5 features you need from an integrated planning solution

Feb 3, 2023

With the increased uncertainty driven by inflation, the cost of living crisis, the war in Ukraine and  political uncertainty, it is imperative to be able to plan effectively. The ability to pivot, based on external factors, and make rapid adjustments is something all businesses must aim to achieve.

There are solutions on the market that allow businesses to plan; not just by the finance team, but extending the planning process across the business.

Still driven by the finance team, there is a desire to take the crucial elements of Financial Planning & Analysis and extend those principles, driving integration throughout the business.

What are the key features to look for in a planning solution? It is a crowded market, and it is important to identify the challenges businesses are looking to address.

HAYNE has discussed five elements we consider to be imperative when selecting the right planning tool and how each of these addresses common challenges.

System integration

The challenge organisations often face is that different areas of the business work with disparate systems. This means it is increasingly difficult to achieve a ‘single version of the truth’. Typically we find that one of the most difficult numbers for the entire business to agree is revenue! A fit-for-purpose planning tool will integrate with the necessary systems including ETL tools, CRM systems, and any other system an organisation uses to gather and input data. A fit-for-purpose solution will natively integrate and import the building blocks for a robust financial plan.

A common system integration is with Microsoft Office. These products are used universally throughout business. Office should be used as a reporting tool, but can also be used for small data uploads where larger direct interfaces aren’t required.

Working with a business-wide platform will often have a positive impact on company culture as it encourages collaborative, informed decisions and with common skills across teams.

Audit trail and workflow

From the moment a user logs in, to the moment they log out, their journey should be tracked. An effective audit trail captures a detailed log of any changes. Audit trail data should be easily consumed from a single report. The audit trail creates accountability and governance for all aspects of planning and improves visibility across the organisation.

Alongside an audit trail comes a effective workflow. Users can create task lists, task status updates, and approval processes, leading to improved planning efficiency. Customised workflows are especially relevant to planning. Different departments will have distinct processes which contribute to the overall plan and therefore the ability to tailor workflows to individuals or teams is paramount.

An effective audit trail and workflow not only puts ease of use in the hands of the user, it puts accountability and governance in the hands of the administrator.

View data in real-time

Plans are consistently evolving. There needs to be the ability to treat the plan as a rolling, live update. A fit-for-purpose solution should have the ability to update figures at the click of a button. Circling back to the ‘single version of the truth’ concept, plans can be reported and consolidated instantly. If circumstances were to change, whether that be due to internal or external reasoning, plans will automatically re-calculate. Purely from a financial point of view, a dynamic, real-time solution will refresh to instantly show actuals and their impact, whether this is scheduled or with the click of a button.

AI capabilities

With rapid changes possible at any time, the opportunity to leverage Artificial Intelligence becomes more relevant. Currently, AI and Machine Learning are two fast growing trends, and with good reason. The ability to utilise AI for planning to simulate the effects of market events on KPIs, and the capability to review plans before releasing them is vital. This benefits strategic, operational, and financial plans. Harnessing the power of AI is crucial for success in a highly competitive and changing marketplace.

Rolling forecasts

Another feature that drives future strategy is the incorporation of a rolling forecast. This will extend planning and allows forecasts to be produced more frequently, more easily. With uncertainty and market volatility comes the need to adjust costs and alter revenue targets to produce projections with greater accuracy and frequency. Utilising existing data to help predict aspects of business performance throughout the year with greater clarity and focus allows organisations to pivot.

CCH Tagetik for Integrated Business Planning

CCH Tagetik for Integrated Business Planning is a comprehensive platform for strategic, financial, sales, supply chain, and operational planning. By positioning teams within the organisation to work from one set of numbers, the CCH Tagetik solution provides greater resilience and accountability across the organisation.

This integrated approach to planning is essentially the next step up from xP&A, allowing organisations to align performance goals and financial targets across the entire business. CCH Tagetik Integrated Planning breaks down silioes between teams including finance, sales, supply chain, and operations.

The CCH Tagetik solution contains all of the features and functionality organisations required to effectively plan. These elements enable users to plan for the unexpected, arising from external market events. CCH Tagetik can be used to model scenarios, variances, and business drivers. The solution can then be updated, reforecast, and adjusted to accomodate all impacted plans, financial statements, and budgets. This means that every department and every plan works toward an outcome that benefits all facets of the business. The solution gives contributors inter-plan collaboration tools, a single source of approved data, and a process workflow that keeps all plans on track.

The CCH Tagetik solution encourages collaboration across organisations and eliminates the challenges presented when different parts of the business use disparate systems that do not communicate with one another.

The CCH Tagetik model allows organisations to add functional processes as and when required. For example, if an organisation requires a consolidation solution, CCH Tagetik consolidation can easily work with Integrated Business Planning.

Positioned as a Leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant, CCH Tagetik is proven to deliver measurable benefits for businesses.

HAYNE is a trusted UK CCH® Tagetik Partner with a proven track record in delivering best-in-class solutions.

The combination of the HAYNE focus and the strength of CCH® Tagetik has delivered results for our clients time and time again. We are certified CCH® Tagetik developers and can support you with the planning, training, and implementation of the CCH Tagetik solution.

HAYNE has worked closely with CCH Tagetik for many years, both as a a support-providing software partner and as an implementation partner.

HAYNE is a lifecycle partner for all your Corporate & Financial Performance Management needs including Close & Consolidation, Budgeting, Planning, Account Reconciliation, Disclosure Management, IFRS 16, Business Intelligence, and ESG reporting.

Contact us today to find out more.

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