It’s that time of year again – when quarter- and year-end obligations have finance departments frantically crunching numbers to wrap-up their annual reports and create plans for the upcoming year. Some endure the same budgeting, planning and forecasting frustrations year after year, including too many spreadsheets and lack of strategic insight, with little or no plans to make things better for the next cycle. Why fall victim to Einstein’s definition of insanity (doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results) when there’s so much more to gain from taking charge of your planning?
Here’s what you can look forward to with a software-enabled budgeting and planning process:
1) Timely, accurate plans and reports
Planners are often plagued by disjointed information from various sources and multiple spreadsheets, where no “single version of the truth” exists and for all the numbers piling up, there’s no supporting text. As a result, they spend a great deal of time consolidating and reconciling data, which is half the job but takes up 100% of the time. Many planners experience the misfortune of completing a plan weeks or even months too late, negating its validity and rendering the idea of replanning as conditions change totally impossible. It’s a vicious cycle that doesn’t yield a lot of value to the organization.
In Part 1 of this post, I outlined 2 pitfalls to avoid when deploying budgeting, planning and forecasting (BP&F) systems. Let’s follow up with 3 more rocks in the road to avoid on your way to project success:
3. The wrong team
Don’t be fooled into thinking that developers are the only ones needed to make your new planning system a reality. Your “dream team” should include project managers, functional experts, platform architects, data architects and of course, the project sponsor.
The project sponsor is instrumental in driving the approval of the project to begin with and stays involved during implementation (supporting the project manager, making decisions, ensuring the project continues to support the business’ priorities, managing relationships with stakeholders and the vendor). He or she is also pivotal once the project is complete. Overseeing adoption of the system may ultimately fall on this person. You could have the most perfect budgeting and planning solution ever developed, but if no one uses it, the project is a failure. It’s this person’s job to ensure that stakeholders understand and use the system as he/she is the one who identified the need for change and should be committed to seeing it through.
There are sometimes 2 project managers – one provided by the vendor and one from the client organization. The vendor’s project manager will steer the ship, be mindful of the scope of the project, communicate progress with stakeholders and ensure that the project is on time and on budget…
The financial success of any organization begins with a well-structured budget for each department. Just having this budget/plan in place does not guarantee success, but not having a plan guarantees failure.
But with only half of organizations’ plans being accurate and two-thirds not being able to investigate the details of their budgets in real time, many companies are planning major modifications to their budgeting and planning because they are painfully aware of the shortcomings of their process.
The implementation of a comprehensive budgeting, planning and forecasting (BP&F) tool should not be taken lightly. Though BP&F solution deployments can take as little as 6 weeks or as much as 4 months depending on the complexity, these projects require significant forethought, resources, and strategy. With this in mind, here are some pitfalls to avoid if at all possible. These of course apply to all business intelligence projects, not simply BP&F:
1) Unrealistic scope
An unrealistic scope is the #1 project impediment we see at arcplan. Because our solution, arcplan Edge, is fully customizable, we enable our customers to not compromise on their requirements. However, not every company has the funds to deploy every item on their wish list in Phase I of the project. So what can you do to ensure project success?
In case you missed arcplan’s webinar on August 7th, Best Practices in Budgeting, Planning and Forecasting/CPM, here’s the recording to view at your convenience:
Note that the recording will stream as a WMV file.
This webinar is chock full of lessons learned from arcplan Edge deployments. Our Senior Vice President of Solutions Delivery, Dwight deVera, presents information you can use to guide your future CPM software implementations. As you’ll see, budgeting and planning project success comes down to a few factors: keeping expectations and scope in check, putting the right team in place, and selecting the ideal technology platform that gives all stakeholders what they need.
Leave us a comment if you have any questions!
Join arcplan on Tuesday, August 7th @ 2pm Eastern for our free webinar on Best Practices in Budgeting, Planning & Forecasting/CPM Deployments, presented by our Senior Vice President for Solutions Delivery, Dwight deVera. This 60-minute webinar reviews a myriad of “know before you go” considerations for executives, finance teams, and planning professionals evaluating BP&F/CPM software.
- How to translate your planning process into system design requirements
- How to manage expectations and avoid scope creep
- The “gotchas” and obstacles you may face during deployment and how to overcome them
- Who should comprise your budgeting & planning team and their responsibilities
- The elements of an ideal budgeting & planning system
- And much more
We’ll also host a live Q&A at the end of the webinar.
You’ll come away from this presentation knowing everything it takes to achieve a successful technology deployment that enables you to dynamically adjust your plans on a monthly basis.
Hope to see you there.