Are your sales forecasts connected with operational plans? How do your actuals compare to your last forecast? By the time you actually consolidate your forecast, is it completely out of date?
Despite the array of available solutions and technologies, company budgets and forecasts remain misaligned or even at odds with strategic objectives. How can your company overcome these challenges and adopt the right approach to planning that directly impacts your bottom line?
In a recent webinar, Improve Financial Planning and Budgeting by Leveraging Operational Data, Neil Dexter, VP of Finance at Tilera and David S. Linthicum, SVP at Cloud Technology Partners, revealed how their companies overcame common challenges to improve financial budgeting, planning, and forecasting. Watch the webinar archive here or check out insights and actionable steps from the webinar below to learn how you can make more timely decisions with real-time data.
Lack of Pertinent Data, Timely Insights, and Visibility a Common Pain Point
Today, many companies suffer from a lack of timely insights into operational themes. Data views are top-down, rigid, and too high-level for the finance team to leverage. The information generated within an organization is not getting to the right people that can act upon that information. This, in turn, limits the organization’s strategic success.
According to a live poll administered during the webinar, 43 percent of the participants are using some data for strategic planning, but are missing key pieces. When you are given massive amounts of data to review and lack the right criteria to interpret that data, finding specific information is tedious and painful. Companies are wasting money because they cannot easily identify and extract the information they need to see.
What Companies Need to Succeed
Companies need better decision-making and guidance and one version of the truth. To be successful, and give their leaders confidence in their strategic plans, companies can’t have data replicated in multiple locations with redundant information. They must find one version of the truth for sales, revenue, and customer relationships.
For example, the sales team needs information that will allow them to do their job better. They must move quicker to target the right accounts and take the right actions to close sales. With the right data, companies can make the case for a larger investment in sales and actually get a return on their investment.
A typical forecast offers one-way data flow, limited integration, and is prone to errors. Timely, actionable, cost-effective forecasts that align to operational plans help to pull data that is a direct translation of the forecast and in a form that the business user can understand. Consider moving from a one-way task to this two-way exchange. Here’s how:
Actionable Considerations to Better Leverage Your Data
- Define your business, including what’s important to your business
- Define existing planning approaches
- Define existing data and data types
- Define data gathering approaches
- Define a target data model and access approach
- Select and implement tools
- Measure value
What’s Next for Your Financial Planning?
Keep your main goal top of mind: it’s important to leverage current technological improvements to drive financial planning processes. Whatever you’re doing, make sure to align company forecasts with strategic objectives. Focus on key operational data, and engage operational and planning stakeholders across the enterprise in a timely manner.
See first hand how companies like Tilera and Cloud Technology Partners are leveraging real-time planning that scales by viewing the recorded webinar.