Skip to main content


Workday Adaptive Planning Knowledge Center

Adaptive Planning Overview

Introduces you to key concepts of the planning model and its components and solutions.

Workday Adaptive Insights is a cloud-based financial planning and analysis solution. Instead of storing your company’s data on a local server or on an individual employee computer, your planning related data is stored on large, well-maintained, and regularly backed up servers. 

You and other users at your company access your model from a com­puter or mobile device using a standard web browser. Regular backups, hardware redun­dancy, and industry-leading data access control keep your data safe and secure.

Adaptive Insights provides a collection of solutions and capabilities that include consolidation, dashboards, and integration. Each solution can work in unison with any of the others, giving you an array of powerful tools to handle your company’s financial and other metrics.


A version represents a particular financial scenario.  For example, a version can be current-year actuals, next year's budget, a three-year plan, or a what-if plan for evaluating the effects of a business transaction.

Most companies use versions that cover a calendar or financial year.

Versions like that may be titled Actuals 2017 or Planning 2018. Most of the time, the structure of your accounts, organization, dimensions, and other hierarchies and tags stays the same between versions, but the data is different. There are two basic types of versions: actuals versions and planning versions. The Actu­als version contains the company’s actual financial results for a given period of time, like income and expenses from 2015. Actuals are records of things that happened. Planning versions are about possible things in the future. Planning versions may be budgets, whatif scenarios, or almost anything else you can imagine. If you have Consolidation, you can partition actuals data to identify and secure data from different sources, create journal entries, or other scenarios.

You can compare versions to each other. For example, you may create a report that com­pares your actuals version data for one month to the planning version for that month’s budget to see how the numbers match up.


Accounts hold data (both values and formulas). Although general ledger accounts are the most common type of account, there are other types of accounts available. The data in accounts is edited using sheets and can be viewed in sheets and reports.

Account types you may use include:

  • General Ledger Accounts (GL accounts) include all profit-and-loss and balance sheet accounts, and are used to hold entered or calculated plan values and imported values from a General Ledger or similar system.
  • Custom Accounts can hold any kind of formulas or numerical data; for example, square footage for a facilities allocation. They also gather information from other accounts, for example, total R&D expense or total full-time headcount. You can then display these accounts on statements or reports, or use them to drive other accounts. With custom accounts, the values and formulas can vary from level to level and from version to version.
  • Metric Accounts
  • Modeled Accounts hold data for modeled sheets (like personnel or capital sheets). Once entered, this data is used to automatically calculate related values (for exam­ple, payroll and related expenses, depreciation, or bookings). These calculations are placed in modeled accounts like ACCT.Personnel.Salary.
  • Cube Accounts hold data for cube sheets, and can be set up as standard, metric, or assumption accounts.
  • Assumptions are global planning assumptions that apply to all levels within an organization structure. These values and formulas can only be specified by users with administrative or top level permission, but they are available to use in sheet calculations at any level.

Organization Structure and Levels

The organization structure often mirrors the structure of your com­pany, with collections of levels that roll upward to one another.

Levels are a way administrators can control who can see what data. For example, in the org structure, a manager in the United Kingdom would only be able to see information in the United Kingdom level and its sub-levels, not in the United States level or its sub-levels.

Dimensions and Attributes

Dimensions and attributes are both logical categories with lists of possible values (for example, a dimension called Department may have values of Engineering, Development, HR, and so on), and both are used to tag data so that it can be conveniently grouped into categories for access and viewing.

Dimensions and attributes serve different purposes. Dimensions categorize data itself, while attributes categorize groups of data, like accounts, dimensions, and levels. Because attributes categorize groups, they also have the effect of categorizing the data which the group categorizes, but data cannot have attri­butes assigned to them directly.

Dimensions are commonly used for:

  • Tagging transactions with the appropriate region (a dimension called Region may have values of North, South, East, and West)
  • Tagging personnel by job title (a dimension called Title may have values of Director, Actor, Producer, and so on)

Attributes are commonly used for:

  • Marking accounts as included or excluded in SEO Reporting (an attribute called SEO Reporting may have values of Include and Exclude
  • Representing different rollup hierarchies for your organization (if a company’s organization structure is based on function, attributes could be used to create different rollups according to geographic location)

Both dimensions and attributes are created and managed by administrators, but they are often available to users doing data entry, building reports, and otherwise interacting with the data.


Sheets are the primary interface for entering data. Sheets are where data is entered, stored, and analyzed. There are three types of sheets:

  • Standard sheets have time periods across their columns, and accounts or levels down their rows. They are excellent for expenses and other basic data organization.
  • Cube sheets are powerful, multi-dimensional sheets that can have any number of dimensions along the rows and columns. They are created using a drag-and-drop interface described later in this chapter.
  • Modeled sheets are configurable and well-suited for a wide variety of purposes. They are ideal for personnel, capital, and sales planning.


Reports display data, but do not let you edit it. There are numerous types of report, and a wide variety of ways to slice, dice, and view data on them.

Reports provide various ways of looking at the data stored in your system. In most cases, data is not stored within the report itself. Data is stored in the database, and a report dis­plays the data based on the way the report is set up. Reports are like windows into the planning database.

The same report can be made available to all users, but each user, when opening that report, will see only the data to which they have been given access.

  • Was this article helpful?