Active Planning for the future: a mandatory step in maintaining stability during unstable times
Active Planning

From time to time, the business world is shattered by global events that can’t be precisely predicted. We can experience a natural phenomenon that affects parts of the world and shut down operations that are the heart of a specific industry; we can have a global economic crisis and even pandemics. Let’s image the business world like a spider web with millions of connected dots, depending on one another. Now, if only one dot is collapsing, how many others have to suffer? Too many if there’s no active planning strategy in place!

In one of our previous articles, we’ve highlighted the effects that such uncertain times can bring to the table, and also some pieces of advice for companies around the world facing these issues. Let’s dig into some more details and show businesses how they can remain financially stable, productive, and sustainable with active planning, even when things are not as positive as we wish them to be.

Planning for the future: a mandatory step in maintaining stability

There’s no doubt that businesses need to plan their next steps in order for them to evolve. Year after year, we’ve seen how companies were organizing a yearly board meeting to define company goals, plan activities, and allocate budgets for the next 12 months or more, taking into consideration functions, regions, products, and many more. The same group was meeting again after one year to measure the progress, report the performances, and start the whole planning process again. For sure, there are still companies that are doing things in this traditional way. 

Now, let’s take a step back: what if, in the middle of the year, the market demand changes dramatically as a result of a global scandal? What if the stock prices drop, and those brave objectives from the beginning of the year are no longer realistic? Or maybe – what if your most notable clients are going into lockdown due to a global pandemic? The last scenario is probably well known by SMBs from the semi-product goods sectors, that are now hoping for a miracle because all their plans were relying on big companies around the world that are currently in `pause` mode. 

This is only one example that highlights the need for a new approach when it comes to financial and business planning. It’s time for all companies to switch from static spreadsheets to dynamic and real-time analysis. 

Forget about static planning. It’s time for active planning

In times of uncertainty, it’s time to take a step forward and adopt what most companies are calling `the next big thing,` `the future of business` or `the path towards success.` You know what we mean, right? Nowadays, everything is based on technology, so why don’t businesses leverage it and embrace digital transformation? 

On the other hand, why are some companies leaders in what they do? Because they understood the power of data and leveraged this ability to analyze vast quantities of operational and customer data, and turned them into actionable insights to create more positive, more personalized relations between buyers and sellers. In short, they are using these insights to build dynamic planning scenarios that allow them to make better decisions and faster when needed. For these companies, there’s no time to lose. 

If you’re a business leader, what would you choose from the following options?

Active Planning

A. Static Planning

✖ Static planning with a high risk of blind spots in data, hidden assumptions, and underestimated challenges; 

✖ No cross-functional visibility and data to identify risks and opportunities for the future

✖ Rigid annual planning with periodic reviews to check the progress of the operations, but without any real-time mechanisms to provide accurate insights

✖ Time-consuming planning with poor support for different scenarios

✖ Unreliable collaboration due to the versions control challenges

✖ Limited reach and possibly neglected areas of the business

B. Active Planning

✔ Functional plans that fit the day-to-day business reality

✔ Continuous and active planning and ongoing exercise, with minimum boundaries between execution and expectations 

✔ Cross-functional planning with high visibility into operations, models, or granular levels of the organizations

✔ Consolidated data from all systems – a single source of truth for business performance data

✔ Extensive modeling ability for unlimited what-if scenarios for any part of the business

✔ Easy, and intuitive analytics and data modeling (no need for technical knowledge)

✔ Fast and active planning cycles that go beyond financial reports and selling records. 

✔ High accessibility from a wide range of devices and broader participation into the centralized finance plan✔ Integrated reporting for both finance and non-finance data

For sure, the B column looks better, and in times of uncertainty, being able to dynamically scale up and down the operations, analyze different business areas and make fast decisions are key elements in remaining on the market, no matter the conditions. 

At Sereviso, we support businesses in their digital transformation journey and help them adopt suitable financial planning solutions for them, with full visibility over business data, high accessibility, and granular analytics. If you’re looking for a similar solution, check our website or get in touch with Sereviso experts.

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Financial PlanningHerausforderungen in Planungs-und Forecasting Prozessen