The Adoption of Collaborative Enterprise Planning for Businesses

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Read the latest research blog on iTMunch titled, ''The Adoption of Collaborative Enterprise Planning for Businesses'

The old and traditional opinion of what counted as planning usually involved the financial planning & analysis (FP&A) department doing all the work to bring together all the plans in a planning tool or more often than not, an MS Excel sheet, using email statements or via team meetings.

The plans were not connected across the company. This meant that there was no unified view of the planning and not all stakeholders across the business were involved in the process.

With collaborative enterprise planning, this problem is solved. In short, collaborative enterprise planning is the process of linking and aligning all the existing and future plans across the entire organization. It breaks down silos and brings all teams together to help in improving collaboration of plan creation. This results in better business outcomes.

How does Collaborative Enterprise Planning Work?

The most important idea behind collaborative enterprise planning is to create a link between planning and budgeting activities of each and every department and business unit of the company. After this, it will be possible to compare the results to the plans and adjust the strategies as and when required. When you refine the plans at shorter intervals, it enhances the accuracy of the plans.

The departments concerned with operations and finance both work together to combine both their operational as well as financial data. Now, it is possible to incorporates hybrid key performance metrics in the plans, such as employee productivity and revenue.

The collaborative enterprise planning process involves making the following changes to the departments listed below:

Finance

With collaborative planning, it is possible to consolidate all the budgets and plans from all over the company. This will help drive collaborative enterprise planning so that companies can ensure alignment between operational plans and financial goals.

Marketing

It is possible to create more effective marketing plans using collaborative enterprise planning. One can then align them to existing business objectives. Companies will be able to predict the impact that the campaigns would have on sales revenue, and they will be able to optimize their performance. This also helps in improving the way the department can track results.

Sales

Companies will be able to develop new sales plans and strategies with a collaborative approach. It will also be possible to track the sales results on every channel. It becomes easier to set targets and use advanced data visualization tools available to be able to view and measure the results in real time.

Human Resources

With the help of collaborative enterprise planning, companies will be able to align workforce planning with business goals. You can make sure you have the right talent available at the right time, and you will be able to forecast risks and skill gaps, along with a continuous optimization of all headcount plans.

Supply Chain

Organizations will be able to fulfill all demands using real-time supply chain planning. Collaborative enterprise planning combines the capabilities of sales and operations planning (S&OP) departments, supply and demand planning, as well as inventory.

IT

It will now be possible to create detailed plans and budgets for all IT projects and business process improvements in a much simpler way. Companies will be able to align all technology, hardware, and software investments using strategic priorities.

The Benefits of Collaborative Enterprise Planning

Faster Decision Support Delivery Using a Collaborative Enterprise Planning Platform

One of the main struggles that C-suites face is to be able to successfully obtain clear, up-to-date information that would help them support in making strategic business decisions. This struggle typically arises because of the disparate technologies and siloed departments.

The industry leaders are moving away from these limitations and connecting lines of business by using a single platform for planning. When companies use just one platform, all the departments across the organization can link their data and provide management with just one source. The plans can reflect both operational and financial data to create combined key performance indicators which are more valuable to make decisions when compared to isolated KPIs.

Every executive knows data is power and now leaders are beginning to realize that access to actionable data insights are the most important factor in determining a company’s competitive edge.

By Linking Information You Can Improve Planning Results

There are a lot of organizations that don’t link their plans across lines of business, even after multiple studies have shown the importance of integrated planning. They still continue to resist change and stay with their outdated technology.

According to Ventana’s research, here is how companies that take the collaborative approach to planning fare when compared to those who do not:

Two-thirds of companies that link plans directly already have a planning process that works for them as compared to 40% that do not link and copy their data from individual, isolated plans.

Only 25% of companies that do not have any plan linkage are satisfied with their existing process, as compared to the 78% of businesses who have created their plans by directly linking them across lines of business.

Surprisingly enough, most CFOs already know the importance of linking their plans across businesses and how it impacts the success of their strategies, but they do not do it.

63% of companies who have implemented the linking agree that linking plans directly is very important to improving performance.

Improvement of Agility Through Dedicated Planning and Budgeting Software

Research shows that more than 60% of businesses that use dedicated applications believe that it is very easy to link plans, compared to the 29% who agree that it is very easy to link plans using spreadsheets. 59% of businesses using dedicated applications can drill down into plan details either immediately or within an hour or two of a review meeting, versus 36% of those that use spreadsheets.

All business managers are aware of the importance of agility in a working environment to keep up with competitive market dynamics. But the leaders that achieve speed and agility using modern technology can only do so by enabling collaborative planning.

It is possible for organizations to deliver decision support faster when they use data from across the enterprise. It leads to improved accuracy which is done by making refinements and adjustments that are done shorter intervals.

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Adopting a Collaborative Planning Approach for your Business

When you organize and orchestrate all your company’s planning using a single system, it makes collaborative enterprise planning a reality. The collaborative approach creates a virtual environment that enables all the departments across the business to work together. This breaks down silos between departments. It also grants cross-departmental insights into all the information that is important to leadership.

Here is an example. When it comes to operational data, which includes headcount or units produced, it can be combined with financial information, which includes revenue and expenses. This easy access to information all in one place lets the people in  leadership positions to make strategic decisions quickly that are based on both reliable and holistic information.

Future of Collaborative Enterprise Planning

Total Integration

One thing that always tops the list of things that are necessary for most FP & A applications is integration. Some of the reason is historic because applications were provided as discrete systems with their own data and metadata. But over time, these systems have managed to develop the capacity to share their data and metadata between them in a way that users do not usually see.

But this still leads to data duplication. The systems in the future should be able to have access to the data directly from its source, which are underlying or multiple ERPs. This source can be both internal and external to the company.

This link will be dynamic, and the data saved will only be done in the model if requested by its administrator. By doing this, prior results stay static. Unless, of course, a refresh command is issued, then the system will access data directly from the requested areas.

To create this level of integration, master data definitions are required that describe how data or metadata can be accessed along with any necessary transformations. All the definitions that are changing will automatically get replicated via any models that are affected.

Date-based modeling

Modeling systems need to be set up to reflect regular time patterns. These time patterns are in either weeks, months or years. The modeling systems of the future will have real dates for the data which can be used to make weekly or monthly reports automatically.

It will also be possible to generate a time series that understands seasonality, bank holidays, when the week starts, and other aspects automatically. It will also be possible to create a custom grouping of your choice without having to copy the data.

Project and Activity Based Modeling

There are differences between project and activity based modeling and activity based costing. But project and activity based modeling is in fact an acknowledgement of the activities of various departments with the most impact on organizational goals.

The only problem is that there are activities that last for days or weeks, which is not possible with today’s models which have just one dominant dimension. With the future systems which have date based modeling, managers will be able to monitor the impact of launching an initiative. The future collaborative enterprise planning system will automatically be able to work out what it means for the resources that are allocated to all the departments and how it looks over a certain period of time.

Real Time and Dynamic Workflow

This feature will help in extending workflows to help management processes model for efficiency. The response will be based on actual or predicted events and exceptions, resulting in a continuous and collaborative planning process. This will result in the elimination of game-playing and reduce the amount of time wasted in planning for irrelevant scenarios.

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