Category Archives: Finance

Lessons from the discovery-driven planning approach

Discovery-driven planning

A few weeks ago I researched ideas for improving current planning and forecasting approaches. I stumbled upon a methodology that I had long forgotten. It is called ‘Discovery-driven planning’ and it was developed by Rita Gunther McGrath and Ian C. MacMillan. The idea was first published in the July 1995 issue of the Harvard Business Review. While I do not want to go into any details of this approach, I do highly recommend reading the original article. It is very inspiring and thought-provoking. Today, I want to look at some lessons that we can apply to our forecasting and planning processes. However,

The basic idea

Discovery-driven planning is a multi-step planning approach designed for new ventures. It encourages planners to move away from the traditional process of just creating financial projections. One of the core idea of the discovery-driven planning methodology is to develop a set of detailed assumptions around the projections. They should also be quantified and tested against the plan. What it does is the following: Rather than just saying “These are the results we are expecting” you now have a platform for answering a critical question “What has to prove true for our plan/ forecast to work?”. You should rank the assumptions by importance and/ or the level of uncertainty. The process of developing this should be quite valuable itself and one should be in a position to identify critical problems or opportunities. Once the assumptions have been created and tested, they should be assessed on an on-going basis.

Enhance your processes

It’s difficult to disagree with this idea. It’s not rocket-science but it makes perfect sense. Yet, we hardly ever use this approach. Our plans and forecasts are developed as if we could predict the future. Yet, we all know that this is not the case. Various studies, for example, have shown that over 60% of all annual budgets are outdated within the first fiscal quarter. I therefore believe we can significantly improve our processes by incorporating critical assumptions. Not just at the top level but also at the individual contributor level. The resulting process could look like this, for example:

Discovery-driven planning

The development, testing and discussion of assumptions is now a critical part of the process.

An example

Let’s assume we are a sales manager. We have to develop a sales forecast for the next quarter. Following a best practices approach, we only look at our best customers in detail. We spend time developing the forecast – revenue numbers by customer, by product family, by month. Perfect. The numbers look great when we compare them against budget. And our boss is happy with the look of the forecast.

Discovery-driven planning

The traditional approach. This looks great, doesn’t it? But are the numbers realistic?

Most processes stop right there. A good manager would probably ask a few tough questions here and there. But developing assumptions allows us to go further than that. Incorporating this into the process as a step could help us identify risks and opportunities. Below is a simplified example:

AssumptionsNow we can easily see that there is significant risk. And we now have to ability to act on this. The sales manager, for example, could sit down with product management to validate product release dates.

Next steps

Discovery-driven planning represents a very interesting and pragmatic approach. I highly recommend that you read more about this topic. The idea of incorporating assumptions and their test into our daily planning and forecasting exercises could be quite powerful. It’s not rocket-science. Some companies already do this. However, it is usually done at a high level (GDP growth above 2.5%). Managers at all levels can benefit from this idea.

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TM1 – The swiss army knife for the finance department?

IBM Cognos TM1

No doubt, IBM Cognos TM1 is a unique solution. I have never met so many loyal and enthusiastic long-term customers than for any other finance-related software solution. TM1 is special indeed. There is a lot to like: it is lightening fast (64-bit in memory), configuration does not require rocket-science, it supports Excel, there is a great-looking web interface etc.. But one of the biggest benefits is that TM1 is very flexible. You can do many things with this solution. Usage is not limited to just planning and forecasting. It is not limited to the finance department but it can be leveraged across the enterprise for a plethora of business problems. And that is why many people say that TM1 is as versatile as a Swiss Army Knife.

What can you do?

What can you do with IBM Cognos TM1? A good colleague of mine recently put an interesting slide together. It shows various applications that European customers have built. This is not an exhaustive list but just a snapshot of what is possible.

TM1 Usage

Much more…

Does this inspire you? Find out more about TM1 by reading my interviews with the author of the IBM Cognos TM1 The Official Guide. And if you haven’t bough the book itself, make sure to pick up a copy sooner than later.

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Success with Performance Management – An interview with Mark Lack from Mueller Inc.

The 80 year-old company Mueller Inc is a a leading manufacturer of pre-engineered metal buildings and metal roofing products. Mark Lack is responsible for performance management at Mueller Inc. He delivered a great presentation about their IBM Cognos implementation at  the recent IBM Vision 2012 event in Orlando. Following his session we sat down for a short interview.

Christoph Papenfuss: Mark, tell us about your role at Mueller Inc.

Mark Lack:  I was hired to manage the planning and forecasting function and as my role evolved Strategy Management and Business Analytics became a natural extension.

Christoph Papenfuss: Did Mueller already have established performance management processes when you joined the company. Can you provide examples?

Mark Lack: Yes, it was Excel based.  I can’t say it wasn’t sophisticated because it was.  Lots of automation and VBA scripts to manage the roll-ups.  The problem with the system was the inordinate amount of time it took to perform manual manipulations. Ultimately it rolled up to a series of financial performance items.  The process was long and complicated, and in the end we had difficulty matching the output with the actual drivers of the performance.

Christoph Papenfuss: Reporting and Analysis was difficult then. What about the planning and forecasting process? Did you encounter any difficulties?

Mark Lack: The budgets weren’t kept in our main ERP system, only in Excel. We had to manually type in 300 lines of actuals each quarter in order to run variance reports.  Invariably we would encounter that someone inserted a new line and it flowed through the rollup.  Forecasting was done by evaluating what could be done, backing it off 10% and seeing if that could get passed.  Often times when a number or a project was accepted, every other plan would magically look similar.

Christoph Papenfuss: You decided to implement new performance management processes. How did you go about that? Did you use a big bang or a phased approach?

Mark Lack

Mark Lack

Mark Lack:  We had just come off of an ERP implementation that was big bang, so we realized that this next project should be phased.  Actually, when working with PM, you have to be careful of what you incentivize (to avoid bad behaviors) so it lends itself to a more phased approach.  We began by implementing a corporate balanced scorecard.  This became the framework for which the organization’s activities would be managed around, so this became the parameters.  The scorecard reporting at first was done in Excel with Red yellow green traffic lights as the metrics success and failures.  The first question when we reviewed these was always “What caused the target to be off?”  We realized that we had to put a better system in place to manage and automate the PM if we were to be able to communicate what was important about executing our strategy and drive behavior.

Christoph Papenfuss: What does you current solution look like? What have you implemented and which processes are automated?

Mark Lack: We have an integrated system that uses the strategy as the foundation of our company.  All of our PM processes are integrated from the balanced scorecard, to reports that indicate why we met or missed a target, to a planning system to help us get back on track.  We try to allow the data to flow systematically with little to no intervention.  We’re pretty close to an entirely closed loop system and the told we have provide the ability to automate the dissemination of important information needed to run the organizations.  The goal is to get relevant information to decision makers when and how they need it.  We’re pretty close to that goal and automation of information delivery against our “big data” has helped us in this regard.

Christoph Papenfuss: One of the key problems companies are struggling with is target settings. Managers tend to fight for lower targets. Their argument is that their goals are arbitrary. Do you have similar issues?

Mark Lack:  We did for a while, and for the most part they have a point.  If the goal is 15 % and they are at 5% now, a 3 times jump can be difficult to obtain if looked at from a high level.  What we were able to do with our analytics tools was to analyze organizations around a common theme, such as revenue.  By breaking them into groups and analyzing the processes within the groups, the result in target setting is less arbitrary.  In our case if 7 organizations have a similar revenue level and 5 are performing at a high level in regards to customer satisfaction scores, all things being equal, the remaining 2 orgs should be as well.    So we set the target within the per group range as an expectation.  The top 5 in the peer group set the target and then the conversations switched from “That target is arbitrary” to “This was set by your peer’s performance”.  The idea here is that now we can remove the distraction of who set the target (now it is the peer group) to what are the best practices that drive this performance?  If 70% of your peers can perform, what keeps you from performing?  Ultimately it changes the conversation for the better.

Christoph Papenfuss: Implementing a solid performance management platform requires resources. What is the benefit for your organization? Have you ever attempted to calculate the ROI?

Mark Lack: We always knew the answer was positive, because you can see results, right?  The problem we always had was how do you quantify it?  We had a research study done by Nucleus Research and the direct benefits were 113% per year.  If we add the indirect benefits of a better informed workforce, I’m guessing it would have to be 10x that figure.

Christoph Papenfuss: What are your future plans?

Mark Lack:  I’d like quote Jeff Spicoli and say “me and Mick are going to wing on over to London and jam with the Stones” but I can’t.  There are too many opportunities to use the tools available to continue to maximize the value out of our system.

Christoph Papenfuss: Thanks much for your time, Mark

You can find out more about the Mueller Inc implementation on IBM’s website.

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IBM Vision 2012 – A great conference

IBM Vision 2012

Greetings from the JW Marriott hotel in Orlando. The IBM Vision 2012 conference for Finance and Risk Management professionals is going really well. Close to 800 professionals from all over the world are here. The atmosphere has been great so far. An event of this size allows people to easily connect with each other and to exchange a few ideas.

Keynotes

The keynotes of the events have been well received. They were action and information packed. The Tuesday morning presentations were especially insightful. Les Rechan kicked off the day with a few thoughts about the role of analytics in the office of finance. He was followed by book author Michael Mauboussin who talked about the power of counterintuition in decision making. John Hagerty from Gartner closed out the morning session with a few customer interviews.

Make sure to watch or scan through the video recording.

Watch live streaming video from ibmsoftware at livestream.com

Stay tuned for further updates

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IBM Vision 2012

IBM Vision 2012

Greetings from Orlando. I left Munich Saturday morning to attend the IBM Vision 2012 conference. This three day event for finance & risk management professionals will be exciting. There are fantastic keynotes lined up as well as a ton of awesome break-out sessions. I am really looking forward to it.

IBM Vision 2012

Keynotes

The keynotes at IBM Vision 2012 promise to be especially interesting this year. The list of external speakers includes John Hagerty from Gartner, book author Michael Mauboussin and Everest explorer Alison Levine. Of course, there are also exciting IBM speakers including Les Rechan (GM for Business Analytics) and Mark Loughridge (CFO of IBM). I will be showing some great new solutions as part of the general keynote Tuesday morning from 11am – 12am EST.

Join the conversation

For those of you who will attend IBM Vision 2012, please do reach out to me (@cpapenfuss). I would love to connect. If you cannot attend the conference, you can still participate in the conversations. There are two main options:

  • Join via Twitter. The official hashtag is #vision12 . Also, make sure to follow @ibmcognos for updates. I will try to tweet whenever possible.
  • View the keynote sessions from your desk via Livestream. All keynote sessions will be broadcast and should be available for viewing after the event as well.

Stay tuned for updates!

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Part 2 – Interview with the TM1 book author. More about TM1

Last Thursday, I posted an interview with the author of the new TM1 book Karsten Oehler. Here is the continuation of the conversation. This part of the interview focuses on the new IBM Cognos TM1 10.1 release.

Christoph Papenfuss: IBM Cognos TM1 10.1 was released in February of 2012. What is so special about this release?

Karsten Oehler: One of the central components of version 10.1 is a new modeling environment. It is called Performance Modeler. It really encourages finance and business professionals to develop their own models. Performance Modeler allows them to develop complex rules and links. You can also easily import data into applications. None of this requires deep technical knowledge.

Christoph Papenfuss: Does Performance Modeler replace Architect?

Karsten Oehler: Performance Modeler is an enhancement. The user can choose which tool to use. Architect is closer to Excel and has some features which are currently not supported by Performance Modeler. This includes dynamic subsets and report generation of Excel sheets from the cube viewer.

Christoph Papenfuss: There is a new desktop tool call Cognos Insight. It looks similar to TM1. Is there a relationship or connection between the products.

Karsten Oehler: Cognos Insight is a very powerful desktop tool that allows business people to conduct analysis, explore data and to develop prototypes. TM1 and Cognos Insight are closely connected – a local TM1 engine is part of Cognos Insight. It uses the same rule syntax and a simplified Turbo-Integrator version for data import. You can also import Cognos Insight models into Performance Modeler and refine them further.

Christoph Papenfuss: What is the advantage of using Cognos Insight in the planning process along with TM1

Karsten Oehler: There are two aspects: Planning applications are often created by prototyping. Cognos Insight is a great tool to express ideas and to develop prototypes. Secondly Cognos Insight can be used an additional front-end for contributors to the planning, budgeting and forecasting process.

TM1 Book

The TM1 book was the big star at the Budapest Finance Forum on May 9th

Christoph Papenfuss: Who should use Cognos Insight as a client for planning and forecasting models?

Karsten Oehler: TM1 has strong tools to support a highly decentralized planning and forecasting process. I recommend to use the IBM Cognos Contributor front-end because it is easy to distribute (non-local installation). With TM1 10.1 you can also integrate web sheets created via the Excel add in. However if somebody is using Insight for data discovery it is very interesting to contribute to the planning process directly within Cognos Insight. Another advantage is the scalability: With Insight it is possible to let the local insight engine do all the calculation which is needed for the planning slice assigned to the user.

Christoph Papenfuss: What do you like best about TM1?

Karsten Oehler: It is definitely the rule language. It is the most compact way to formulate all kinds of calculations to solve all kinds of business problems. The most complex cost and profitability calculations often look pretty easy after modeling them with TM1 rules.

Christoph Papenfuss: Thank you so much, Karsten!

You can purchase the TM1 book on Amazon.com: IBM Cognos TM1 – The Official Guide

About Dr. Karsten Oehler (author of the TM1 book):

Karsten is head of the Performance Management Client Technical Professionals at IBM Germany. Prior to joining IBM, he spent more than 15 years with several international software companies as a product manager, marketing executive, and consultant for financial accounting and business intelligence software. He has published several books and well over 130 articles about business analytics.

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Interview with the TM1 book author: IBM Cognos TM1 – The Official Guide (Part 1)

The new TM1 book

The highly anticipated 10.1 version of IBM Cognos TM1 was released in February 2012. Along with the software there is also a great new TM1 book: IBM Cognos TM1 – The Official Guide. My German colleague Karsten Oehler is one of the authors of this comprehensive TM1 book. We had the opportunity to catch up last week. It was very early in the morning and we were both on our first cup of coffee. This is the first part of two short interviews. Check back Tuesday next week to read more.

Christoph Papenfuss: Let’s start this discussion with an important question. TM1 is a strange product name. What does TM1 stand for?

Karsten Oehler: The name sounds still fresh and interesting after 25 years, right? Oh well…..it is an interesting name, indeed. And we do get a lot of questions about it. Here is the truth. Don’t be shocked – it stands for Table Manager 1. And it is the solution No 1 from my point of view.

Christoph Papenfuss: What is TM1? Can you describe it in an elevator-speech style?

Karsten Oehler: Cognos TM1 is the universal tool for the business person wanting to do all kinds of analytical work like forecasting, planning, simulation, analysis and reporting. Some people call it the ‘Swiss Army Knife’ for the business. The only thing it can’t do (yet) is to cook coffee ;-)

Christoph Papenfuss: Who can use IBM Cognos TM1 and why should they?

Karsten Oehler: Everybody with a need or desire to perform analytical work should use TM1. TM1 links typical analytical office work (Excel) with a high performing analytical database. However it doesn’t require that much conceptual overhead so that a business user is able to define his own data structure. TM1 doesn’t replace spreadsheets or data warehouses. It literally brings both worlds together.

Christoph Papenfuss: There are many planning, budgeting and forecasting solutions out on the market. What makes IBM Cognos TM1 so special?

Karsten Oehler: I am heading up a research group at the Controller Verein, the biggest European community for management accountants and finance experts. We describe several classes of planning tools: spreadsheet enhancements, ERP enhancements, OLAP, specific (financial) planning solutions and generic planning solutions. The last category is the most powerful one because it provides a lot of flexibility while also allowing you to leverage strong predefined planning functions like workflow, simulation, financial intelligence. Within this group TM1 is the best one because it has the most modern architect (scalability, write back queuing, rule optimization, batch processing environment) and the newest interface.

Christoph Papenfuss: Is TM1 just for planning, budgeting and forecasting?

Karsten Oehler: Absolutely not! As I mentioned before, TM1 is extremely powerful and flexible. Planning, budgeting and forecasting is just one area where TM1 can add tremendous value. Other important areas where TM1 excels at is profitability and sales analysis, costing (an area where TM1 is extremely strong), management consolidation, and last but not least production planning.

Christoph Papenfuss: You have just released the book IBM Cognos TM1 – The Official Guide. What prompted you to write this book?

Karsten Oehler: When you look at the bookstores and see shelves of SAP books and hardly any book about the best analytical tool, you have to scratch your head. We wanted to change that. Also, together with our customers we had developed a lot of valuable business content over the past decade. We really wanted to share this with others.

Christoph Papenfuss: What can you expect to learn from the book?

Karsten Oehler: How to live a better life – just kidding. No, in all seriousness it should help you with your daily TM1 work. It explains the architecture in a focused and structured way. This is an area where the standard documentation is sometimes a bit too extensive. Also, we have included a ton of business content. There are several small models that explain how TM1 can solve specific business problems like rolling forecasting, inter-company matching, variance analysis, activity based management etc..

Christoph Papenfuss: Who should read the book?

Karsten Oehler: Anybody who has an interest in TM1! Early feedback shows that power users and business consultants are the primary readers of this book.

Christoph Papenfuss: What is the best way to read your TM1 book? Is it more like a workbook or a resource guide that you pull out when you need it?

Karsten Oehler: Of course you could read the entire book, but I wouldn’t recommend that. It’s 800 pages strong! I would rather suggest to focus on just those business areas that you are interested in. Simply read it section by section. I would imagine that most people will use the book as a powerful reference.

Christoph Papenfuss: IBM recently released TM 10.1 . Do you cover the latest version in your book?

Karsten Oehler: We certainly cover it but it was not easy because there were a lot of short term changes in the development process. The business models are backward compatible. We wanted to make sure that users from the older releases are also able to leverage the book.

To be continued next Thursday…..the second part will focus on the 10.1 release.

Karsten-Oehler

About Dr. Karsten Oehler (author of the TM1 book):

Karsten is head of the Performance Management Client Technical Professionals at IBM Germany. Prior to joining IBM, he spent more than 15 years with several international software companies as a product manager, marketing executive, and consultant for financial accounting and business intelligence software. He has published several books and well over 130 articles about business analytics.

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Why continuous forecasting is more enjoyable

The case for continuous forecasting

Time for a confession. I really hated forecasting back in my old job. Kind of crazy since I was working with clients on improving their planning, budgeting & forecasting processes. Yet, I absolutely hated doing my own forecast. What was wrong? First of all, the template was terrible. Way too much detail. It took me hours to get it done. Luckily, I only had to do this 2-4 times per year. But that was also part of the issue. Every time I received the updated template I had to start from scratch and enter a ton of data. Also, I had to re-orient myself and figure out how the template worked this time. And then there was the reconciliation between my project plans and the prior forecast. To sum it up: The ramp-up time was simply too long. It was awful. But there is a better approach: Continuous forecasting

Fire-drill

Indeed, the typical process for updating, distributing, collecting and aggregating forecasting templates can take up to a few weeks in many companies. Part of the issue is that the forecast templates are often unavailable to the user community. Analyst need to maintain and update hundreds of spreadsheet templates between forecasts (formula fixes, structural changes, data loads). The process looks something like this:

Traditional Forecasting Process

The traditional spreadsheet-driven process

At the start of a forecast cycle, templates are distributed. Many business people feel overwhelmed at that point. Starting from scratch is always tough. You have to orient yourself, your have to build numbers up etc.. As a result, business people feel that forecasting resembles a fire-drill.

Forecasting software

But there is a much better approach that many of my clients have implemented. Modern planning & forecasting software allows us to keep our forecasting templates online nearly 24*7. Forecasting software like IBM Cognos TM1 automates and significantly enhances all those manual tasks such as formula fixes, data loads, aggregations, etc.. Overall maintenance is a lot easier and the templates can be online allowing the users to work with their forecast data around the clock. Forecasters can therefore perform quick incremental changes to their forecast instead of performing time-consuming, infrequent larger data input exercises. But what is the advantage of doing that? Very simple: Incremental effort is always easier and faster than ramp-up tasks. Think about your personal life: If you spend ten minutes per day cleaning up for desk or office, everything will be in good shape. But if you let things slip for a week or two, cleaning up suddenly becomes a daunting task. This is what the process can look like:

Continuous Forecasting

The continuous forecasting process

Continuous Forecasting

Does this work? Absolutely. I have experienced this myself. After every client visit, I spent a few minutes updating my forecast. A lot of my clients have implemented this approach. Clients typically experience three main advantages:

  • The more often you work with a system the more comfortable you become. Users tremendously benefit from that. Their efficiency increases.
  • The actual forecast process is a lot faster for the business users. Finance is able to reduce cycle-time.
  • Forecasts tend to be more complete. In the case of an urgent ad-hoc forecast (imagine something critical happened), the business is able to compile a near complete forecast in within a short period of time.

But the Finance department now has to carefully manage this process and clearly communicate timelines and expectations to the business. Submission deadlines need to be crystal clear.

Let me clarify one last thing: A continuous process does NOT mean I can simply aggregate my data every night and obtain an updated forecast. No, I need to communicate to the business WHEN I need the data. But due to the 99% availability I can collect my data very quickly.

Continuous forecasting can be a powerful approach! Would love to hear your thoughts and experiences. Good or bad. If you are interested in this topic, why don’t you join of our Rolling Forecast workshops or IBM Finance Forum?

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The other side of Cognos Insight – A powerful planning client for TM1 (Guestpost)

Cognos Insight and TM1

There is a lot of buzz about Cognos Insight. It is a great tool for analyzing and discovering data. There is also the ability to perform powerful what-if analysis through the use of write-back capabilities. But Cognos Insight is actually more than just a personal desktop analytics tool. You can use it to create visually appealing planning applications for IBM Cognos TM1.

An awesome planning client

Many business users literally hate the mandatory planning, budgeting and forecasting processes. Part of the issue are the cumbersome spreadsheet templates. Cognos Insight provides a radically new approach. You can develop visually appealing applications that connect directly to your TM1 model. Here are some of the great things you can do with Cognos Insight:

  • Create detailed instructions for the planning or forecasting process
  • Instructions can include images and hyperlinks
  • Automate process steps by including action buttons
  • Provide additional planning context by including dashboards that connect to your Cognos 10 models

To do that, you simply have to connect Cognos Insight to the workflow of a specific TM1 planning application.

Cognos Insight and TM1

Let’s take a look at a simple example – a sales forecasting model. It is a well-known best practice to include specific instructions in a planning template. That helps the business understand the model and to identify specific tasks that they need to focus on. Cognos Insight allows you to insert text boxes, images and hyperlinks. Action buttons make it easy for casual users to jump between different planning pages and cubes. The result is a clean-looking set of pages.

Cognos Insight TM1

Planning and forecasting should go hand-in-hand with analysis. Cognos Insight allows you to include dashboards and reports from your Cognos 10 or TM1 environment. This makes it very easy and pleasant for the business people:

Cognos Insight Dashboard

You can finally also include traffic lights and real-time charts right in your actual planning application. This provides users with instantaneous & visual feedback. We all know that a picture says more than a thousand words, right?

Cognos Insight TM1

Last but not least, you can also leverage great short-cuts for entering data.

Cognos Insight & TM1

Cognos Insight is much more than just a personal analytics tool. Using it as a client for TM1-based planning or forecasting models offers up some fantastic opportunities. Business users love the visual and interactive applications you can build. Is it hard to create these applications? No, not really. All it takes is drag and drop.

Paul BremhorstAbout our guest blogger – Paul Bremhorst

Paul is currently working as a Solution Architect for the IBM Business Analytics Product Marketing team. He joined Cognos as a BI Consultant in 2007 from a background of developing sales reports in the banking and finance sector. He lives in beautiful Stuttgart, Germany and loves to ride his motorcycle.

 

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The reputation of business forecasting is not positive – Time for change!

Business Forecasting

The budgeting and business forecasting processes often have a poor reputation in many companies. Part of the issue is that the people involved in the process do not see a lot of value in it. Last year in November, two of my colleagues and I conducted a survey amongst 162 senior finance professionals in the UK.  One section of the short questionnaire focused on the value and the perception of the business forecasting process.

Good is the enemy of great

The survey asked finance professionals two different questions:

  • How do you rate the value that you get out of the forecasting process?
  • How does the business rate the value they get out of the forecasting process?

Here is what we found:

Business Forecasting

Business Forecasting: Low satisfaction & value

The results are sad – not necessarily surprising, though. Only 37% of the finance people rate the value they receive from the forecast process as good or outstanding. The rest feel it is just adequate or poor. It gets worse when we look at the business users. Less than 27% feel they receive good value.

Some people might be tempted to say that the results are not that bad. Be careful, though. Business forecasting is a critical process in turbulent times. And it is time-consuming in many organizations. We should therefore not be satisfied with ‘adequate’ or ‘poor’. Imagine we would apply the same standard to our personal life? It would be a very sad life, indeed. Or think about professional athletes – they would not put up with ‘adequate’ materials or training plans. That would put them in the lower performance bracket.

Time for change

Take a look at your business forecasting processes. How satisfied is finance? What about the business? We should not accept ‘adequate’ or ‘poor’ for an answer. The stakes are too high. And we should not waste our valuable time managing low-value processes.

It’s time for change! In one of the upcoming posts,  I will write about some of the reasons that lead to the poor perception of the business forecasting processes. In the meantime, you can find ideas for improving your processes on this blog. Alternatively, pick up the fantastic book Future Ready: How to Master Business Forecasting. The authors Steve Player and Steve Morlidge have done a fine job of providing insightful best practices.

Remember the words of management researcher Jim Collins: “Good is the enemy of great.”

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