Poised for change: why flexible Corporate Performance Management tools are essential in the digital era

Mark Sands

Written by Mark Sands, General Manager – Asia Pacific, Board International.

Remember the days when business planning was an annual event on the calendar? Decision makers would get together to set goals and budgets for the upcoming 12 months, share the resultant plan with their teams and set about putting ideas into action. 

It’s a modus operandiwhich doesn’t work very well in the late 2010s. Instead of undertaking ‘set and forget’ planning, businesses need to be able to recognise and adapt to changing circumstances, pivot on a sixpence and adapt existing strategies and plans to reflect rapidly changing circumstances.

The advent of the fourth industrial revolution has resulted in the latter becoming ‘situation normal’ for Australian enterprises.

Digital disruption is up-ending traditional markets and business practices for established players across a swathe of industries and market watchers warn there’s plenty more of it to come.

In 2017, management consultancy Deloitte predicted a third of the Australian economy would face substantial disruption from digital technologies and businesses.

Its Digital disruption: Short fuse, big bang study noted digital innovation was reinventing the way companies relate to their suppliers and customers.

As a result, new market entrants have a golden opportunity to shake up the status quo and scores of them have made a stunning success of doing just that. 

Globally, gig economy platforms Uber and Airbnb have snatched massive market share from the traditional taxi and hotel industries respectively, so much so that it’s astonishing to consider both companies were in their infancy only a decade ago.

Closer to home, local players such as online jobs marketplaces Freelancer and Airtasker have also enjoyed substantial success and forced competitors in a range of industries to revisit their business models and launch new service offerings and pricing models.

Tools that enable a rapid response

In a business landscape which is in an ongoing state of flux, having the capability to change course quickly and effectively is essential. Enterprises which are unable to do so risk losing market share and missing business opportunities.

Unfortunately, many Australian businesses rely on outdated tools and solutions to support the planning process. Some look for information in a mass of disparate spreadsheets, each potentially containing a kernel of data relevant to the matter under consideration. 

Others rely on legacy Corporate Performance Management (CPM) software, often configured to support equally outdated processes.

CPM is a variant of business intelligence which focuses on monitoring and managing organisations’ performance, based on Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) such as earnings, operational costs and return on investment. CPM technology can be deployed across the enterprise to enable decision makers to correlate the performance of individual initiatives and projects against corporate goals.

Historically, CPM solutions had their genesis in either the finance or IT department. They typically took a narrow view of operations and failed to account for the multiplicity of factors which contribute to the performance of an enterprise and the impact business decisions can have on all departments.

Board’s Nucleus Research CPM Value Matrix 2019 study highlights the fact that companies are ready to abandon this old paradigm. Instead, they’re looking for ways to unleash the power of non-financial data to assess the best possible decision alternatives.

Flexible, next generation CPM technology allows them to do so. It’s designed to enable true, big picture management across the enterprise and is an invaluable aid for Australian decision makers who are, by necessity, having to plan on the fly and often.

Flexible planning for a prosperous future

‘Fortune favours the brave’, according to the old saying. In the digital era, it also favours the fast. Australian businesses which can react swiftly to changing economic and market conditions will be better placed to withstand the challenge posed by agile new upstarts. They’ll also have the jump on traditional rivals whose planning processes are sluggish. 

Flexible CPM technology which helps business leaders ensure their decisions are aligned with organisational strategies and goals can be a source of competitive advantage for enterprises prepared to exploit it to the full.

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