4 min read

Transformation is a journey, not a destination

Danielle Dahlstrom

Director of Product Marketing, Finance Solutions

Embracing modern finance is a perpetual process that demands agility and easy pivots. Finance leaders need an approach that allows them to adopt, modernize, and transform at a personalized pace, keeping an eye on the ever-evolving needs of the business.

It is a turbulent time in the world. Businesses quickly find themselves struggling to fulfill the expectations of their customers, adjust to marketplace dynamics, and stay ahead of their competition. Competitive advantage will erode without transformation from the financial planning legacy system to modernized and fully Connected Planning. 

Change doesn’t happen overnight, and that’s ok. Anaplan meets you where you are in your journey to a more robust, holistic, and effective approach to financial and operational planning that aligns to the strategic vision of the organization. The first step in this journey isn’t necessarily as disruptive as you might think. Instead, the initial decision is enabled by a change in mindset. 

It’s integral to adopt a modern approach to financial and operational planning, or Connected Planning 

As we outlined in our previous blog, modern finance isn’t just a nice to have, it is an absolute must in the current environment as complexity accelerates. Moving from traditional ways of driving planning, budgeting and forecasting, finance leaders who move to extended planning and analysis (xP&A, as Gartner calls it), or what we call Connected Planning, access previously inaccessible levels of collaboration.  

In short, finance leaders who believe in and insist on modern finance principles, skills, and processes benefit from visibility for all stakeholders and shared decision-making across departments. This, in turn, allows more shared responsibility and accountability, leading to an overall sense of shared success. 

Transformation takes time, and that’s fine 

It’s undeniable: Historical processes are hard to undo. The legacy system is known and understood by all parties, and breaking from the norm can be intimidating, difficult, and time-consuming. Because finance traditionally owns the entire financial planning process, there is significant opportunity for shifting thinking in the finance function for the transformational finance leader. 

Adding active stakeholders is difficult, and so is asking other departments to take on new responsibilities or participate in processes not previously part of their roles. They have their own daily responsibilities outside of planning and asking departments to find more time for extra work can be met with strong pushback. Even when new parties are in the mix, more data can mean more struggles. For instance, understanding variances and course correcting is complicated, and developing scenarios for possible avenues is arduous, and can sometimes feel impossible. 

This brings us to the most difficult challenge of all: changing mindsets, including your own. “The way we’ve always done it” is a common refrain in organizations around the world, simply because old patterns are comfortable and easy to predict. Getting individuals to open themselves to change can feel strenuous, even in the executive suite. Buy-in from C-suite leaders is absolutely critical for modern finance to take hold, but they’re busy, focused, and trusting in the processes working in the moment. 

These challenges can be overcome, but it starts with a mindset-shift by finance leaders. Transformation from same-old-same-old to Connected Planning and the mindset shift originates with the visionary leaders in finance who can lay out the benefits to all necessary parties, articulate the value it will drive across the business, and demonstrate how it will support achievement of strategic targets. That’s where Anaplan comes in.

Anaplan meets you where you are in your journey 

As you embark on your modernization path, Anaplan can support you in uncovering and quickly delivering some small wins with demonstrable impact and results. When these wins are supported by testimonials, metrics, and amplification, mindsets start to shift and the real, hands-on work can begin. As more stakeholders see more results, additional needs and pain points are uncovered and the journey gains buy-in and momentum. 

Once executive leadership and stakeholders see outcomes, you can move on to the next stage in the journey to Connected Planning by modernizing the processes in place. Build out the value chain and determine bottlenecks, the biggest pain points, and additional steps that benefit the process of eliminating legacy thinking and moving into the financial and operational planning future.  

With processes modernized, you’re in position to transform your approach to planning as a whole. Here is where the mindset shift makes the most difference. With the new vision, it’ll be easier to bring on new processes, stakeholders, products, KPIs, and more. By aligning people, data, and technology, and creating an agile environment that is resilient and future-ready, you are preparing the whole organization to navigate future disruption, uncertainty, and complexity. 

Instead of traditional silos, limited visibility and collaboration, and general “we’ve always done it this way” comfort, cross-functional teams need to agree to align for maximum success across the organization. With everyone on board, the agility for quick analysis and necessary pivots becomes second nature. The business will also benefit from the flexibility to adjust when the business itself, the marketplace, or the consumer demands adjustments.  

Conclusion  

Anaplan’s unique ability to connect stakeholders across an organization empowers intelligent, collaborative, and real-time decision-making. This is only possible when finance leaders adopt a transformational mindset and push for cross-departmental cooperation and alignment. By leading the business into the future with a refreshed look at how finance can operate, the whole organization can shift their thinking into a new era of Connected Planning to maintain a competitive edge in a rapidly shifting world. 

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