Enterprise Business Planning in a connected world


Enterprise Business Planning in a connected world

Business planning tools that break down silos

Business planning has made great strides in recent decades, supported by technology that’s grown ever more sophisticated. What if you, as CFO, could combine multiple business planning processes supported by digital tools—resulting in a unified plan with real-time insights? Here’s a new approach that can help make it happen.

Connecting the dots

Many companies build their commercial, operational, and financial plans in isolation, working off separate data sources. These plans are generally aligned conceptually, but not truly integrated. So promotional plans get disconnected from inventory plans. Sales and production forecasts might not line up. Strategic targets may be hit, but financial goals still not achieved.

The problem isn’t new, but there is a new way to solve it. What if you, as CFO, could combine multiple planning processes into one integrated approach—resulting in a plan all key functional leaders are committed to and measured against? And what if digital tools supporting that plan, combined with human insight, could show you in real time the impact of financial, operating, and commercial decisions? As the chief transformation officer—a role commonly assumed by heads of finance—CFOs are well positioned to make this happen. In this guide, we’ll explore how.

Crunch time: Enterprise Business Planning in a connected world

Slow, error-prone, opaque

Planning is all about anticipating market conditions and customer preferences, recognizing potential opportunities and risks, and generating insights to manage the business effectively. Done well, it provides an enterprise wide view of what needs to happen by when to achieve positive outcomes. Having a good plan is critical, but applying that plan in the real world can be deceptively difficult.

Markets continuously respond to new information, negating prior assumptions. Planners often lack visibility into performance metrics outside their functions while relying on manual processes or outmoded technology to collect, analyze, and share data. Predictive insights can take days to generate through clunky procedures—rendering them obsolete on arrival—when immediate action is needed.

Accordingly, many organizations execute slow, error-prone, and opaque planning processes—not because they don’t see the need for change, but because fixing the problem is just too big a hill to climb.

Fast, automated, transparent

Enterprise Business Planning (EBP) offers a different approach—unifying people, processes, and information within a single integrated platform. With EBP, planners across the organization work in new ways, using digital technology to simultaneously access the latest company and market data. And when assumptions or requirements change, the change flows automatically throughout the enterprise so people can respond accordingly and make faster, better-informed decisions.

EBP can break down organizational silos by utilizing uniform source data, ensuring everyone works off the same information. This creates better visibility—regarding shared costs and margin implications, for instance—and fosters tighter integration. Here’s how it works:

  • Commercial planners provide the marketing perspective, modeling demand and the influence of strategic pricing, promotions, and advertising.
  • Supply network planners build off demand analysis to inform supply and inventory planning.
  • Financial planners integrate operational components within financial models to assess potential top- and bottom-line impacts, as well as the resulting impact on cash.

Meanwhile, planners from additional functions access the same integrated data and adjust their plans as warranted. Human resources planners, for instance, might respond to new market needs by updating their recruiting forecasts, talent development strategies, and expense projection.

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