Workday Podcast: The Power of Planning in Today’s Businesses

Ethan Carlson, vice president at Alight Solutions, discusses the strong correlation between continuous planning and business agility, how technology enables planning, and why organizations are empowering people beyond the finance team with planning capabilities.

Mary Hayes Weier September 11, 2020
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In today’s unpredictable world, business planning is a necessity. And its value is expanding beyond its original purpose of financial planning and analysis to include other critical areas of the business, such as workforce planning.

I sat down with Ethan Carlson, who is an expert on business planning, to learn more and share his insights with others via the Workday Podcast. Carlson is vice president at Alight Solutions, where he runs the global planning practice. Carlson discussed the strong correlation between continuous planning and business agility, how technology enables planning, and why organizations are empowering people beyond the finance team with planning capabilities.

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Some highlights of our conversation below, edited for clarity. You can find our other Workday Podcasts here.

  • “If you don’t have a plan, then you're making spur-of-the-moment decisions. As we look through our lives, we’ve made better decisions when we thought things through. Business planning is about looking forward and thinking, ‘What could come, and how do we react?’”

  • “AI coming into finance is a big topic; it's an enabling technology. There are routine tasks it's able to now assist with. The system can be constantly flagging transactions that don't make sense. So I think we're going to first see the benefit of AI in helping organizations transact more efficiently.” 

  • “If you've got a five-person FP&A team, and they spend all their time sending out monthly reports or doing manual activity, and then you flip it around and instead put data self-service into the business's hands, you’ll see how FP&A is able to shift and focus their time on answering interesting questions.” 

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