Carlson Thought Leadership in Finance & Technology

Adaptive Insights Shares the Principles of Active Planning in Plan to Win: Achieving business agility in the age of urgency

August 29, 2019 / by Lauren Strohmeier

CUsersa1015786OneDrive - Alight SolutionsDocumentsPlan to Win - Achieving business agility in the age of urgencyFrom the automobile to Apollo 11 and other transformative innovations, the world’s great discoveries and achievements were set in motion through a sequence of actions. What are the elements of progress? In the highly-acclaimed book, Plan to Win: Achieving business agility in the age of urgency, you explore the way humans make their aspirations happen through active planning.

Adaptive Insights, the business planning software, released the book to empower people to do their best work. When people plan ahead, they help organizations stay ahead. Within its pages, you’ll find planning best practices. You’ll also find insights from CEOs, CFOs, thought leaders, and FP&A executives, as they share the amazing opportunities active planning creates.

In today’s fast-paced and data-driven world, organizations must plan for what’s next. A roadmap for transforming business performance, the book shows the way to business agility through how-to guides, stories, quotes, and illuminating facts and figures. 

The Power of Active Planning

Listen to your data, and you’ll plan with an eye to the future. Active planning is collaborative, continuous, and comprehensive. Teams companywide analyze financial and operational information on an ongoing basis to identify connections that inform strategic decisions. 

Importantly, active planning requires technologies with specific attributes. An easy, fast, and powerful cloud-based platform that encourages companywide collaboration through an integrated suite of solutions will help you plan with purpose.

Active planning opens new possibilities for creating value. The FP&A function attains peak performance, fueling your organization with data-driven decisions. Teams are delighted by the following results: 

  • Significant revenue growth
  • Faster planning cycles
  • Effective use of spreadsheets
  • Flexible and quick scenario analysis 
  • Stronger cross-departmental collaboration
  • The ability to foresee opportunities and mitigate challenges
  • Compelling and integrated reporting that gives a holistic business view

“Companies using purpose-built planning applications report higher revenue growth rates - on average +3 to +12 percentage points - when compared to similarly sized peers who rely on just Excel. Further, those same companies are also better able to manage the complexities of adding scale in the form of faster hiring - supporting headcount growth plans +2x their peers.” -Lauren Kelly (OPEXEngine, Software and SaaS benchmarking)

Finance Leads the Way

As you dive into the book, you find out why this proven discipline, where planning, execution, measurement, and adjustment come together, is important for making better decisions.

Additionally, the book emphasizes that finance needs to lead the transformation. Because it impacts many operational activities, it’s a fitting catalyst for active planning. The central role of finance makes it ideally suited to bring increased efficiency to other departments. 

“Our executive leadership team has spent more time collaborating, brainstorming, and adding value to our budget and planning process. Prior to that, finance was spending more time entering data, and not reviewing and analyzing the data. The executive team and the board now really rely upon the finance team for important data and direction to make important decisions.” -Kevin Murphy (Senior Vice President of Finance, Hospitality Staffing Solutions)

Active Planning in Action

How can your organization make the most of active planning? The book specifies how you can get everyone on board to drive transformation together. It reveals why developing meaningful KPIs strengthens goal setting. It also shares a key message: The best planning involves the people closest to the business, like financial analysts, salespeople, and other frontliners. They have visibility into the business that brings perspective to the process. 

With each chapter, you learn how to activate active planning systems, processes, and teams in a way that accelerates growth and profitability.

“As Andy Grove observed ‘People in the trenches are usually in touch with impending changes early. Salespeople understand shifting customer demands before management does; financial analysts are the earliest to know when the fundamentals of a business change.”’ -John Doerr (Measure What Matters: How Google, Bono, and the Gates Foundation Rock the World with OKRs)

Everybody Plans

When everybody plans, that collaboration fuels the planning journey. Teams throughout the organization are engaged to advance the enterprise. Finance, the CEO and board, sales, marketing, operations, and HR share information that contributes to a comprehensive and complete business analysis.

That’s why an integrated business planning platform is essential. It has prebuilt capabilities designed for teamwork and cross-functional participation. Your organization’s key business drivers - sales, marketing, and the workforce - work in harmony to achieve strategic objectives.

Learn why the following functions are an integral part of your planning:

  • Sales operations 
  • Workforce planning
  • Project planning

In the book, you’ll find out how these integrated solutions orchestrate participants in a smooth workflow coordination. You’ll also understand why it’s crucial for departments to form close partnerships that align activities and goals. 

“While active planning provides value across the whole organization, the most pronounced benefits usually emerge around your key business drivers - the capabilities and functions that actually drive the company forwards. For most organizations, that means ongoing sales and marketing activities, and the workforce itself.” (Plan to Win: Achieving business agility in the age of urgency)

The Future of Active Planning

To be at the forefront of business planning, requires being in the know on modern advances in technology. The book looks to the future of planning and how you can prepare for it. You’ll know how these developments will support agile, real-time decision-making. 

“The future of active planning isn’t just about thinking bigger - it’s about making better decisions and operationalizing them faster.” (Plan to Win: Achieving business agility in the age of urgency)

These developments will help organizations be agile. AI, for example, will make scenario planning more impactful. You’ll be able to conduct fast, flexible what-if analysis that makes it easy to guide your organization in the right direction. 

These innovations will shape the way you plan:

  • AI
  • Machine learning
  • Increased automation

The book also provides eight predictions, so you can be ready for them. As you bring active planning to your organization, you can adapt to the realities that will likely shape the future of finance.

“Agility is a Powerful Differentiator.”

Agility makes all the difference in fulfilling your aspirations. It inspires progress. Organizations that plan for what’s next will have the agility to stay ahead. Want to bring active planning to your organization? Plan to Win: Achieving business agility in the age of urgency is the guide for your planning journey. 

To discover how to become an agent of active planning, download Plan to Win: Achieving business agility in the age of urgency.


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