What a world we live in today! We can ask any question and get an answer almost instantly. The quality of that answer will vary as a function of the data the system is able to access, and the tool or logic used to determine the answer, but it’s still fascinating.
I’m of a vintage where the concept alone used to reside in the realm of science fiction. When you add the use of natural language processing—Siri and Alexa, for example—you might feel like a crew member on the Starship Enterprise (is my nerdiness showing?).
I bring up this observation because it is highly relevant to the topic of intelligent financial planning and analysis (iFP&A) and dynamic planning, a subset of iFP&A. Thanks to technological advances, we now have tools that permit us to view the entire financial picture of our organizations in a matter of seconds or minutes, rather than hours, days, or weeks.
The term dynamic planning refers to immediate, insightful analytics that permit FP&A professionals to assist in critical planning and decision-making and to share insights equally quickly. Today’s tools help effectively bridge the data, analytics, action, and capability gaps that exist in all organizations, and that enhance the ability to assist in effective decision-making, with the ultimate goal of improved enterprise performance.
Accelerating the transformation
Dynamic planning is expected to become the norm in business over the next four or five years. The advances and acceptance of edge computing (data processing near the source of the data) will help accelerate this transformation. Projections are that companies will integrate edge computing in 40% of their projects by 2021, compared to less than 1% in 2017.
Instant access to data increases the power to develop and execute strategies by enabling a clearer understanding of what is actually going on across the organization in real time. iFP&A professionals are thus better able to evaluate and set a strategic path while balancing short-term versus long-term drivers.
Supporting the “storytelling” approach
Dynamic planning can also assist with communications to key stakeholders. With a robust dashboard that follows IBCS standards and can be updated and revised on a “live” basis, the ability to explain what is occurring becomes easier and provides a larger audience a better understanding of the story. The requirement that FP&A professionals be outstanding “storytellers” becomes easier to achieve as the tools we use to explain and share become more relevant and useful.
Dynamic planning gives us the opportunity to:
- Incorporate both internal and external sources of data
- Leverage a sophisticated analytical framework
- Present reports, analyses, and insights via an interactive interface
- Connect to any device within the organization by using digital web-based tools
- Deliver fresh insights as often as the data is refreshed (ideally in real time)
By implementing dynamic planning, we can empower our FP&A executives and teams to check on major performance metrics and identify trends in real time. They can convert data into insights faster to run what-if scenarios on the fly as new data is received.
For more on this topic, read the Dynamic Planning Series.
We will be hosting several events all over the world, where we will be discussing and diving deeper into these critical issues and topics.
In addition to our Global FP&A Roundtable series, we hope to see you at Financials2018 EMEA in Prague, October 16–18.