The Modern Finance Leader

Looking to the future: Innovative approaches to connected planning

May 16, 2023 | 6 minute read
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By Edward Roske, Chief Performance Officer, Argano

Picture this: you're the proud owner of a brand-new shiny sports car, but instead of putting it together with all its intricate parts, you just throw them all into the trunk and hit the road. How do you think that ride will turn out? Chances are, not very smooth. The same goes for your business - if you don't have all the pieces working together in harmony, you're not going to get very far. That's where connected planning comes in - think of it as the pit crew for your business's high-performance machine.

Gone are the days when organizations would have separate plans for finance, operations, sales, and HR. The future of planning lies in breaking down silos and integrating all aspects into one cohesive system. This not only saves time and resources, but also ensures that everyone is working towards the same goal, leading to a more successful and profitable organization.

In this article, we'll delve into the world of connected planning and explore innovative approaches to help you take planning to the next level and create a well-oiled machine that delivers the results you need. So, buckle up, grab a wrench, and let's start fixing this engine!

Breaking down the walls of traditional planning

Before we dive into the exciting world of connected planning, let's take a step back and examine the traditional way of planning. In many organizations, it was historically divided into different silos, areas of the business with independent plans that didn’t talk to each other. There would be a financial plan, sales and operations plan, headcount plan, marketing plan, and even line of business plans, and none of them would be integrated with the others. It is important that each department have goals and KPIs, but also important that the plans be connected.

We need the latest data for rapid decision-making and siloed planning simply can't keep up. When teams are working in isolation, they miss out on important information and opportunities that could impact their success. This leads to misalignment, duplicated effort, and missed targets.

It's time to take a sledgehammer to the silos and bring all aspects of planning together in a more integrated way. This is where connected planning comes in - by unifying all the pieces of the puzzle, you can create something that drives results and propels your business forward.

Connected planning: A business tune-up

Remember that shiny sports car we talked about earlier? Connected planning is like giving it the ultimate tune-up. By integrating all aspects of planning and breaking down silos, you create a machine that runs smoother and more efficiently than ever before. Here are just a few of the benefits of this well-oiled machine:

  1. Improved alignment: With everyone working towards the same goal, there is no room for misalignment or confusion. This leads to a more productive and efficient workforce, as everyone is on the same page and working together.
  2. Enhanced visibility: When all parts of the organization are integrated, you have access to up-to-date information and a complete picture of what's going on. This leads to better decision-making, as you have all the information you need to make informed choices.
  3. Increased agility: Being able to make quick and informed decisions is crucial. Connected planning enables you to react to changes in real time and make adjustments to your plans as needed. Whenever one number changes in a plan, it automatically cascades to the next part of the plan.
  4. Better collaboration: With all parts of the organization working together, teams can collaborate more effectively and share information and ideas. This leads to better outcomes and more innovative solutions.
  5. Increased accuracy: By having all your plans on one platform, you eliminate the risk of errors or duplicated effort. This leads to more accurate and reliable data, which in turn drives better results.

By implementing connected planning, you're not just fixing your business's engine, you're turbocharging it into the sports car it was meant to be. It’s faster, more agile, and more fun to drive. To quote Vivian Ward, your business will “corner like it’s on rails.”

Overcoming roadblocks in implementing connected planning

We all know that tuning up a car can be a bit of a challenge, but that's nothing compared to the challenges organizations face when implementing connected planning. The good news is, these challenges can be overcome with the right approach. Here are a few of the challenges you might face, and how to overcome them:

  1. Resistance to change: Change is never easy, and it can be especially difficult when it comes to something as complex as connected planning. To overcome this, it's important to communicate the benefits of the change, provide training, and involve employees in the process. By making sure everyone is on board, you can ensure a smoother implementation.
  2. Data integration: Integrating all your data sources can be a challenge, but it's critical to the success of connected planning. To overcome this, start small, with a few data sources, and gradually add more over time. You can also consider working with a data integration specialist to ensure everything is properly set up.
  3. Technical challenges: Implementing new technology can always come with its share of technical challenges. To overcome these, work with a trusted vendor or consultant who can provide support and guidance throughout the implementation process. And remember, even the best mechanics need a little help from time to time.
  4. Culture shift: Connected planning requires a shift in organizational culture, with a focus on collaboration and a break from traditional silos. To overcome this, focus on communication and encourage cross-functional teams to work together. Lead by example, and remember that it takes time to change a culture.
  5. Data quality: Data is what powers connected planning, so it's critical that you have high-quality data. To overcome this challenge, establish data governance policies, invest in data quality tools, and regularly clean and maintain your data. It's all about keeping your engine running smoothly.
  6. Lack of expertise: Implementing a new system can be challenging if you don't have the right expertise in-house. To overcome this, consider working with a vendor or consultant who can provide the expertise you need to get started. Or, consider training existing employees to become experts in connected planning.
  7. Budget constraints: Connected planning can be a significant investment, and budget constraints can be a challenge. To overcome this, prioritize your initiatives and focus on the most critical areas first. You can also consider a phased implementation approach, starting with the most essential parts of your business.

Implementing connected planning can be a challenge, but the rewards are well worth the effort. Just like fine-tuning a car, it takes time and effort, but in the end, you'll have a well-oiled machine that's faster, more agile, and more efficient. Don’t let the challenges discourage you: keep your eye on the finish line.

The checkered flag: And our winner is…you!

Connected planning is a game-changer for organizations looking to tune up their planning processes and drive better business results. It's not just about fixing a flat tire or changing the oil; it's about completely overhauling the engine to make it run more efficiently and effectively. The benefits of connected planning are clear: increased agility, improved decision-making, and greater collaboration.

However, it's important to remember that implementing connected planning isn't always a smooth ride. There will be bumps in the road and obstacles to overcome. But with the right approach and the right support, you can steer around these challenges and achieve the results you're after.

And like any good road trip, the journey is just as important as the destination. Embrace the change, enjoy the ride, and take in all the sights along the way. Now let’s get started on the road to connected planning.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and questions as you navigate your journey. Please email me at Edward.Roske@Argano.com and hey, stay safe out there. Those hairpin turns are a doozy.

Learn how connected planning is helping companies see better business performance.

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