2020 and 2021 have been challenging years for everyone. Two years after the arrival of Covid -19, business and lives are still very much disrupted.
So, what did we learn from the pandemic that we can now put in place so as to help with future black swans?
The FP&A Trends Webinar highlighted 7 key lessons learned and what steps organisations are taking to ensure they are prepared for the future.
Practical examples and case studies
It is very important to understand what leading organisations are doing in this space. The Maturity Model is a good starting point. You can read the detailed research paper on the Maturity Model here!
For Sebastien Privel, Senior Finance Director at the Coca-Cola company, looking at their Processes was key during the pandemic. They had already embarked on a transformation project, and the pandemic was a key catalyst. Platform Services for Coca-Cola will create networked ways of working, drive scale across their activities and connect technology and workflows. It will also harness pockets of excellence and expand them at scale to the full organisation unleashing the full power of the network. They organised around areas of expertise into “Service Hubs”, partnering with operating units, categories, and functions (see image below).
The key to the above was looking at their processes :
- Having an Integrated Planning Platform
- Using Driver-Based Predictive models
- Ensuring Scenarios could be played in real-time
- Standardisation of processes and deliverables
- Self-service tools with real-time analytics
- Embedding resource allocation.
For global leading organisation Visa, People came first. Christina Lewis, Senior Director Global Finance at Visa, shared “How to put people first” through the four key pillars:
- Provide space and Stability – stability is highly valued and needed
- Leadership – focus on people beyond deliverables
- Health and Wellness – Make it easier for employees to be healthy and well
- Communication – create a single source of truth across the organisation
Primordial to prioritise areas that boost longer-term engagement. But then, how do we put people first in FP&A. The image below details just that!
“Stay Interview” is another HR concept that they adopted where leaders learn of specific actions needed to strengthen employee engagement and retention instead of post-mortem with exit interviews.
In conclusion, the two key conclusions from Christina were:
- Listen to your people
- Leverage existing resources
So what lessons have we learnt as far as Technology is concerned during the pandemic? For Oliver Sullivin, Head of FP&A Solution Consulting at Unit4, there are three key ones:
- Cloud Technology
- Connected Platforms and
The moment that working from home kicked in, those organisations who weren’t in Cloud really had their work cut out. The concept that cloud is always on, available anywhere at any time and flexibility and scalability was key to survival in a lot of cases. People can continue to deliver the values for the organisation no matter where they are in the world.
The image below shows the different platforms and tools and the importance of being connected to each other! It has to be end to end.
Being able to plan on request, being able to look at the different scenarios in real-time as and when they happened, what would be the outcome of those different scenarios, how do we then resource these different scenarios, what new KPI’s or Drivers have the pandemic thrown in the mix, how do we include that in our planning and decision making. Some organisations even changed their model completely. To do all of this, you need technology that is Agile.
In conclusion, Investing in Agile, Connected Platforms that are in the Cloud is key going forward!
What we learnt from the pandemic is that organisations are at different stages of their maturity. However, there are certain key projects they could embark on to ensure they are not caught by the next “Black Swan” around the corner, and they are as follows:
- Invest in one connected Platform
- These platforms have to be Driver based using predictive modelling and capable of playing scenarios in real-time
- Standardise processes and deliverables across the organisation
- Listen to your people
- Leverage existing resources and skillset
- Health and well-being are key – look beyond deliverables and create a great atmosphere
- Invest in connected platforms that are in the Cloud and agile.
As we all know, the only constant these days seems to be change. FP&A can stay ahead of the curve and be prepared by adopting all of the above concepts.
We would like to thank our global sponsor Unit 4 for their great support with this FP&A Trends Webinar.