Problems in today's planning processes

Planning comes around every year... (Part 1/3): Typical problems in today's planning processes

Are you still in the middle of it or have you already got it over with for this year? The annual planning and budgeting for the next fiscal year starts in August/September in many organizations and takes several weeks, if not months. Especially in controlling, this regularly means lots of (manual) effort, long working days, a lot of coordination and possibly frustration. And every year it’s Groundhog Day again. But does it really have to be like this?

In this three-part blog post, I will discuss the typical planning problems that many companies face today, how specialist software solutions can efficiently support planning, and the benefits that companies can achieve by using planning software tools.

Planning processes are still problematic in many companies

BARC studies have shown for years that planning processes can still be problematic. This is often due to inadequate software support, coupled with a great deal of manual effort, which – and this is only too human – inevitably leads to errors and inconsistencies. In such cases, frustration is almost guaranteed.

We see the same problems cropping up again and again in software selection projects. Planning and budgeting processes are regularly:

  • Not properly integrated
  • Too time-consuming
  • Taking up too many resources
  • Too detailed; and
  • The quality of the results – compared to the amount of effort invested – often leaves much to be desired.

The reasons for this often lie in poor functional software support, as well as business-related shortcomings (e.g., poor integration of planning or a lack of focus on the essentials). To put it in five letters: EXCEL. Not that Excel per se is bad for supporting planning processes, but it quickly reaches its functional limits and lacks an underlying database environment. 

However, many companies are aware of the importance of classical planning and budgeting, especially in the digital age. Particularly in economically and politically volatile times – characterized by crises, uncertainty about the future and global competitive pressure – planning and above all (short-term) forecasting are becoming massively more important as instruments for corporate management. For many organizations, it is therefore not an option to ignore planning in the future. 

In the next post in this series, you will learn how specialist software solutions efficiently support planning in order to counter the problems outlined above. 

Dr. Christian Fuchs

Dr. Christian Fuchs

Dr. Christian Fuchs is heading the Data & Analytics Research at BARC (Business Application Research Center). He is the author of numerous BARC studies and a frequent speaker at conferences. He specializes in decision-supporting information systems for corporate performance management, planning, consolidation and analytics. As a senior analyst and consultant, he supports companies in the software selection process and in the introduction phase as well as in strategic questions regarding the front-end tool portfolio, architecture and use cases.