Four Steps To Next-Generation Business Planning At Village Roadshow

Estelle Lagorce

Business planning at organizations is often characterized by a multitude of spreadsheets and lots of manual activity to bring data together from disparate sources. The result is a time-consuming exercise that is less than optimal. According to SAP research, best-in-class organizations achieve 90% forecast accuracy while the worst performers achieve only 80%.

Founded in 1954 in Melbourne, Australia with a drive-in cinema, Village Roadshow has been listed on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) since 1988. Today, Village Roadshow operates core businesses in theme parks, film and DVD distribution, cinema exhibition, film production, and marketing solutions. While creating strong and diverse earnings streams, these businesses are complementary, targeting a similar customer demographic and providing significant cross-promotional opportunities.

A four-phase approach to an ambitious project

Two years ago, the company set out on an ambitious company-wide business intelligence and sales and operational planning project. The four-phase approach was designed to transform financial planning, forecasting, and consolidation. In a webinar with SAP and EY, Michael Dayaseela, Village Roadshow’s manager of business intelligence, described how the team went about it.

In the initial two phases, the company built the technical foundation for the new solution and implemented common financial reports across the group. These were necessary first steps. While each division has its own reporting requirements, there is a need to consolidate financial information for corporate reporting.

However, the real benefits of the new solution came from the third and fourth steps – empowering each division with self-service capabilities for analytics and reporting and implementing a common financial planning, forecasting, and consolidation solution across the group.

Large-scale operational planning

Today business managers at Village Roadshow are able to perform large-scale operational planning across the entire business, as well as undertake highly detailed sales and promotional planning within each division. According to Michael, “The flexibility of the system has taken business planning and consolidation to a new level.”

For example, in its Roadshow Entertainment business, managers don’t want to launch a new DVD if it isn’t going to be profitable. With the new solution, they can now analyze various scenarios, including using social media and other external data, and instantly produce profit-and-loss reports that predict how profitable each DVD will be.

Optimized revenue and a streamlined process

The solution is not only helping the company optimize its revenue. It has also streamlined the whole process; allowed operational staff to focus on more value-added activities, rather than building and managing manually intensive spreadsheets; and improved the accuracy of forecasting.

As Scott Taylor, partner, EY Asia Pacific, said in the webinar, “Village Roadshow is one of Australia’s greatest success stories – an Australian company taking on the world. It is extremely innovative in the entertainment markets and is always looking for new ways to do things better and more efficiently.”

The new financial planning, forecasting, and consolidation solution has certainly been a resounding success.

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Estelle Lagorce

About Estelle Lagorce

Estelle Lagorce is the Director, Global Partner Marketing, at SAP. She leads the global planning, successful implementation and business impact of integrated marketing programs with top global Strategic Partner across priority regions and countries (demand generation, thought leadership).

Big Data Privacy Risks And The Role Of The GDPR: Part 2

Evelyne Salie

Part 2 of a 2-part series. Read Part 1.

The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is prompting companies to take extra efforts to guarantee the data privacy rights of its business partners, including employees, customers, vendors, and so on.

My last blog discussed the six ways Big Data analytics can threaten personal privacy as well as the two parties that are prompted to take protective actions by the GDPR: individuals and companies with customers in the EU. Individuals can distinguish the risks they are willing to take by asking themselves the following questions:

  • What data am I making publicly available, and where are the potential threats?
  • What risks can I avoid, and on which data do I have no influence?
  • Do I have any right to claim my data? Where can I make that claim?

GDPR sets a base for future development in global data protection and security. As KPMG wrote, “It is fair to say that this new legislation is the biggest and most impactful change in privacy and data protection regulation in history. This regulation came about after more than four years of deliberations and negotiations and will impact organizations worldwide.”


Changes ahead

As outlined in EY’s report EU General Data Protection Regulation in the Digital Age: Are You Ready? GDPR requires fundamental changes in how data is processed, stored, and used.

Data protection officers (DPOs)

  • DPOs must be appointed if an organization conducts large-scale systematic monitoring or processes large amounts of sensitive personal data

Accountability: Organizations must prove they are accountable by:

  • Establishing a culture of monitoring, reviewing, and assessing data processing procedures
  • Minimizing data processing and retention
  • Building in safeguards to data processing activities
  • Documenting data processing policies, procedures, and operations that must be made available to the data protection supervisory authority on request

Privacy impact assessments

  • Organizations must undertake privacy impact assessments when conducting risky or large-scale processing of personal data


  • Consumer consent to process data must be freely given and for specific purposes
  • Customers must be informed of their right to withdraw their consent
  • Consent must be “explicit” in the case of sensitive personal data or trans-border dataflow

Mandatory breach notification

  • Organizations must notify a supervisory authority of data breaches “without undue delay” or within 72 hours, unless the breach is unlikely to be a risk to individuals
  • If there is a high risk to individuals, those individuals must be informed as well

New rights

  • The right to be forgotten – the right to ask data controllers to erase all personal data without undue delay in certain circumstances
  • The right to data portability – where individuals have provided personal data to a service provider, they can require the provider to “port” the data to another provider, provided this is technically feasible

Privacy by design

  • Organizations should design data protection into the development of business processes and new systems
  • Privacy settings are set at a high level by default

Obligations on processors

  • Data processors become an officially regulated entity

Joint controllers

  • Data protection responsibility might split among several controllers


Though responsibility to protect their data does lie on every individual using Internet services (whether online shopping, banking, gaming, or social media), the new EU regulations explicitly require that companies take a more active role in data protection.

Given these changes, the role and importance of information management and governance in data privacy will be a key success factor for all organizations with EU customers.

There are solutions and services available to help you provide protection, availability, resilience, and governance for one of your most important assets – individuals’ data.

For more information, see:

This was originally published on the SAP BusinessObjects Analytics blog and is republished with permission.

Follow SAP Finance online: @SAPFinance (Twitter)|LinkedIn|Facebook|YouTube


Evelyne Salie

About Evelyne Salie

Evelyne is a highly experienced IT-Solution Principal, Business Developer and Project Manager with over 10 years IT- industry experience within the Governance Risk and Compliance and Finance area of expertise. She currently works as a Senior Director in Business Development at SAP Finance and GRC solutions. In her business development role she is working on concepts and realization for new generation of Finance solutions, running in real time, integrating predictive, Big Data, and mobile, which will change how offices of the CFO work, how the business is run, and how information is consumed.

Why Dynamic Planning And Analysis Optimizes Decisions

Birgit Starmanns

Gone are the days of a single annual planning cycle. Or at least – those days should be gone.

Planning processes have certainly evolved. Previously, many companies started their planning process in September (assuming a December fiscal year-end), and spent a large part of the fourth quarter on planning iterations. Once the plan was approved, there were few adjustments; however, a significant amount of time was spent on explaining plan/actual differences throughout the year.

As changes in the business environment began to accelerate, companies evolved to a rolling forecast. Instead of waiting until the end of the fiscal year to begin a new planning cycle, companies began to plan and adjust their budgets based on actual data that came in during a financial period, giving them a rolling 12-month forecast.

Today we need real-time planning to account for disruptive business models and sudden changes in demand. This requires organizations to act quickly to make changes to the plan, potentially moving funds due to changes in a business model, customer demand, or other factors.

Levels of planning

Every part of the organization, not just finance, must engage in planning:

  • Finance: There are many ways to plan financial information. Of course, there are balance sheets and P&L financial planning, but also management accounting planning for cost centers, internal orders, profit centers, projects, and dimensions of profitability, including logistics information such as customers, products, and regions.
  • Operations: HR plans for headcount, salary, benefits, and training costs. Sales and marketing departments estimate customer demand, plan for expenses to ensure closed deals, and evaluate product pricing. Meanwhile, manufacturing plans capacity and product mix, as well as any materials they need to procure. In the best case, sales and manufacturing planning complement each other.
  • Organizational hierarchies: Especially in large organizations, business units and subsidiaries also plan, and these plans need to roll up to the corporate level. Similar to intercompany reconciliation of actuals, cross-business adjustments may need to be made.

Integrated planning

A key challenge has always been the siloed nature of planning, both for financial planning as well as the influence of operational planning on finance. In many companies, the different types of planning are performed in a different system or spreadsheet, requiring manual consolidation. And each time there is a change, the reconciliation starts from scratch.

Enter modern finance solutions.

Instead of relying on different systems and manual processes, these solutions enable a single, consolidated view of all planning and forecasting information across all financial, operational, and organizational levels. This includes a rollup of planning information from subsidiaries into corporate planning, as well as automatically including operational plans in financial plans to measure their impact on both the financial and management controlling plans.

And since the same information is used for transactional processing – analytics as well as planning – there is no lag time, ensuring that the most up-to-date information is available at any time. Simulations, what-if analyses, and predictive capabilities allow for the modeling of all planning options.

Before and after

To see how this works, let’s take a look at the planning processes in two organizations. One company – let’s call it Mary’s Manufacturing – has many disparate planning systems, as discussed above. The other, Stephanie’s Software, has implemented a state-of-the-art finance solution. This team is not only capable of consolidating and updating planning information in real time, but can also use sophisticated dynamic planning tools to evaluate the financial impact of all strategic options available.

Consider a merger and acquisition (M&A) scenario. The finance team at Mary’s Manufacturing spends so much time in manual consolidations that they cannot possibly evaluate each M&A scenario. Instead, they must pre-select only a few options, meaning they’re not considering every scenario. On the other hand, Stephanie’s Software, using dynamic planning and predictive tools, can evaluate each and every option, even tweaking individual parameters in the model to determine the most profitable and sustainable scenario for the organization.

At Mary’s Manufacturing, the finance team spends most of their time doing manual consolidation and reconciliation of planning data. This task repeats every time a source plan changes to ensure that financial planning reflects any changes in sales, operational, and HR planning. However, with dynamic planning and forecasting capabilities, the finance team at Stephanie’s Software can add value to the organization by spending the majority of their time in analysis of all potential scenarios. The finance team thus becomes a valuable member of the executive team that can provide answers to “what if” questions immediately, even in an executive boardroom situation.

For more information about solutions that support planning processes, please visit:

Follow SAP Finance online: @SAPFinance (Twitter)  | LinkedIn | FacebookYouTube


Birgit Starmanns

About Birgit Starmanns

Birgit Starmanns is a Senior Director of Product Marketing at SAP. She is responsible for the product marketing of SAP HANA enterprise applications, with a primary focus on how technology innovations benefit a business audience.

The Future of Cybersecurity: Trust as Competitive Advantage

Justin Somaini and Dan Wellers


The cost of data breaches will reach US$2.1 trillion globally by 2019—nearly four times the cost in 2015.

Cyberattacks could cost up to $90 trillion in net global economic benefits by 2030 if cybersecurity doesn’t keep pace with growing threat levels.

Cyber insurance premiums could increase tenfold to $20 billion annually by 2025.

Cyberattacks are one of the top 10 global risks of highest concern for the next decade.

Companies are collaborating with a wider network of partners, embracing distributed systems, and meeting new demands for 24/7 operations.

But the bad guys are sharing intelligence, harnessing emerging technologies, and working round the clock as well—and companies are giving them plenty of weaknesses to exploit.

  • 33% of companies today are prepared to prevent a worst-case attack.
  • 25% treat cyber risk as a significant corporate risk.
  • 80% fail to assess their customers and suppliers for cyber risk.

The ROI of Zero Trust

Perimeter security will not be enough. As interconnectivity increases so will the adoption of zero-trust networks, which place controls around data assets and increases visibility into how they are used across the digital ecosystem.

A Layered Approach

Companies that embrace trust as a competitive advantage will build robust security on three core tenets:

  • Prevention: Evolving defensive strategies from security policies and educational approaches to access controls
  • Detection: Deploying effective systems for the timely detection and notification of intrusions
  • Reaction: Implementing incident response plans similar to those for other disaster recovery scenarios

They’ll build security into their digital ecosystems at three levels:

  1. Secure products. Security in all applications to protect data and transactions
  2. Secure operations. Hardened systems, patch management, security monitoring, end-to-end incident handling, and a comprehensive cloud-operations security framework
  3. Secure companies. A security-aware workforce, end-to-end physical security, and a thorough business continuity framework

Against Digital Armageddon

Experts warn that the worst-case scenario is a state of perpetual cybercrime and cyber warfare, vulnerable critical infrastructure, and trillions of dollars in losses. A collaborative approach will be critical to combatting this persistent global threat with implications not just for corporate and personal data but also strategy, supply chains, products, and physical operations.

Download the executive brief The Future of Cybersecurity: Trust as Competitive Advantage.



How Digital Transformation Is Rewriting Business Models

Ginger Shimp

Everybody knows someone who has a stack of 3½-inch floppies in a desk drawer “just in case we may need them someday.” While that might be amusing, the truth is that relatively few people are confident that they’re making satisfactory progress on their digital journey. The boundaries between the digital and physical worlds continue to blur — with profound implications for the way we do business. Virtually every industry and every enterprise feels the effects of this ongoing digital transformation, whether from its own initiative or due to pressure from competitors.

What is digital transformation? It’s the wholesale reimagining and reinvention of how businesses operate, enabled by today’s advanced technology. Businesses have always changed with the times, but the confluence of technologies such as mobile, cloud, social, and Big Data analytics has accelerated the pace at which today’s businesses are evolving — and the degree to which they transform the way they innovate, operate, and serve customers.

The process of digital transformation began decades ago. Think back to how word processing fundamentally changed the way we write, or how email transformed the way we communicate. However, the scale of transformation currently underway is drastically more significant, with dramatically higher stakes. For some businesses, digital transformation is a disruptive force that leaves them playing catch-up. For others, it opens to door to unparalleled opportunities.

Upending traditional business models

To understand how the businesses that embrace digital transformation can ultimately benefit, it helps to look at the changes in business models currently in process.

Some of the more prominent examples include:

  • A focus on outcome-based models — Open the door to business value to customers as determined by the outcome or impact on the customer’s business.
  • Expansion into new industries and markets — Extend the business’ reach virtually anywhere — beyond strictly defined customer demographics, physical locations, and traditional market segments.
  • Pervasive digitization of products and services — Accelerate the way products and services are conceived, designed, and delivered with no barriers between customers and the businesses that serve them.
  • Ecosystem competition — Create a more compelling value proposition in new markets through connections with other companies to enhance the value available to the customer.
  • Access a shared economy — Realize more value from underutilized sources by extending access to other business entities and customers — with the ability to access the resources of others.
  • Realize value from digital platforms — Monetize the inherent, previously untapped value of customer relationships to improve customer experiences, collaborate more effectively with partners, and drive ongoing innovation in products and services,

In other words, the time-tested assumptions about how to identify customers, develop and market products and services, and manage organizations may no longer apply. Every aspect of business operations — from forecasting demand to sourcing materials to recruiting and training staff to balancing the books — is subject to this wave of reinvention.

The question is not if, but when

These new models aren’t predictions of what could happen. They’re already realities for innovative, fast-moving companies across the globe. In this environment, playing the role of late adopter can put a business at a serious disadvantage. Ready or not, digital transformation is coming — and it’s coming fast.

Is your company ready for this sea of change in business models? At SAP, we’ve helped thousands of organizations embrace digital transformation — and turn the threat of disruption into new opportunities for innovation and growth. We’d relish the opportunity to do the same for you. Our Digital Readiness Assessment can help you see where you are in the journey and map out the next steps you’ll need to take.

Up next I’ll discuss the impact of digital transformation on processes and work. Until then, you can read more on how digital transformation is impacting your industry.


Ginger Shimp

About Ginger Shimp

With more than 20 years’ experience in marketing, Ginger Shimp has been with SAP since 2004. She has won numerous awards and honors at SAP, including being designated “Top Talent” for two consecutive years. Not only is she a Professional Certified Marketer with the American Marketing Association, but she's also earned her Connoisseur's Certificate in California Reds from the Chicago Wine School. She holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of San Francisco, and an MBA in marketing and managerial economics from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University. Personally, Ginger is the proud mother of a precocious son and happy wife of one of YouTube's 10 EDU Gurus, Ed Shimp.