market will behave. With a scenario planning tool, you can drill down into various assumptions and ‘play’ them out so that you can be prepared with the right strategies for whatever comes your way, be it customer needs, competitive landscape changes or evolving technology trends.

2. Mitigates risk

Once you start simulating various scenarios, it’ll be easier for you to identify potential risks and uncertainties and come up with strategies to minimize or do away with the potential impact. Proactive scenario planning allows you to develop contingency plans that can help mitigate future risks. 

3. Resource optimization 

Resource allocation is a crucial ongoing activity for SaaS companies. With scenario planning software, you can evaluate different resource allocation strategies and investment decisions to decide the best course of action. By understanding the potential outcomes of different resource allocation scenarios, you can optimize your investments and prioritize only those initiatives that offer the best ROI. 

4. Improves decision-making

By playing out various scenarios, the leaders can gauge respective impacts on key performance indicators (KPIs) and thus make more informed and data-driven decisions that align with their strategic objectives.

5. Facilitates more strategic planning 

You can use scenario planning software to develop and refine strategic plans by considering a range of possible futures. With this, you can identify new opportunities, anticipate competitive threats, and adapt strategies that are aligned to changing market conditions. Doing scenario planning increases the likelihood of your SaaS company’s long-term success.

6. Improves ability to respond quickly to market changes and new opportunities  

SaaS companies today operate in a highly dynamic market riddled with economic uncertainty. Given these harsh realities, agility and adaptability are crucial for success. With scenario planning software, you can become more agile and adaptable to quickly assess the potential impacts of changes in your operating environment and adjust your strategies accordingly.

7. Improves stakeholder communication

Businesses that keep their key stakeholders informed are always more successful. And, the best scenario planning software tools will help you provide clear insights into the potential risks and opportunities facing the company and facilitate the communication needed to help stakeholders understand them.

Whether you’re talking to investors, board members, or employees, the ability to present scenario analysis results in a concise and understandable manner will boost their confidence in your company and your ability to succeed, no matter what the market brings.


What are the different types of scenario planning analysis software in SaaS?

Scenario planning is a core function of SaaS finance teams. Unfortunately most Series A+ SaaS startups are still using spreadsheets, which are woefully inadequate given the complexity of the different scenarios they’re likely to face.

The most crucial part of scenario planning is the accuracy of the output, and because it requires copying and pasting data into multiple spreadsheets with limited version control capabilities, the output is understandably error-prone and always difficult to fully trust. The manual effort inherent in spreadsheets makes using them to test multiple scenarios a very heavy lift.

These fundamental issues have led to the growth of modern FP&A software that facilitates sophisticated scenario planning features, among other core FP&A processes.

Our feature comparisons indicate the maturity of each of these tools in terms of their FP&A features. Here we’ll take a look at how far each tool has evolved from spreadsheets.   

As compared to spreadsheetsDrivetrainMosaicVenaCubeWorkday Adaptive PlanningAnaplan
Web application that replaces spreadsheets
Web application that integrates with spreadsheets
Application uses a spreadsheet for calculations
Add-in for spreadsheet applications

Source: Adapted from FP&A software classifications developed by Paul Barnhurst (The FP&A Guy).   

Implementing all [three types of scenario modeling, best case, worst case and most likely scenarios] on Excel was proving impossible. It was simply not designed to be an enterprise-scale forecasting tool…With Drivetrain, we are now able to seamlessly aggregate data from multiple stakeholders into one unified planning process and collaborate within the same view. We don’t deal with offline spreadsheets or experience data fidelity challenges anymore— Aman Bafna, Manager -Office of the CEO, MindTickle

Real-world use cases for a scenario planning analysis software like Drivetrain

When Mindtickle, a leading sales enablement and revenue productivity platform, was experiencing rapid growth, a key priority for them was to come up with a reliable forecast based on up-to-date actuals.

They needed to do monthly re-forecasting exercises for the current quarter, the next quarter and the rest of the current year based on various drivers influencing the business.

This meant they had to create three versions of these forecasts—best case, worst case and most likely scenarios—based on a triangulation approach which was a highly detailed and complex process. 

The model considered the rep-level, manager-level and stage-weighted inputs across products and segments. They needed a way to quickly access and interpret the data to make adjustments to the forecast model and get the final projections. 

Enter Drivetrain!

By directly integrating its Oracle Netsuite, Salesforce, and BambooHR systems with Drivetrain, Mindtickle gained faster access to key metrics that were previously hard to obtain, to come up with accurate forecasts. 

“The bottom-up forecasting model built using Drivetrain is giving us great results. We have a high degree of confidence in our projections on where we will land at the end of each quarter and how the overall year will pan out” 
— Aman Bafna, Mindtickle

Before Drivetrain, Mindtickle’s quarterly reports took up to three weeks to complete. But, now they have a monthly reporting cycle with all metrics updated daily, which has helped them build a weekly forecast model.

“Drivetrain clearly shows us how the conditions are changing so that we can adjust our forecasts. Our model is based on trailing data that goes back up to four quarters. So, as average deal cycle times, win rates, and deal sizes change, we are able to recalibrate quickly and adjust our forecasts and guidance for the quarters ahead,” Bafna added.

Features

Scenario planning & modeling

Obviously, scenario modeling is the most important feature to look for in scenario analysis planning software. However, more specifically, this feature should allow you to create and manipulate different scenarios easily, adjusting assumptions and variables to come up with various plausible future outcomes. The tool must also be able to add new scenarios quickly (e.g., most likely/best case, best case, worst case, etc.) with just a few clicks to provide for agile decision-making. 

In addition to ease of use, the features below are “table stakes” for any scenario planning and analysis software tool:  

  • What if analysis: The scenario planning software you choose should enable users to test multiple scenarios (for example, lower deal size, higher churn rates, higher attrition, etc.) in a simulated environment. This helps in assessing feasibility, identifying potential pitfalls, and refining strategies.
  • Sensitivity analysis: Users need to be able to perform a sensitivity analysis to understand how changes in input variables affect outcomes. This helps in identifying critical drivers of performance and assessing the impact of uncertainties.

Scenario comparison: The ability to compare multiple scenarios side by side facilitates decision-making by highlighting differences in outcomes and identifying the most favorable or risky scenarios.

Software/
Platform
DrivetrainMosaicVenaCubeWorkday Adaptive PlanningAnaplan
In-memory multi-dimensional calculation engine
Custom data modeling
Customizable model templates
unknown
unknown
Multiple scenario planning
What if analysis
Sensitivity analysis
unknown
unknown
Unlimited scenarios
unknown

Native integrations  

Integration with financial planning and budgeting systems allows for seamless alignment between scenario planning and financial management processes, ultimately enabling better decision-making.

Software/
Platform
DrivetrainMosaicVenaCubeWorkday Adaptive PlanningAnaplan
Native integrations with top 6 ERPs
Native integrations with top CRM, HRIS, billing & BI tools
Integration with Excel and Google Sheets
Excel/CSV upload & download

Scalability

SaaS businesses often experience rapid growth and need scalable solutions that can accommodate increasing data volumes and user numbers without sacrificing performance or usability. 

As your business grows, you’ll need software that can accommodate increasing volumes of data and more complexity in the potential scenarios you will need to model without compromising performance. This means that the software must be built upon a powerful calculation engine. The table below provides a summary of the scalability of each solution in terms of meeting these needs.  

Software/
Platform
DrivetrainMosaicVenaCubeWorkday Adaptive PlanningAnaplan
Scalability in terms of ability to accommodate increasing model complexity and concurrent users without compromising performance
Drivetrain’s  powerful calculation engine makes the platform highly scalable
Moderate
Vena offers good scalability albeit with extensive planning
Cube is moderately scalable but requires manual uploading of data
Workday is scalable but requires continual adjustment
Anaplan is scalable but requires expensive upgrades to accommodate growing needs

Collaboration with access control

Collaboration features enable teams to work together in real-time, share insights, and collaborate on scenario development. This may include commenting, version control, and role-based access.

These features are essential in SaaS businesses as cross-functional teams often work together on strategic initiatives which require a lot of scenario planning.

Software/
Platform
DrivetrainMosaicVenaCubeWorkday Adaptive PlanningAnaplan
Commenting Threads
Fine-Grained Role Based Access Control
Slack Notifications (approved Slack app)

Dynamic dashboards

Visualizations and an intuitive UI are crucial for effective scenario planning in SaaS businesses. The ability to generate detailed reports and presentations through customizable templates allows for clear communication of scenario analysis results to investors, board members, and other stakeholders, facilitating informed decision-making.

Additionally, a user-friendly software interface, featuring drag-and-drop functionality, interactive dashboards, and clear result visualizations, ensures that team members of all technical levels, from sales to marketing, can easily navigate, create scenarios, and contribute insights, enhancing the collaborative planning process.

Software/
Platform
DrivetrainMosaicVenaCubeWorkday Adaptive PlanningAnaplan
Drill Down to Transaction-Level
Drill Down by Any Dimension
Global- and Chart-Level Filters
Text Callouts/Notes in Dashboards
Customizable reporting templates

Onboarding, training & customer success

Onboarding, training and customer success are crucial for a company to derive true value from an investment in any software tool.

One must carefully look for access to reliable customer support, comprehensive documentation, and training resources that, together, can ensure that your team can effectively use the software and quickly get answers to any issues or questions that arise.

Software/
Platform
DrivetrainMosaicVenaCubeWorkday Adaptive PlanningAnaplan
Implementation time
4-6 weeks
2-4 weeks
>2 months
1-2 weeks
> 4 months
> 6 months
In-house implementation
Yes
unknown
No
unknown
No
No
White-glove onboarding
Self-service management (admin)
Dedicated customer support/success

FAQ

How long does it take to implement Drivetrain’s scenario planning analysis tool?

Implementation time directly impacts your time-to-value and ultimately the ROI you’re able to achieve with it. With Drivetrain, you can count on being fully up and running in less than six weeks with white-glove onboarding from an in-house implementation team focused on your success.

How easy it is with Drivetrain to integrate with different source system that contain the data necessaary to support scenario planning analysis?

Drivetrain makes it fast and easy to get all the data you need for scenario planning and analysis no matter where that data resides. With more than 200 native integrations, Drivetrain probably already has you covered. We also offer custom integrations. 

Can non-finance teams do scenario planning analysis with Drivetrain?

Yes! With Drivetrain's unique approach to modeling through plain English formulas and an intuitive UI, any stakeholder can use it successfully with a minimal learning curve.  

This means that different teams within your organization can leverage Drivetrain to meet a wide variety of planning needs in addition to scenario planning, significantly increasing your ROI.  

Cross-functional teams can collaborate seamlessly in the platform and with dynamic dashboards, they can easily share their results to quickly achieve the alignment needed for agile decision-making.   

SaaS strategic finance goes far beyond just budgeting…

A modern FP&A software platform purpose-built for SaaS strategic finance can set the stage for predictable, accelerated growth. Here are a few resources to help you learn more about how to do that through budgeting and other important FP&A processes.

See how Drivetrain is revolutionizing scenario planning analysis!

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