Bridging the Gap
The good news is many of our customers have already bridged the acceleration gap. One of the critical shifts they made was moving from:
Finance and financial-centric planning to company-wide planning.
Annual planning to continuous planning, with plans that are always current.
Point-in-time strategy that quickly became obsolete in the face of change to continuous recalibration where adjustments are made rapidly.
To maintain speed, these businesses are adopting a continuous planning process enabled through rolling forecasts and what-if scenarios. They’re also creating multiple what-if scenarios for not only operational planning but workforce, sales, and demand planning on our flexible modeling platform.
Continuous Recalibration Puts Plans Into Action
There is, however, a need to go beyond continuous planning to an agile process that allows companies to dynamically create plans, execute on that plan, analyze the results, and then replan as conditions change. By continuously recalibrating, you can drive continuous improvement in a virtuous cycle:
Understanding how you are performing and taking action (analyze).
Connecting this analysis to inform your plans (plan).
And collaborating and carrying out the plans (execute).
Forward-thinking CFOs are already on board with continuous recalibration. For a majority of financial leaders, expanding their ability to continuously recalibrate their planning and reporting processes is a key part of their mission to improve their business agility. Even before the pandemic, companies began exploring continuous versus annual planning, with the aim of being more nimble than annual plans could ever allow. That’s because a continuous planning process provides finance teams with both the insight and the ability they need to respond quickly and effectively to real-world market and operating conditions as they shift.
Outdated ERPs Broaden the Gap
To continuously recalibrate, however, you must have a single source of truth—what Workday calls the intelligent data core—with high-quality, detailed, accurate, and timely data. Acquiring this intelligent data core means you will no longer be burdened with a legacy enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. That's because the old-world ERP model is backward-looking, focusing on analyzing what happened long after the fact. It relies on siloed, outdated data and calcified processes that don't reflect an organization's current needs. And too often, companies make the mistake of porting their old ERP system to the cloud, which doesn't deliver any of the benefits of a true, cloud-native system. Sticking with a legacy system will likely broaden the acceleration gap rather than bridge it.
Even organizations that use a modern, cloud-based planning solution to forecast, budget, and model what-if scenarios can have the full potential and return on investment of their planning investments blunted by largely manual and inflexible legacy ERP systems. A lack of dimensionality—of the context and granularity surrounding the data—results in a lack of insight. And latent access to data can hamstring efforts to establish an environment of continuous planning and recalibration.
Faster Plan-Execute-Analyze Cycles
This is where a modern, unified, enterprise cloud environment enters the picture. The Workday enterprise management cloud, for instance, brings finance, spend management, HR, planning, and analytics together, all in a single system. And it’s the backbone of digital acceleration for high-metabolic organizations—those businesses that recognize that they must run at a new speed.
With this modern enterprise management cloud, your teams can continuously recalibrate as changes arise, with a single system on which to plan, execute, and analyze every aspect of your business. Continuous planning allows you to anticipate multiple scenarios as rapid change happens. Those plans turn straight into action, aligning people and resources to drive the best outcomes. And machine-learning-fueled analytics spot when you need to course-correct and what to plan for next, so you stay ahead of the accelerating pace of change.