The Secret to Future-Readiness

Future-readiness is on the agenda of every business.

Widespread digitalisation across sectors is no longer seen as radical. The last two years have proved how important organisational agility is to staying afloat.

Moving from survival to recovery, organisations are now focused on the road ahead.  Data is central to that journey.

What does it mean to be future-ready?

There is no Enterprise crystal ball. The pandemic proved that to confidently face the future, organisations need an agile architecture, ideally in the cloud, that can rapidly scale with the right people and partnerships to identify challenges and exploit opportunities at speed. But processing power or talent will only bring success with access to the right information at the right time. The secret to future readiness is data accessibility.

Business planning has never been so vital a capability. I have been working with a range of FMCG firms to introduce daily, detailed planning to improve supply chain visibility and avoid empty shelves. This experience has proved the need to improve data accessibility – not just within businesses but across sophisticated extended enterprises made up of large numbers of suppliers and partners.

Data the new currency of competition

It doesn’t matter what type or size the business is – understanding what’s working and what isn’t, how to replicate success and how new business processes are performing, is vital.

The recent surge in Retail digital transformation in response to the pandemic is a good example of why data capability matters. For example, some of the biggest breweries and restaurant chains have transformed their businesses by leveraging data.

Before the pandemic hit, it was rare for hospitality businesses to carry out more than the most rudimentary analysis. They were not consistently reacting to customer insights, buyer data, product margins or the growing costs of waste. Their doors were open, they were making money, so they didn’t feel the need for change. In other words, – “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”.

Facing disruption on an unprecedented scale made this view of the world untenable. Decisions can no longer be made on gut feel and industry experience. Hard data is required to ensure business survival on the road to profitable growth. This assumes a capability to ask the right questions and the availability and access to right data to deliver the answers.

Establishing a Digital Mindset

Convincing organisations of the value of data modernisation is no longer a hard sell.  In the last two years, they’ve seen the value of advanced data analytics for themselves and their competitors.

Looking back at historical information is not enough to set a future course. Businesses need forward looking projections which require huge volumes of data and new analysis capabilities – especially within Finance.

I’ve been working with CFOs for more than twenty years and my observation is that everything about them has changed, with the modern CFO being both a highly capable technologist and a strategic leader.

Amid rapid change across the Supply Chain, Operations, HR – every function is seeking to be led by Finance. The CFO has become the CEO’s right hand – involved in every strategic decision, especially if they are armed with a digital mindset and the right data access.

Ironically when all eyes are on Finance’s planning and analysis capability – Finance understands that democratising data, making it more easily accessible to every decision maker is the way forward.

Redesigning the business process roadmap

The biggest shift we’ve seen in process roadmaps is the increased focus on Extended Planning to deliver greater accuracy and granularity.

Redesigning business processes to support Extended Planning requires wider collaboration and ownership of the data.  This creates an opportunity for new relationships between Finance and subject matter experts and leaders from across the enterprise.

Organisations have been eager to adopt Extended Planning for a number of years, but few have made it a reality.  In our experience this is for two main reasons – poor data quality and the lack of scalability of planning solutions -with very few offering the capability to handle the large volumes required for effective Extended Planning.

CCH Tagetik delivering scale at the speed of business

Planning solutions have historically been constrained by the amount of data that they could store and process, but CCH Tagetik’s Analytics Information Hub removes this constraint – offering the ability to integrate internal data from multiple sources such as finance, operations and HR with data from across the business partner eco-system.

When managing data integration from disparate sources, organisations have often relied on a range of solutions that demand layer upon layer of code or manual manipulation to function. This complexity inevitably leads to resource, data integrity and governance issues as data volumes and sources constantly grow.

CCH Tagetik technology offers a unique ability to integrate and share data from multiple sources within a single platform.

An example of the value of this scalability, was demonstrated in a recent project for one of the world’s largest motor manufacturers. This business needed their Extended Planning platform to analyse each nut and bolt in every car they make – taking in price and product data from hundreds of external suppliers.  When they are planning to launch a new product, they need to model numerous vehicle configurations for multiple markets. Now they can bring all that internal and external data into a single platform for analysis – with the ability to drill down into the detail and make comparisons down to the colour and type of tyre. But today’s sophisticated business is not only concerned with planning product and must almost integrate HR and industry compliance data to maintain a real-time 360-degreeview of their business

This Finance transformation also recognised the demand to optimise financial close and establish high level budgeting, planning &forecasting and detailed predictive analytics. The reason CCH Tagetik was selected for this project was its capability to perform all of these enhancements within a single platform.

As well as efficiency and accuracy – establishing a single data platform simplifies another enterprise challenge – that of data governance and security. Simplification of the solution landscape not only reduces cost of ownership but as we have seen, can transform the performance and resilience of an organisation’s core decision making.

Future Trends – we have it covered

CCH Tagetik is future-ready. The platform was the first CPM product to work on the SAP HANA database and is leading in-memory performance benefits. These include report generation, consolidation, allocation, multidimensional calculations and more to support complex and granular planning.

The platform is also leveraging a range of forward-looking solutions. One powerful example is Predictive Analytics, which harnesses technologies such as machine learning and prescriptive algorithms to automate a range of processes such as forecasting generation, and to support budgeting, planning, and organisational agility.

It’s easy to collaborate, thanks to a smart and seamless interface where colleagues can discuss insights, scrutinise data and insights, and collaborate. Ease of accessibility means everyone can get the answers they need in real time.

Being future-ready also means being prepared for emerging data analysis and reporting requirements and organisations are starting to anticipate the demand for Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) reporting.

Collecting data on variables such as energy usage, demographics, location, carbon footprint and diversity and inclusion – will create new challenges in data integration and analysis as national and international reporting requirements emerge.

CCH Tagetik are working with our clients to get ahead of the ESG curve – developing products to efficiently provide these new insights into business performance.

The onus is on every business to be future ready, but at CCH Tagetik we will be with you every step of the way working with partners like Clarivos to support the dynamic, modern finance function whatever lies ahead.

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