In my first article in this series, I described the concept of dynamic planning and how it differs from the historical static way of planning. Here, I am focusing on some of the impacts of changing the planning philosophy and process.
The whole strength of the dynamic planning concept is the ability to gain insights about the organization at a frequency greater than the annual planning cycle. To gain these insights, however, there needs to be a way to access data on a company-wide basis, in real time. We need access to actuals to give us the clearest picture of the true state of the organization at anytime from anywhere.
As many of us get caught up in the intrigue and suspense created by the characters and storylines of “Game of Thrones,” it leads me to think about how annual budgets, forecasts, and plans are also full of intrigue, anticipation, and unexpected findings and results.
A lot has changed over the past 20 years in the world of planning, forecasting, and analytics. Previously, a lack of clarity into the actual performance of an organization, and the lack of raw data on a real-time basis, meant we built a greater degree of uncertainty into our models. Likewise, the ability to adapt to change in real time was clouded by this lack of data due to cost, availability, and/or timeliness. The result was impairment of our ability to effect necessary changes as events unfolded around us.
Planning is an integral part of enterprise performance management (EPM). Gartner defines EPM as “the process of monitoring performance across the enterprise with the goal of improving business performance.” Dynamic planning then aligns seamlessly into the overall EPM structure of the organization.
“Do I have the right skill set for FP&A in 2018 and beyond?” That is a question I am asked all the time, whether I’m in Kuala Lumpur, Montevideo, or San Francisco. The role of the modern FP&A professional has changed greatly over the past 20 years, but the change I have witnessed over the past five years has truly been amazing.
A main goal of many of FP&A professionals I interact with concerns becoming a trusted business partner. Whether that’s with the company as a whole, the C-suite, or a particular business unit, most FP&A professionals want to advance along the maturity curve to become valued and sought-after business partners (and even better, business advisers), rather than some kind of bean counter. The days of sitting in an office and collecting, verifying, and scrubbing reams of data with little or no interaction with the people we support are over.