Continuous Strategy Planning

There is nothing complex in [the budgeting] process. It is logical, makes sense and should be straightforward. But personal experience and various surveys show that this isn’t the case. In the Harvard Business Review article ‘Turning great strategy into great performance’, only 50 - 60% of the potential within a strategic plan is ever realised with the top reasons for failure being inadequate resources, poor communication, and actions required to execute not being clearly defined. It goes on to say that the cause of this failure is laid squarely on breakdowns in the planning and execution process.

So what’s going wrong and what can be done to put it right?

Is Your PO Process Costing You Precious Marketing Dollars?

Marketing regularly loses a portion of its budget to an insidious financial management process known as “Open PO Reconciliation.” It’s not unusual to see b-to-b organizations lose 5 percent or more of their budgets to the reconciliation monster. However, with just a bit more attention to detail and building a good relationship with the finance team, this money can be recovered and utilized.

Here’s what happens in many organizations: In order to purchase something, a marketer must first open a purchase order (PO). Essentially what then happens is that the marketer estimates the cost of the purchase and opens a PO in that amount. This causes funds to be committed and set aside. What could go wrong with that? Keep reading.

Rules for Assuring Poor Performance

In 1773 Benjamin Franklin, one of the USA’s founding fathers, wrote a pamphlet aimed at the royalty of England titled Rules by Which a Great Empire May Be Reduced to a Small One. Satire is one way to get your point across. I apply my own style of satire here to appeal to organizations to cease their hesitation and skepticism and embrace the benefits of applying business analytics and enterprise performance management. I apologize in advance if I offend anyone, but sometimes there is truth in humor.

Conversational Analytics

When you begin your career your most important skills are your hard, technical skills; the finance and accounting, the statistics and economics, the physics and chemistry, the engineering and calculus. But as I tell my business school mentees, as your career progresses, the emphasis changes such that much sooner than you might initially think, the most important courses you took in college turn out to be psychology, philosophy, literature, sociology and anthropology.

We all bring important skills to the myriad of different conversations we participate in every day, and while confrontation and intervention might not be your cup of tea, applying the right type of analytics to the problem, consistent with its level in the Conversation Pyramid, can immediately make you and your team valuable in either catalyzing your own organizational transformation, or simply improving your organization’s value creation or mission effectiveness.

What Wears Down Employee Productivity and Morale?

Let’s take a break from health care reform/span> and pension funding to look at something really important: Do work-from-home employees wear pajamas all day?

No, seriously.

When companies worry about employee engagement and productivity, the clues to any breakdown in those areas are probably already evident among the workforce. And, yes, one-quarter of employee do wear their pajamas all day when they work from home

FP&A Process Improvement

Best-practice financial planning and analysis (FP&A) teams are looking for ways to venture beyond the traditional job scope. Previously, the typical FP&A team spent the bulk of its time reporting on how well the organization had performed during a given period versus pre-set targets. The team may have also helped to develop contingency plans in the wake of performance short-falls. Today, more FP&A teams want to do more than keep score. They want to engage in predictive analysis, which anticipates fluctuations in customer demand, revenue flows, and costs over the course of upcoming periods. They also want to support decision makers with analysis-driven contingency plans that can be implemented if and when conditions in the marketplace shift.

The Sustainability Index: How to Tell if You’re Getting Greener

Sustainability is no longer something found in only a handful of environmentally conscious companies. The health and performance of organizations today is judged by how well they take care of the planet as well as how well they take care of customers, employees and shareholders. Forward-thinking companies are also measuring and managing sustainability as another key performance dimension.

The Real Reason Companies Aren’t Investing

There are plenty of justifications companies can give for why they aren’t allocating capital to new projects, purchasing other businesses, and buying assets in general, but most of them tend to be pretty vague. “Uncertainty” due to the state of the global economy, the European sovereign debt crisis, or federal regulatory creep are my least favorite excuses that CFOs give, and there are others that are equally squishy and unsatisfactory.

But the truth is, there’s a far better apologia companies could present for not investing, and it’s rooted in a classic principle of corporate finance.