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Laying the Groundwork for a Planning System

  • By Bryan Lapidus, FP&A
  • Published: 9/24/2019


The landscape of IT projects is littered with failed implementations: multiple estimates put the failure rate between 30 and 60% as measured by unmet goals, spend over budget, significant delays, or just outright giving up on the project. If you consider IT implementations as part of a larger organizational transformation effort, the statistics get more dire—McKinsey research estimates a 70% failure rate on change management efforts.

But we need to change. Constantly. The accelerating rate of technology leads to accelerated competition, and an accelerated lifecycle for companies.    

The new FP&A Guide is the first in a series that focuses on technology change. We focus on the planning and reporting system because it is foundational to FP&A’s mission of supporting business decisions by deploying resources to the most efficient use. Getting it right frees up time to focus on value-added insights, business partnering, and strategic work that supports customers. The right system enables the entire business to be more agile in responding to the market. Stepping back, however, the insights here are useful in other IT implementations as well. Subsequent research will discuss vendor selection and the ongoing maintenance of systems. 

AFP approached to this broad topic by asking the finance community about the key questions they wrestled with during the design and implementation of their planning tools. In this way it augments other research on this large and well-researched field. Let’s start with the basic question: Why is this so hard?

The many moving parts increase complexity: multiple stakeholders with different goals, needs, availability and capabilities; lack of an enterprise approach and intentional roadmap; an incomplete project vision; and poor change management skills. However, our research shows that IT implementations, such as adopting a new planning system, are not about technology; they are about integrating the people and data to facilitate integrated business planning. The new guide can help you get started.   

Download the AFP Guide to Implementing a Planning System, Part 1: Laying the Groundwork here.

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