Predictive Planning in the SME Sector

BARC study investigates level of maturity

In small and medium-sized businesses, predictive planning and forecasting are becoming more relevant, have the potential to optimise the planning process, and require the use of suitable software. These are the three main findings of the latest BARC study entitled “Predictive Planning”. The study was conducted by the Business Application Research Center (BARC) with the backing of Corporate Planning. Its objective was to determine the extent to which topics such as automation and smart planning processes have so far been on the agenda for SMEs in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

Planners expecting better forecasts
75 per cent of the participants see that predictive planning and forecasting are becoming more relevant. By using predictive models, they expect to improve their planning processes and results.

Business planning on the next level
Predictive planning and forecasting are regarded as being the hottest topics when it comes to optimising the planning process. 65 per cent of the participants in the study hope to achieve better quality and accuracy. 59 per cent expect a reduction in the effort involved in planning, along with greater flexibility to respond to new requirements.

Software to meet the challenges
The participants consider the greatest challenges to be the high level of expertise required (64 per cent) and a lack of resources (59 per cent). Hence, there is a need for user-friendly software that assists in the provision of plan data and offers models that demand only a minimum of specialist knowledge.

Current challenges in business planning
As digitisation progresses, staff in business planning are having to make their decisions ever more frequently. At the same time, the basis for planning is becoming less and less reliable, making business valuations increasingly difficult. CFOs are consequently implementing new management tools. These tools supply the planners with steadily increasing amounts of data for planning and analysis, thereby adding to their existing workload.

The survey for the Predictive Planning study was carried out among businesses in Germany, Austria and Switzerland in May and June 2018.

The study is available in German to download free of charge here.