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Block Templates in Host Analytics: Uses, Advantages, and Occasional Shortcomings

Block Templates in Host Analytics: Uses, Advantages, and Occasional Shortcomings
Host Analytics Block Template

Block templates in Host Analytics are a wonderful tool to quickly and cleanly build budgeting, planning, and forecasting schedules.   You can load up any segment (ex: Department) in the control panel and save yourself from having to build multiple templates for each department or multiple templates for each location.

Why Block Templates Makes Sense

Since each department uses the same set of accounts to budget, a block format is perfect for “on-the-go” template updates since you only load the block of accounts when you chose a requisite department to budget.  The other time saving aspect of block templates is that you can quickly swap between budget entities when you are responsible for budgeting several departments or locations or entities.

Shortfalls of Block Template Overuse

So why not use a block template for all of your budgeting needs? Because a block template has a few shortcomings. Some of these shortcomings make this particular type of template very frustrating to use at times.

First, you cannot update a block template once it has been budgeted against. This means you may end up with another version of the template for each incremental change you make. You can un-map the block template from the working scenario, make necessary template updates then remap the template to the scenario.  However, doing so wipes out all of the budgeted data established in the template.

Second, block templates have a limit of 50 rows. This could be very difficult for some organizations that have Operating Expense templates with nearly 100 rows. We recently took on a client with a budgeting template that had over 1000 rows. It didn’t when we went live.

Third, global fields and subline functionality are not available in block templates. This means that all line item details (sublines) rolling up to a particular budgeted transaction must be separate lines in the block in order to be included.

Fourth, only one dimension can be loaded in the block. So, that means if you are going to budget for two segments, ex: Products by Store, you won’t be able to do it unless the Store segment is already part of the budget entity or unless product-store is represented by one code, ex: X1008-18PITT or X1008-21WASH. But fear not, like being creative with the segment values and structures there’s always a way around these shortcomings.

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