Adaptability Is a Strategic Imperative for Future Success

Traditional planning practices can leave organizations poorly equipped to anticipate and respond to economic or market shifts. Learn how cloud-first modern planning software makes a big difference.

The past few years have been rife with upheaval, uncertainty—and perhaps above all, adjustments. Businesses have had to make repeated, sometimes profound alterations in revenue, demand, expense, and staffing forecasts. In a world shaken by the fallout from lockdowns and layoffs, many businesses are facing falling demand for their products and services.

Regardless of what the path through uncertainty looks like for any individual business, most finance professionals I’ve talked with understand they must define their path forward in a way that encourages and enables business agility. Traditional planning practices can leave organizations poorly equipped to anticipate and respond to economic or market shifts. Hobbled by siloed and stale data, manual and time-consuming tasks, and a view of finance as little more than the keeper of transactional data, more forward-looking organizations are eschewing traditional static planning and opting instead for a more collaborative, data-driven approach.

Modern planning is helping companies take control of their futures by giving them access to the very capabilities traditional planning lacks. These include continuous planning, companywide planning, deeper insights, and the ability to adapt and perform at scale. Other benefits include vendor-agnostic data integrations, real-time reporting, and intuitive user experiences.

When combined in a single cloud planning platform, these capabilities provide the adaptability to support an agile organization without compromise. With the ability to continually anticipate change and quickly operationalize a coordinated response at scale, organizations can stay ahead of the competition, even throughout radical instability and disruption.

Break Free From the Deficiencies of Traditional Planning

Not surprisingly, the benefits of today’s modern planning software have brought traditional planning software deficiencies into focus—and the divide between the two is widening. For example, most cloud planning software vendors haven’t quite figured out how to combine powerful modeling and ease of use—their customers have to pick one or the other. 

But, as I like to point out, with Workday Adaptive Planning, you get the best of both. 

Our built for the cloud modern planning software is flexible, intuitive, and future-ready. It’s built from the ground up with the sophistication and functionality your business needs to stay ahead of the competition, even throughout radical instability and disruption, including:

  • Deeper, actionable insights. Surface richer, timely insights through self-service reporting and analysis. Users are empowered with self-service, interactive reporting, and analysis without relying on IT for heavy coding and support. OfficeConnect enables users to create reports in Microsoft Office, bringing the rich insights from Workday Adaptive Planning into a familiar interface that can be refreshed with a single click.

  • Enterprise scalability. Workday’s out-of-the-box integration framework allows third-party enterprise resource planning, human capital management, customer relationship management systems, and other systems of record to integrate with Workday Adaptive Planning, enabling planners to access a single source of truth. And with in-memory calculations to support complex models in real time, data, reports, and dashboards immediately reflect all changes as users plan and view.

  • Flexible modeling capabilities, unlimited dimensionality. Financial planning and analysis (FP&A) teams can model in the way that makes sense for their business. They can expand their planning capabilities by connecting multiple use cases including workforce planning and operational planning.

  • Consumer-grade ease of use. An intuitive modeling experience minimizes reliance on IT and technical consultants, enabling customers to easily adapt and add use cases. Active dashboards make it easy to visualize and interact with data.

  • Short time to value. Rapid deployment and adoption accelerates the path to value. Out-of-the-box financial intelligence, including machine learning, makes creating new plans quick and painless. In addition, you can drive measurable business outcomes at every milestone as you turn on additional planning use cases.

Regardless of what recovery looks like for any individual business, most finance professionals I’ve talked with understand they must define their path forward in a way that encourages and enables business agility.

In the Words of Our Customers

This kind of comprehensive functionality is why more than 6,000 customers—including KeyBank, Apex Capital, H&R Block, and Reily Foods—have selected Workday Adaptive Planning. It uniquely combines an intuitive user experience with the scalability and agility to support the power to adapt, all in a single, unified platform.

“Before Workday, we utilized numerous different systems,” said Joseph Huffman, senior vice president and-finance director (management reporting and profitability) at KeyBank, one of the top 25 banks in the U.S. “And it felt disjointed. Oftentimes, we ran into situations where we would try to get one answer. And it would be a different number in different systems. With Workday Adaptive Planning, the whole one version of the truth was something that was very appealing to us, and the idea of getting onto one platform and one platform for our general ledger, for our management reporting and eventually our adaptive planning and forecasting as well.”

For Apex Capital, the capability to not only plan but also execute and analyze in real time was a game changer. “Workday Adaptive Planning has united our organization with a single source for planning,” said Ashley Stone, financial planning and analysis manager at Apex Capital. “We’re able to seamlessly integrate financial and workforce data from Workday Financial Management and Workday Human Capital Management into our plans, giving us an accurate, real-time view of our business. This has been a game changer for our team and the value they deliver to the business at large.”

More Innovation to Come

Moving forward, we are making significant investments to support our product strategy in these four areas.  

Machine learning (ML). Workday Adaptive Planning will include ML Forecaster, which automatically generates a comprehensive and accurate forecast by allowing users to incorporate historical or third-party data, such as weather data or labor statistics. ML recommendations surface as you go through your planning process in Workday Adaptive Planning, not in a separate application.

Continued investments in enabling companywide planning. We are reimagining the user experience for planning personas outside of traditional FP&A to enable more business users to engage in the planning process. Each business unit will have its own planning environment while preserving the ability to bring all the pieces together into a holistic plan.

A centralized home for modeling and data. We are investing in Planning Center, which is a central repository for both planning models and data across the entire organization. Planning Center will allow dimensions, formulas, and models to be created once and shared across the organization, so planners in different business units don’t have to debate on numbers. 

Scale and performance. We have customers with plans that cut across hundreds of dimensions and 100,000 levels or planning entities. But we know the work of scale and performance is never complete. Workday has five patents approved and in force for Elastic Hypercube Technology and nine patents pending to ensure the scale and performance needs of even the largest enterprises. 

The modern planning practices I’ve detailed here are a guide for businesses to chart their futures in an ever-changing world. Agility is now more important than ever, and companies must embrace a new model or risk being left behind.

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