Think about those companies that perform well in every business environment. What are they doing that others aren’t?
More than likely, their financial planning is shaped by factors beyond internal performance metrics. They pay attention to external influences like industry trends, consumer sentiment, regional employment levels, and corporate spending on manufacturing or services. Then they build forecasts that incorporate this external data on top of their internal metrics.
The really successful companies, however, ensure plans also reflect the input of stakeholders from across their business. And they make those stakeholders active, collaborative participants in a continuous planning environment.
That’s what it takes to forecast the future in a real-time world.
Join Tidemark and CFO.com on Jan. 27 for a complimentary webcast that demonstrates how collaborative planning is helping Cerner, a leader in healthcare software, create a more agile and competitive organization. “New Methodologies Finance Leaders are Implementing to Achieve Enterprise-Wide Collaborative Planning” combines helpful best practices with the real-world experience of Kimberly Gerard, senior director of financial planning & analysis (FP&A) at Cerner. On this one-hour webinar I will also weigh in on the top reasons why organizations need real-time collaboration to keep up with today’s business speed. Participants who attend will also be eligible for a continuing professional education (CPE) credit. Register to learn:
- How establishing a collaborative and comprehensive approach to planning enables an organization to identify opportunities and risks it might otherwise miss
- How you can seek guidance from a variety of departments within your organizations to inform your planning processes
- How you can lead your organization in planning for the future
For a sneak peek at Cerner’s experience, check out this excerpt from the Harvard Business Review research report, “Transformational Journeys: Modern Business Planning.” It’s the product of extensive independent research and numerous detailed interviews. (We partnered with HBR to give them access to some companies that have implemented Tidemark to transform their FP&A processes.) Read HBR’s summary of Cerner’s FP&A transformation with Tidemark below, then download the full paper here.
Spreadsheet-based financial planning was no longer scalable for Cerner Corp. It was bad enough that the finance team for the healthcare software company had to spend inordinate amounts of time collecting data from decentralized sources, but there was no good audit trail either. The real killer, though, says Kimberly Gerard, Cerner’s senior director for financial planning and analysis, was that there was no platform at the company that would allow 50 or 60 people from across the enterprise to work together on those forecasts. “Also, once we had our view in place,” she says, “we couldn’t pivot on it, drill down to details, or change it quickly.”
In 2013, Gerard oversaw the implementation of a cloud-based FP&A system and began to work on jettisoning the spreadsheets. She chose a cloud-based system in part because she knew that her IT team had its hands full with its existing workload, and a cloud solution promised easy implementation. “I started reading about a cloud-based approach that would enable us to do a lot of self-service and leverage IT resources very little,” she says. “I also was attracted to the constant upgrades happening in a cloud-based environment.”
Gerard wanted a system that delivered a positive end-user experience, so that even finance employees who didn’t know the ins and outs of the system “would be able to go in and get stuff done.” That’s what happened, she says, after giving employees just 60 to 90 minutes of training. She also liked that even as the system enabled collaboration, it remained secure, so that users couldn’t go in and edit someone else’s plan without authorization.
The system has delivered as promised so far, Gerard says. “Number one, it has reduced the time required for users to provide their plan inputs,” she says. “Number two, it has improved accuracy. When you’re working in Excel it’s easy to make mistakes, and there are no controls over it. Number three, it’s allowing us to do faster analysis since all the additions and changes are stored as discrete data elements within a larger database. You can break your data down in many different ways. You can analyze it by region, by business model, and by quarter, and also compare among multiple scenarios and versions. With a static Excel financial planning template, we weren’t able to do that.” Cerner is using the cloud-based system for core annual planning activities and plans to embrace quarterly forecasting as well as other planning across the enterprise soon.
Register for the webcast today and learn how collaborative planning could help you lead your own transformation.
Tidemark and CFO.com Webcast
New Methodologies Finance Leaders are Implementing to Achieve Enterprise-Wide Collaborative Planning
Tuesday, Jan. 27
11 AM to 12 AM ET