How to Make Your Enterprise Planning Strategic in Nature

imagesThe fundamental success of your organization requires a solid understand of where you are, where you want to be, and how you get there.  In short, it’s about having a strategic plan that’s aligned with the market, leverages it’s core competencies, and is methodically implemented and monitored.

So why are so many companies challenged with strategic planning?  It’s because the strategy is too often not aligned with the ongoing planning process being led by Finance.   The role Finance plays is to support each of the key elements of the strategy mentioned above, by providing a realistic picture of the metrics along the way.  A properly aligned corporate strategy and planning process will drive accountability across the organization.  So how can it be done?

Change the Mindset of Your Corporate Planning

Improve the long-term performance of your enterprise by embedding these three procedures into your corporate planning:

  • Purpose
  • Alignment
  • Efficiencies

Your people and planning process affect the first two.  Building a financial platform is the biggest lever you have to impact the third.  Software applications like SAP BPC is still the industry standard for creating a platform that will allow you to become a world-class planning organization.

Purpose for the Planning

Know why you’re planning in the first place.  I don’t just mean is it revenue generation, or some form of cost analysis.  I’m talking about a true understanding of what decisions are being made by the effort and cost being expelled.  Defining the beneficiaries and the benefits they receive, will force the effort to be focused and measurable around those benefits.

Alignment with the Corporate Strategy

This by far is the most difficult to accomplish often due to the silos that exist between the strategic management team and the functional planning teams.  As a functional leader being asked to plan you have one key activity to make sure this alignment exists….require a clear description of the organizations strategic intents by your leadership.  These strategic intents are the compass in which all your planning efforts must be directed toward.  It’s a step often missed but a guaranteed game changer.

Efficiencies in How You Plan

Just remember the three A’s of driving efficiencies:

Accurate – Automated – Accountable

With a core understanding that proper planning is about change management, then we have to realize that the people involved must trust the numbers, be spoon-fed, and know they will be measured by it.  Getting these three realities in place will bring great performance improvements to your organization.

SAP BPC helps organizations address each of these critical areas.

Accuracy – by pulling data from your general ledger and creating a central repository for planning, there is one version of the truth.  This creates confidence in the numbers at all levels of the organization.

Automated – by creating a planning process in Excel (still the common language of business) that allows for robust modeling, the budget process couldn’t be any more interactive and simplistic in nature.

Accountable – by having a tool that easily measures and reports performance, accountability comes to life.  The visibility creates ownership and drives actionable intelligence…putting the power of performance in the hands of your people.

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RETAIL (Planning & Consolidation)
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MANUFACTURING (Upgrade)
Upgrading SAP BPC to the HANA platform: Cintas run SAP ERP on HANA and needed to upgrade their SAP BPC 7.5 for financial consolidation and reporting from Microsoft SQL Server to the SAP HANA platform
ENERGY (Business Modeling)
Merger and Acquisition: ETP needed to manage multiple cultures, process, systems, and general ledgers from a series of merges and acquisitions, and generate meaningful budgets and forecast for company reports
MANUFACTURING (Planning on HANA)
Business Growth – expansion of manufacturing sites required enhanced planning, and potential acquisitions would require confidence in consolidation and reporting