A3 Technology

A3 Modeling: Powered by Our Patent Pending Spreadsheet Automation Server™

As one of our customers put it: “Why spend so much for budgeting? A3 Modeling is easier, more flexible, and much less expensive to own.” In fact, in a survey of customers that have experience with both A3 Modeling and popular Corporate Performance Management (CPM) alternatives, A3 comes out ahead in the categories that matter:

Faster to Deploy

A3 Modeling takes an average of 21 consulting days to install and configure into a typical production solution; alternative packages take five or more times longer and often deliver less functionality. WHY? Unlike alternative products that force-fit you into their data model making integration difficult and requiring extensive customization and workarounds, A3 Modeling, which runs on our patent-pending Spreadsheet Automation Server, snaps onto your database of your design containing any number of OLAP cubes and relational tables of any dimensionality, and supporting all of your consolidation and allocation logic.

Quicker for Users to Accomplish Budgeting Tasks

With A3 Modeling users accomplish their budgeting tasks 3X faster than with alternative packages. WHY? Our users reside in Microsoft Excel where the Server delivers real-time models and reports that are more relevant and actionable in design and more responsive to user interactions.

Less Effort to Maintain

A3 Modeling requires 90% less ongoing Admin and IT support . WHY? Competitors are either programming code-intensive, or they come as multiple “modules” poorly integrated. A3 in contrast is a single unified product which includes Budgeting, Reporting, Dashboards and Ad-hoc Analysis, all powered by the Spreadsheet Automation Server. You will configure and deploy your solutions using just your spreadsheet and cube design skills, little or no programming, and no “modules” to integrate and maintain.

Total cost of ownership (TCO)

A3 Modeling is 90% lower total cost to acquire, deploy and maintain, with no compromise in functionality. In fact, despite the lower cost, our customers report greater flexibility to model the nuances of their business.

Spreadsheet Automation Server™

All of these advantages derive from our patent-pending Spreadsheet Automation Server, a middle tier web application that builds and manages spreadsheets, dashboards, data sources, and metadata so efficiently and transparently that it transforms Microsoft Excel into a real-time business intelligence platform.

For a visual overview of how the Spreadsheet Automation Server works, click below:


Let’s explore the architecture. The Spreadsheet Automation Server is a web application that resides on a middle tier web server and performs the following functions:

  • Connects to all corporate data source types including Relational, OLAP (Essbase and Analysis Services), OLTP, flat file and spreadsheet.
  • Dynamically builds from scratch personalized spreadsheet models and reports for end-users upon request (populates, personalizes, protects, formats, and delivers spreadsheets over the internet to Excel on users’ desktops).
  • Manages communications between Microsoft Excel or Microsoft Word and back-end data sources.
  • Provides additional application services including Workflow, Ad-hoc Analysis, Dashboards, Audit and Logging, and Email Notifications.
  • Provides additional application services including Workflow, Ad-hoc Analysis, Dashboards, Audit and Logging, and Email Notifications.
  • Enables “write-back”, metadata management, and database calculations such as allocations.
  • Provides a comprehensive model and report authoring environment – The Studio – allowing administrators to create and assemble reusable components into real-time spreadsheets (called Models).
  • Provides the A3 Modeling Home Page, a central location where end users access their Models, Dashboards, Workflow Tasks, Announcements and Related Links.
  • A3 Modeling supports and is compatible with the latest versions of Oracle database 11g, Solaris 11, Linux 5.5, Exadata, and SPARC Super Cluster. A3 Modeling is Exastack Ready.

Easiest to Use

Excel is the user interface – easy, familiar, intuitive. This is where analysis, data entry and what-if’s take place, and where reports are viewed. Users interact with real Excel models in the native Excel environment; there are no proprietary formulas rendering these models unusable outside our application, nor is this merely “Excel-like” in a browser of limited functionality. This is 100% pure, productive, and familiar Microsoft Excel, a zero training application.

Models and reports are personalized with just the data relevant to you, the user, formatted dynamically and attractively, protected where they should be protected to prevent you from getting into trouble.

When you are done, just click a button and any changed values find their way back to the underlying cubes and tables on your corporate database server. No files to email or links to maintain or versions to juggle. It’s all handled for you automatically.

Your Dashboards, Catalog of available models, Workflow tasks, Announcements and links are all located conveniently in one place on your Home page. Other products make you learn multiple applications and offer much less functionality than you get in native Excel.

According to our customers A3 Modeling allows users to complete tasks 3X faster than market leading alternatives.

Easiest to Deploy

The Spreadsheet Automation Server – the heart, soul and brains of A3 Modeling – unifies the entire Corporate Performance Management feature set of A3 Modeling including Reports, Input Models, Ad-hoc Analysis, Dashboards, Workflow, Security… everything. The unified codebase means there is just one application to install and there is just one place to maintain security, datasource connections, and metadata. Add to this that A3 Modeling components can be reused in the assembly of multiple models and reports, and this adds up to tremendous time savings on deployment.

The A3 Spreadsheet Automation Server enables model authors to design their input models, reports and workflow processes in Excel. Since most business intelligence applications either exist as Excel processes or are easily prototyped using Excel, customers find this to be a great convenience and timesaver. Once designed in Excel, a template is uploaded to the A3 Modeling Studio where the designer then “teaches” the server how to build and personalize the model for end users. Just spreadsheet and database skills, no programming required, no VBA, no HTML, no Java, no C++.

To summarize, unified codebase, code-free deployment and object reusability make deployment easy; our customers tell us the EASIEST in the industry.

According to our customers A3 Modeling takes on average 21 consulting days to install and configure a typical production solution fully integrated with your general ledger; Leading CPM Solutions require 90+ days.

Lowest Total Cost to Own and Maintain

For many of the same reasons that A3 Modeling is easier to deploy – unified codebase, single point of maintenance of security, data source connections, and metadata – it is also lower cost to own and maintain.

Compare A3 Modeling to both packaged applications and custom solutions (including those starting with customizable templates):

Likewise, A3 Modeling’s advantages over custom (and customizable template) solutions are that these products require advanced programming skills, take many more consulting hours to configure, and leave you with a brittle solution that cannot be modified except by the very outside contractors who created it in the first place.

According to our customers A3 Modeling requires 90% less Admin and IT support which translates into 90% lower total cost to own (TCO).