How to Improve Your Planning Model

For many in the Finance department, this is the time of year that you start your preparations for next year’s budget.  If you are lucky enough to have a financial performance management software package, such as IBM Cognos TM1 or IBM Cognos Planning, you’re accommodating your model for the upcoming year.  Question is, How to Improve Your Planning Model?  Many times, we are so far into the process of just preparing a model for data input that we don’t spend the time to connect all the dots of that input.  This is especially true for companies that recently implemented a budgeting tool.  Most likely, you had a limited budget and an already lean staff that worked double-duty in building the model and taking care of their day job as well.  So you are finally out of the Excel world and have a budget that consolidates in real time.

Mission accomplished…not quite yet.  If you’re still a newbie with your software product, you may not truly know its capabilities.

“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” — Henry Ford

Sometimes you need guidance on what the future can be like.  Using your IBM Cognos product is a great improvement from what you had in Excel, but is your model truly driver based?  Do you have calculations that assess the viability of your inputs?  How about calculations that show the results of productivity for your estimates vs last year and vs a three year average?  What about variance analysis that shows how accurate your Operations Managers are at budgeting?

There still is only 24 hours in a day and that’s not ever going to change.  If your staff is already working at full tilt, Lodestar Solutions is here to help.  We can review your model with you and offer suggestions to improve actionable decision-making capabilities, as well as efficiencies of existing processes and additional automation.  From there, you can decide to do the building yourself or have one of our experienced coaches do the work for you.  Most times, these model improvements can be done remotely, saving you travel and expense costs.  With web meetings, we are able to do knowledge transfer with your staff to improve their skills and help them to be more self-sufficient.

Budgeting is not just a “season”, else you could hunt it down and shoot it.  It’s your future!