The planning space is on the cusp of major transformation. The last time we saw this type of shift was with the introduction of spreadsheets, which automated business planning.
Now we’re seeing a fundamental shift in the planning process—from the impact of the cloud, machine learning, and artificial intelligence to the ability to automate planning, benchmarking, and decisioning processes. Ten years from now I’m convinced that we’ll remove the remaining manual, tedious work that’s part of business planning today.
In that timeframe, I also believe we’ll have the artificial intelligence to assess plans and their associated risks. For example, when my plan is created and my team has reviewed it, we should be able to run it through a risk meter and say, “Hey, is this a 75 percent probability plan or a 25 percent probability plan?” And we’ll get a prediction and an explanation.
The final piece is potentially being able to generate workflows from the planning system. A headcount requisition, for example, might be dependent on spending triggers. The spending is in the plan, but the organization isn’t going to commit to the spending until reaching a certain trigger or threshold. In the future, that might be automated as well.