3 Ways Technology is Revolutionizing Collaborative Planning

If planning becomes a shared responsibility across departments, chances are it’ll be a more accurate and credible reflection of the business.

Traditional planning strategies that make use of meticulous planning and top to bottom control structures were once the norm. But we’ve come to see that, given the myriad of ongoing changes, this is no longer the best way to plan. This method is susceptible to failure given the frequent emergence of concerns that businesses fail to plan for or handle.

Along these lines, a recent survey on why small businesses need budgets stated that 37%, or more than one-third of small businesses, spent more than what they budgeted in the first quarter of 2018.

37%, or more than one-third of small businesses, spent more than what they budgeted in the first quarter of 2018.

Modern technology comes with the ability and need to shift planning towards a more social approach that infuses sociability, interaction, and collaboration within the efforts of a company.

Since this aims to take over the traditional ways of work, there are those who fear it. But people are bound to realize that technology, like bots for example, makes work easier. Its integration should be considered in varying areas of work, including planning.

Below are some of the ways technology can revolutionize the way we plan.

How has planning traditionally been conducted?

Most companies currently implement traditional planning processes. This typically involves one individual in charge giving a team their orders.

Given modern capabilities this style has become counter-productive since it puts the burden on the person in charge and oftentimes makes team members indifferent or unmotivated.

Why Plan Collaboratively?

1. Collaborating for Success

All business areas (sales, marketing, strategy, procurement) are planning and forecasting to a certain extent every day. If Finance makes assumptions for them, as opposed to with them, chances are that mistakes will arise.

Given present-day technologies, tools and processes within planning should be shared. Collaborative, lateral thinking across departments within planning can help produce more rounded and accurate budgets and forecasts.

Technologies can now be used to ensure transparency of plans for all stakeholders involved in a project. For example, budgeting software connects everyone involved in a project by creating a singular source of information that everybody can access anytime they need to.

Collaboration between Finance and the rest of the business 
is imperative in PBF.
— Nick Mountcastle, Director, KPMG Financial Management

2. Perfecting the Imperfect Plan

Anyone who has ever handled or participated in a project knows that there is no such thing as a perfect plan. This was the aim of the traditional way of planning, which ultimately made the process very rigid and time-consuming.

The new collaborative planning method reorients this approach by running the planning and execution of projects alongside each other, and with constant evaluation. This translates to constant involvement of all players in the planning process and creates transparency, clarity, and improved productivity. Such a system allows for the flexibility that is needed to achieve organizational goals.

Technology can now create an active planning process, making it as continuous, comprehensive and collaborative as the company needs it to be. It also gives users the speed needed to continuously plan with the use of all organizational data. This sort of feature can cut the planning cycle period by 82%. Such flexibility is appreciated, particularly when you’re looking to survive budget season.

3. Sparking Social Potential with Technology

Technology makes is easier to unleash the social potential of planning. Planning technologies allow employees to coordinate, communicate, and collectively stay on top of their processes.

When selecting technologies, it’s important to make the right pick for your business. For example, determining your specific requirements is key when choosing the right budgeting software to suit your business.

The Finance function (and the wider enterprise) needs to better understand the opportunities presented by new planning, budgeting and forecasting tools coming to market.

Breaking the Barriers

The collaborative approach in handling projects is a big departure from the traditional method that companies are used to implementing. Such a method could change the way processes are structured,which may be why some companies are hesitant to try it.

However, with the right tools to support these changes your company stands to benefit from the ease, flexibility, and sociability of collaborative planning. These far outweigh the fears or doubts that hold your company back from reaching its fullest potential.

With today’s technology, large enterprises are no longer the only ones to benefit from available tools as there are even small business accounting tools made available from startups to SMBs.

Organizations need to recognize the opportunities presented by new planning, budgeting and forecasting tools. Adopting these tools can result in greater value creation and goal achievement.

Currently most organizations have Finance spending the most time on budgeting and forecasting. Should this become a shared responsibility across departments, chances are that planning will be a more accurate and credible reflection of the business.