Solve the (Apparent) Planning Paradox

Integrated planning without media discontinuities

Planning is based on experience. Managers gather information, updating it over weeks and months. But then – who’s never experienced this? – something happens that changes everything. Developments come thick and fast, and what had been planned well in advance needs to be revised at extremely short notice. But that’s not all: instead of one plan, you’re now expected to deliver multiple scenarios.

But is that so simple when the information is sometimes in Excel, sometimes in Access, in a PDF, in a printout, or online? When individual values, plans and departments cannot be put into context? When decision-makers cannot see which data have been included and how plan values were calculated?

Reconciling wishes with the real world

Fortunately, what reads like a vast number of challenges doesn’t call for a vast number of independent solutions. One is enough. With an integrated financial plan where there are no media discontinuities, wishes can be reconciled with the real world. The concept provides for all relevant business data to be pooled in one central database. Here, all the information is available in a single medium, based on a single solution for planning, reporting and analysis.

Three examples illustrate how an integrated planning solution with interfaces to the relevant source systems can solve the challenges outlined at the start:

  • Automatic data transfer from source systems keeps the figures up to date and prevents manual input errors. This means that historical and current data are available on an ad-hoc basis for short, medium and long-term plans, scenarios and simulations.
  • Sales and HR data are merged with financial plans. The central data source means that plans and reports can be produced that reveal cross-departmental interrelationships.
  • Interactive reports can be used for self-service analyses. This means that managers can see for themselves where the values in plans and reports have come from without needing to ask their planning staff.

The integrated planning approach with a central data source doesn’t only eliminate media discontinuities. A faster planning process, extremely fast communication and cross-departmental collaboration are just some of the advantages. Above all, however, an integrated planning solution means that long-term planning is no longer incompatible with being ready to provide reliable figures to decision-makers at short notice in the interests of an agile corporate culture.