Advice and Information for Finance Professionals

How to make faster, smarter business decisions with integrated business planning

Guest Author

By Rahul Sharma, EPM Practice Director, Accelalpha

Successful CFOs can make informed decisions quickly, adapting to change and implementing new strategies with great speed. How do they do it?

It’s hard for a CFO to gather the data to make rapid decisions if plans for finance, sales, and operations are not connected. Disconnected plans lead to redundancies, delays, and inefficiencies. For example, if growth targets are set by strategy and finance, but finance systems are not connected to sales, it can take a long time to set sales quotas and map sales territories at the start of the year—leaving salespeople without a target, and costing them valuable selling time.

Lost revenue potential

A lack of integration between operations and sales can result in waste because of too much inventory, or lost sales opportunities because of too little inventory. A lack of efficient and accurate monthly forecasts and plans can be costly.

What if you could review planning across the entire company on a single dashboard?

When you pull together your strategic plan, sales plans, and predictive analytics, you can see where your best territories are, what times of year are good for sales, and when sales can be difficult. Then you can build an overall annual sales plan that will help you achieve the company’s growth goals. You can also integrate the strategic plan and the sales plans with operations, to ensure you have the inventory you need, when you need it, to meet customer demand.

Integrated business planning and execution in practice

Imagine an organization that is developing a strategic plan for 25% growth based on expansion into untapped markets. These are some questions that the planning team should be asking themselves:

  • Can the existing sales team support this growth? If not, do we need to add more salespeople?
  • Can operations handle this additional demand? Is manufacturing running at full capacity? Will there be enough supply? Can throughput be increased by adding more resources, including people and extra machinery?
  • Can the additional capital and operating expenditures be offset with current pricing?
  • Is there a centralized dashboard where we can check progress against the plan? Can the system generate red flags if we’re falling short?

 The answers to these questions show the need for an integrated, connected planning solution that accounts for interdependencies between your company’s teams and departments.

A connected and integrated solution should have following foundations:

  • Connected functions: A process-focused solution designed around best practices, with the ability to bring functions together
  • Continuous alignment: Your solution should make it easier to align all functions to set realistic goals, and measure every function against those goals
  • Comprehensive: Your solution should include business planning scenarios and what-ifs for risk mitigation; faster, better baseline forecasts; and zero-touch forecasts using artificial intelligence and machine learning

With integrated business planning, all functions can plan together in real time: no bottle necks, no delays, and business leaders can generate their own reports. You’ll have more time available for careful consideration and decision-making, versus just gathering data. With the support of AI tools, more options are available to take corrective actions if necessary.

Accelalpha’s dedicated consulting practices for finance, sales and supply chain work together to enable integrated business planning with Oracle Cloud Applications. Contact us to arrange an evaluation of your existing planning process.

Learn more about Oracle Cloud EPM.

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