When it comes to businesses who aspire to improve their corporate financial planning within a more data-driven decision-making culture, the key may be to widen the brain trust involved.
At least that’s the recommendation of Ben Lamorte, senior manager of customer excellence at financial management software vendor Adaptive Planning, who suggests financial planning decision makers need to collaborate with and involve operations managers throughout the corporate financial planning process.
How to undertake and achieve such an objective might not be completely obvious. How do your financial leaders involve the right operations managers to the right extent, at the right time, to drive more efficient planning?
Get operations on board. They key is to integrate the broad organization view of executives with the perspective of managers who see the day-to-day picture. So who to recruit? Find respected managers who are tech-savvy and comfortable with applications. Lamont says training should be accessible and accomplishments recognized to foster enthusiasm.
Implement customized driver-based plans with operations. The goal is to create integrated driver-based plans that emerge organically. With the help of the operations teams, start by asking department-level leaders what decisions the model should inform, suggests Lamont, starting with one department. This collaborative focus on target decisions will also support finance and operations leaders to collectively define key performance indicators (KPIs).
All about analytics. By giving more people throughout the business more access to analytics and input into which metrics to track, it increases understanding as to what drives the company forward. Finance leaders should create dashboards utilizing visual analytics with real data to show operations managers and solicit feedback. The use of simple and tailored performance indicators is important. The key is to get insights that inform decision-making and influence department- and corporate-level goals.