Robert Kugel's Analyst Perspectives

Adaptive Planning Helps the University of Central Florida Plan Faster and More Accurately

Posted by Robert Kugel on Dec 18, 2012 11:26:18 AM

When they were first introduced three decades ago, electronic spreadsheets provided a major advance in corporate planning compared to the paper spreadsheet-and-adding-machine systems they replaced. However, time passes and, as our research shows, desktop spreadsheets often hamper productivity because they were designed for personal productivity, not for managing repetitive, collaborative, enterprise-wide processes such as financial planning. The finance organization at the University of Central Florida’s College of Medicine was grappling with this reality.

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Topics: Big Data, Planning, Human Capital Management, Office of Finance, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Reporting, Budgeting, driver-based, Cloud Computing, Business Performance Management (BPM), Financial Performance Management (FPM), Workforce Performance Management (WPM), Financial Performance Management, Integrated Business Planning

Longview Helps 3M Shape Its Future in Business Planning

Posted by Robert Kugel on Dec 14, 2012 11:47:05 AM

Effective planning has always been a challenge for companies, and it’s all the more so today. Even when companies deploy dedicated planning applications, they often do not or cannot use them to full advantage. I had a chance to learn more about 3M Corp. use of business planning in our recent 2012 Leadership Awards, who is the diversified global manufacturer of consumer and industrial products, several years ago acquired a dedicated planning application, but because the system could not scale to handle all of its planning contributors, it was forced to collect data from its worldwide business units using Excel templates. Desktop spreadsheets impose severe constraints in the planning process and do not readily handle the complexities of a large multinational firm, such as intracompany allocations, multiple currencies and changes in organizational structure. Modeling both product and financial elements is difficult and, for a company of 3M’s size, the processes do not scale well. The planning process was therefore prolonged, complex and could not readily adapt to change.

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Topics: Big Data, Planning, Human Capital Management, Office of Finance, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Reporting, Budgeting, driver-based, Business Performance Management (BPM), Customer Performance Management (CPM), Financial Performance Management (FPM), Sales Performance Management (SPM), Supply Chain Performance Management (SCPM), Workforce Performance Management (WPM), Financial Performance Management, Integrated Business Planning

The Right Software is Crucial for Effective Planning

Posted by Robert Kugel on Nov 27, 2012 9:39:46 AM

I’ve been examining how corporations plan and budget for more than decade. One clear pattern that has emerged is the difficulty that using desktop spreadsheets imposes on the process. Ventana Research recently published findings from our trends in business planning benchmark research, and the research once again confirms this observation. It shows that companies that use dedicated applications are consistently more satisfied (and much less dissatisfied) with the software they use than users of spreadsheets. Twice as many said their third-party planning application performs very well in financial and cash-flow forecasting. While one-third (32%) said their dedicated application performs the complex task of compensation planning very well, just 7 percent of spreadsheet users say so. Dedicated applications also have capabilities that spreadsheets lack; those include easily integrating data from multiple systems, drilling down on demand to understand the underlying causes of variances in reviews and performing extensive what-if planning. All of these enable more accurate planning.

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Topics: Big Data, Planning, Office of Finance, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Reporting, Budgeting, driver-based, Business Performance Management (BPM), Customer Performance Management (CPM), Financial Performance Management (FPM), Sales Performance Management (SPM), Supply Chain Performance Management (SCPM), Workforce Performance Management (WPM), Financial Performance Management, Integrated Business Planning

What’s Wrong with Today’s Planning and Budgeting

Posted by Robert Kugel on Nov 15, 2012 11:12:27 AM

People have been complaining about the budgeting and planning processes in their organizations for decades. If you’re old enough, you may recall President Carter’s failed attempt to use something called zero-based budgeting to impose discipline in federal outlays. (In his first year in office the federal government reported a whopping $54 billion deficit.) Some complaining is almost inevitable, but some reflects the one-way nature of the process. People spend time on creating a budget and don’t feel they get enough back from their time spent.

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Topics: Big Data, Planning, Office of Finance, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Reporting, Budgeting, driver-based, Business Performance Management (BPM), Customer Performance Management (CPM), Financial Performance Management (FPM), Sales Performance Management (SPM), Supply Chain Performance Management (SCPM), Workforce Performance Management (WPM), Financial Performance Management, Integrated Business Planning

Business Planning Benchmark Shows No Improvement in How Companies Plan and Budget

Posted by Robert Kugel on Nov 13, 2012 10:42:44 AM

Organizations engage in a range of forward-looking activities. Sales organizations have pipelines to forecast sales. Manufacturing organizations set and reset demand plans and near-term production schedules, often in response to longer-term production plans that determine what they will make and where and how they will make it. Logistics people plan inbound and outbound shipments. Marketing departments plan advertising and promotion campaigns. HR departments project staffing requirements and associated salary and benefit costs. A lot of planning goes on in any business, but most of it is done in business silos and little of it is integrated, so companies spend a lot of time on planning but get less out of the effort than they should. We recently completed our integrated business planning benchmark research, which followed similar research we completed in 2008. The research shows that companies have done little to mature their planning processes over the past four years.

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Topics: Big Data, Planning, Office of Finance, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Reporting, Budgeting, driver-based, Business Performance Management (BPM), Customer Performance Management (CPM), Financial Performance Management (FPM), Sales Performance Management (SPM), Supply Chain Performance Management (SCPM), Workforce Performance Management (WPM), Financial Performance Management, Integrated Business Planning

Rethinking Budgeting for 2013

Posted by Robert Kugel on Sep 7, 2012 11:16:54 AM

Budget season is about to open at most companies that operate on a calendar year, so this is probably as good a time as any to rethink the process. Almost all companies will undertake the construction of a budget this year the same way they did it last year, despite widespread complaints that it is a monumental waste of time. One major reason why budgeting never changes is that it isn’t important enough to be worth serious rethinking. Another reason is that too many vested interests are aligned with the status quo, especially because compensation is tied to budgets. Despite this, I think companies can do better, evolving the process from a finance-centric activity to one that serves the needs of broader business interests as well.

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Topics: Big Data, Planning, Office of Finance, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Reporting, Budgeting, Controller, Business Performance Management (BPM), CFO, Compensation, Financial Performance Management (FPM), Sales Performance Management (SPM), cash management, FPM, Integrated Business Planning

How to Start Integrating Business Planning

Posted by Robert Kugel on Jul 26, 2012 10:57:03 AM

Usually, just figuring out how to start the process of change is a major barrier to improvement in business. I think that’s especially true when it comes to integrated business planning (IBP). I started using that term six years ago to differentiate that process from financial budgeting and the many other forward-looking activities used in companies. IBP applies to a longstanding objective: bringing together the disparate strands of forward-looking activities across a corporation to foster internal alignment, enhance agility and therefore increase financial returns and improve strategic position. Especially in larger companies, fragmented planning efforts prevent companies from achieving these goals. They miss opportunities to sell more, incorrectly allocate their resources to less productive or less profitable activities and react too slowly to changing market conditions.

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Topics: Big Data, Planning, Office of Finance, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Reporting, Budgeting, driver-based, Business Collaboration, Business Performance Management (BPM), Customer Performance Management (CPM), Financial Performance Management (FPM), Sales Performance Management (SPM), Supply Chain Performance Management (SCPM), Workforce Performance Management (WPM), Financial Performance Management, Integrated Business Planning

Tidemark Reaches the Starting Gate

Posted by Robert Kugel on Jan 3, 2012 11:50:22 AM

My colleague Mark Smith and I recently chatted with executives of Tidemark, a company in the early stages of providing business analytics for decision-makers. It has a roster of experienced executive talent and solid financial backing. There’s a strategic link with Workday that reflects a common background at the operational and investor levels. As it gets rolling, Tidemark is targeting large and very companies as customers for its cloud-based system for analyzing data. It can automate alerts and enhance operating visibility, collaboratively assess the potential impacts of decisions and support the process of implementing those decisions.

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Topics: Big Data, Data Warehousing, Master Data Management, Performance Management, Planning, Predictive Analytics, GRC, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Budgeting, Risk Analytics, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Data Governance, Data Integration, In-Memory Computing, Information Management, Mobility, Business Performance Management (BPM), Customer Performance Management (CPM), Financial Performance Management (FPM), Risk, Sales Performance Management (SPM), Workday, Workforce Performance Management (WPM), Financial Performance Management, Integrated Business Planning, Strata+Hadoop

Kinaxis Users Deal with Supply Chain Complexity

Posted by Robert Kugel on Oct 27, 2011 2:54:01 AM

I recently attended Kinaxis’ users’ group meeting and learned some interesting things. The company, which has been around since 1995, provides software for large corporations with complex supply chains. Over the past decade its product has evolved well past its roots as a material requirements planning (MRP) support tool. It is now an analytics suite that facilitates supply and demand planning, analysis and optimization with a focus on sales and operations planning (S&OP). This is a discipline that is much talked about but less well practiced, done effectively by only a handful of very large companies (Cisco, for example) and smaller ones that have defined their functional strategy around S&OP and logistics management. In our S&OP benchmark research, we assessed the degree to which companies have a broad cross-functional representation in the process (a critical aspect of an effective S&OP effort) by asking which parts of the business were involved. When it comes to five of the most important ones – executive management, manufacturing, operations, sales and finance – our research showed that only 21 percent of companies have four or five participating, while 45 percent of companies have none or just one.

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Topics: Planning, Sales, Office of Finance, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Budgeting, Kinaxis, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Cloud Computing, Business Performance Management (BPM), Financial Performance Management (FPM), Sales Performance Management (SPM), Supply Chain, Supply Chain Performance Management (SCPM), demand management, Integrated Business Planning, S&OP

Mining Its Business, Alight Partners with Scope Systems

Posted by Robert Kugel on Sep 14, 2011 9:30:13 AM

Alight has announced that it is partnering with Scope Systems to provide the mining industry with planning and financial reporting systems tailored for extraction companies. Scope creates ERP solutions for companies engaged in mining, drilling and natural resource exploration.

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Topics: Planning, Office of Finance, Operational Performance Management (OPM), driver-based, Business Analytics, Business Performance Management (BPM), Financial Performance Management (FPM), Sales Performance Management (SPM), Integrated Business Planning, Spreadsheets