When it comes to agile planning and forecasting, seconds count

Author: Malcolm Brock


Since I last wrote, there have again been unexpected major events that introduce even more turmoil into our already unpredictable lives. Until the exit poll for the UK General Election the odds were on a majority Conservative government. I wonder how many businesses had a plan already built based on a minority Conservative government working with the DUP? I also wonder what the tragic event at Grenfell Tower in London has done to the existing business plans in local authorities, fire departments, architects, building companies and insulation manufacturers.

What is clear, is that those who are able to react quickest to these unexpected, and therefore unplanned, events are best placed to deal with them and to avert disarray, confusion and wasted resources. As I said in the title, in this situation ‘seconds count’.  So, the first step is a new or revised plan; developed, reviewed and approved quickly. Once done, execution can begin and everyone in the organisation will be committed to the plan and going in the same direction. The $64,000 question to ask is, how quickly can you develop and approve a new plan?

If seconds count then every part of the planning and forecasting cycle must be reviewed to extract unnecessary time and effort. In my experience, there is one area here that is often overlooked - the time it takes to review and approve plans and forecasts. With there typically being multiple levels of review and approval, this can really add up.

So, what are these delays due to? There can be many factors around communications and the right information being available and complete. Modern technology can come to the rescue especially when it comes down to communication with reviewers and approvers who are not always in the office and sitting at their computers waiting for the request to come in. This is especially important with managers who are likely to be travelling, often internationally, for business meetings and events.

Here, their ‘always on’ mobile devices come into play, making it easy to receive information and respond wherever they are - on the train, in the airport and now even in the airplane. By connecting specialist mobile applications to your planning and forecasting system, notifications can be instantly seen, revised plans reviewed, and approvals, or not, sent.  With seconds counting in this disrupted world this can take hours and even days out of any planning or forecasting cycle!

My colleague Lydia Maksoud has been working with our clients implementing such an application for reviews and approvals that works on both iOS and Android phones and tablets and connects to Oracle’s Cloud and On-Premises Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) applications. Both setting this mobile application up and using it is very simple and Lydia explains how this is done for Oracle Planning and Budgeting Cloud Service (PBCS) in her blog here.

Why don’t you take a look at your EPM review and approvals processes and work out how many seconds you could save if your organisation could action them on the move using mobile devices? This will, very likely, make a significant difference when it comes to the time it takes to get your plans and forecasts into execution. 


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