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Connected Planning: Integrated Business Planning Across the Enterprise

During Argano’s inaugural Digital Foundations Days, a recurring event in partnership with Oracle on enterprise modernization, Oracle Vice President for EPM Product Management Marc Seewald and Argano Chief Performance Officer (and longtime EPM expert) Edward Roske teamed up for a discussion on connected planning and its benefits.

Seewald talked about modernization within the office of FP&A, and how you’re not done when the plan is done. You also spend time preparing your management report and a presentation to executives and stakeholders. This means you’re not just pulling together numbers but also developing the narrative to accompany them. He noted that it is crucial to integrate connected planning and management reporting into one process. Also, the amount of data FP&A works with is going to continue to expand, and—as the ability to expand headcount won’t keep pace—technology is needed to provide automation and surface insights to help leaders better understand data and develop plans. Seewald sees an effective EPM platform as one that connects assumptions between operational plans and financial plans. Operational planning tends to be more where the leading indicators of the business are. Typically, you’re going to see patterns or anomalies pop up on the operational side of the business before they surface on the revenue side.

Roske discussed how connected planning is best accomplished—with the systems connected from the beginning, and the functionality turned on or used as needed. He also emphasized how a major trend within enterprise performance management has been the increased use of scenario modeling, including in the areas of financial, operational, product, and sales plans, with some of the questions impacting models noted below:

  • Do we have the clients, the pipeline, the products, and the services to hit those revenue numbers?
  • Do we have the people to make this happen?
  • Do we have the capacity in our manufacturing centers?
  • Do we have the liquidity to make sure this occurs?
  • What if a product takes off more than expected?
  • What if the geographic mix changes?
  • What if the demand changes?
  • What if the supply chain has a bottleneck?

The point is that we can’t wait for those things to happen and then react to it from an EPM standpoint, we must plan for it, take all that information, and share it across the organization. In a perfect organization, this becomes a flywheel—spinning faster and faster—so we can get a clearer view of the future. The more visibility you have into where we’re going, the more you can affect it.

Seewald closed the session by stating that connected planning doesn’t have to be done all at once, you can bite off what you need, focusing on the areas that are most important to your business. Also, he noted how Oracle strives to provide a platform for EPM success, an architecture to enable connected planning. In many cases, the exact capability a company needs can be provided right out of the box, or if more specific capabilities are needed, the solution can be tailored with a help of a partner, such as Argano providing the right expertise.

If you want to hear more on connected planning or other breakout sessions at Digital Foundations Days, check out the recordings or read this overview blog post.

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