It’s Time for CFOs to Leverage Transformational Planning

It’s Time for CFOs to Leverage Transformational Planning
It’s Time for CFOs to Leverage Transformational Planning
Written by Heather Cole, September 2nd 2021

The world has changed.  Organizations of every size are being forced to rapidly adjust to the new world where distribution challenges are the norm and employee retention is top of mind.  The uncertain world is forcing companies to create a transformation strategy.  I believe this needs to start with the CFO.  It’s Time for CFO’s to Leverage Transformational Planning.

What is Transformational Planning? 

At Lodestar Solutions we define Transformational Planning as a connected approach to financial planning, forecasting and even budgeting where data from different sources is consolidated in real-time. Then business users, finance and beyond can model and compare scenarios, identify trends, and create rolling forecasts to enable the CFO and other executives to anticipate the changes and respond quickly. 

CFO’s may not have heard of Transformational Planning because, well we created the term at Lodestar Solutions when we were brainstorming the challenges and how IBM Planning Analytics is so underutilized.  But it’s not just IBM Planning Analytics customers that haven’t realized they need to look at planning differently.  Finance departments everywhere are not pivoting to look beyond financial planning to incorporate all the areas of the organization. 

Challenge to Realize Transformational Planning

According to a Forbes article, Uncertainty Underscores CFO’s Role to Drive Digital Transformation. 

For many companies, “a reliance on antiquated tools can stand in the way of digital reinvention which could lead to missed opportunities or inaccurate forecasts that undermine performance.”  If you are an IBM Planning Analytics client that has not upgraded and started to leverage the amazing new functionality of IBM Planning Analytics I would put you in this category too.  

IBM Planning Analytics and Transformational Planning

Great news for IBM Planning Analytics clients!  The latest version of Planning Analytics is designed for Transformational Planning.  Unlike some competitive solutions, IBM Planning Analytics is not just for finance.  Clients that leverage IBM Planning Analytics for areas beyond finance like HR, Marketing, Inventory and even to model acquisitions will be able to pivot and benefit from Transitional Planning, thus giving them a leg up on competition.  In the uncertain world its essential for team members to modify how they look at their data on the fly, in real-time without rebuilding their models. The newer functionality in IBM Planning Analytics, like virtual dimensions, allows this flexibility and more.  And the best part is the IBM Planning Analytics solutions does not require additional modules to deliver robust planning and forecasting for all areas on your business.

For more, here’s a blog, Guide to Creating a Virtual Hierarchy for reference.

Additionally here’s a link to our blog on, What’s New in IBM Planning Analytics Workspace Version 64, 65 and 66?

Where Transformational Planning Starts

Transformational Planning Starts with the CFO

For an organization to move to a transformational planning process, it must start with the CFO.  According to an article in McKinsey Special Collection The Role of the CFO, Why CFOs need a bigger role in business transformations, “without the CFO’s leadership, certain key elements of the transformation are likely to receive short shrift: performance efforts will lack a meaningful benchmark to gauge success, managers will be tempted to focus on the biggest or most visible projects instead of those that promise the highest value, and expected transformation benefits won’t make it to the bottom line.”   It’s Time for CFO’s to Leverage Transformational Planning.

How to Start the Journey

Are you wondering where to start on the road to Transformational Planning?  Well over the next few weeks Lodestar Solutions will share tips on how to start this game changing adventure.  The first step is committing to learn a better way and exploring how Transformational Planning will benefit your organization! 

On November 18th, 2021 at 11 am Eastern Lodestar will be hosting a webinar.

Mastering Transformational Planning: Why CFOs Should Lead this Initiative? 

Transformational Planning is a connected approach to financial planning, forecasting and even budgeting where data from different sources is consolidated in real-time. Then business users, finance and beyond can model and compare scenarios, identify trends, and create rolling forecasts to enable the CFO and other executives to anticipate the changes and respond quickly.

In this webinar you will learn:


Why every CFO must discover and lead Transformational Planning,
How to move your organization to Transformational Planning
and more.

To Register for this complimentary webinar click here.

If you have questions about Transformational Planning reach out to us at Services@lodestarsolutions.com to schedule a chat. 

What CFOs Need to Know About Cybersecurity (Part 1)

What CFO's Need to Know About Cybersecurity
What CFO's Need to Know About Cybersecurity
Written by Heather Cole on April 8th, 2021

As the world continues to change, and more people are working from home, the CFO’s office needs to get more active and increase their knowledge of cybersecurity.  Cybersecurity is the protection of internet-connected systems such as hardware, software and data from cyberthreats.  There are many aspects of cybersecurity including password usage, data encryption, use of public wi-fis, and ransomware attacks.  Heck even having your AC connected to your internet so you can monitor it, can leave you exposed.  Today we will discuss what CFOs need to know about cybersecurity.

Why CFO’s Need to be More Cybersecurity Vigilant

“Cybersecurity breaches have become the top financial threat facing companies, making it essential for CFOs to play a pivotal role in managing the risk,” according to FM- Magazine.  

IBM estimates the average cost of a breach is $3.86 million.  A recent IBM study found that a majority of organizations (76%) predicted that remote work would make responding to a potential data breach a much more difficult ordeal.  52% of breaches were caused by a malicious attack and 80% of breaches included customer’s personal identifiable information.  To receive a copy of the IBM Cost of Data Breach Report 2020 go to IBM.com.

The Challenge

The challenge is that most CFOs are unaware of their risk and surprised when they learn they have exposed data vulnerable to cyberattacks.  CFOs must keep cyber risk top of mind, making it part of their regular dialogue with the C-suite and other operating leaders as they assess their risk and potential business disruption.  But the first step is to understand the types of Cybersecurity threats.

Types of Cybersecurity Threats Include:

  • Malware is a form of malicious software in which any file or program can be used to harm a computer user.  Malware can be installed by clicking a link from an unknown source. Malware includes worms, viruses, Trojans, and spyware.
  • Ransomware is another type of malware where the creators hold your systems ransom and demand payment to decrypt and unlock it.
  • Social engineering is an attack that relies on human interaction to trick users into breaking security procedures to gain sensitive information that is typically protected.
  • Phishing is a form of social engineering that is often targeted at the office of finance where the offender sends a fraudulent email that resemble those from reputable or known sources asking for banking details, logins, or other sensitive data.
  • Insider threats are security breaches or losses caused by humans -- for example, employees, contractors, or customers.  Insider threats can be malicious or negligent in nature.
  • Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs) are prolonged targeted attacks in which an attacker infiltrates a network and remains undetected for long periods of time with the aim to steal data.

For more information on understanding the basics of cyberthreats check out this interesting Cybersecurity blog.

Since I am not a security expert, I decided as part of my research for this blog to sit down with Reshma Moorthy of Frontier Technologies and Raj Soni of Adaptive Systems, two security experts and friends of mine.  I asked them to share their ideas on What Every CFO Needs to Know About Cybersecurity.  We created a video to help educate CFOs.  After you watch our discussion then it is time to take action! 

Steps CFOs Should Take Immediately

Now that you have a basic understanding of the everchanging Cybersecurity threats, you need to act!  Lodestar Solutions recommends that you take the following steps immediately.

  1. Cybersecurity Risk Assessment Meeting - Set up a meeting with your CSO and CIO to do an initial cybersecurity risk assessment.  The goal of this meeting is not to solve all the challenges. The goal of the meeting is to discuss and listen to the risks, then try to rank them based on the potential business disruption and cost.  You may want to engage an outside firm to help you with your risk assessment.  If you need names of firms to help, email us at Services@lodestarsolutions.com and we will connect you with people we know.

  2. Review Your Insurance Levels - Are you insured against a cyber threat and if so to what level?  Cybersecurity insurance policies are constantly changing so you should have an insurance review checkup.  Prevention is a better answer than insurance, but it could help when you experience a breach.  (Yes, I said when not if.)

I realize as I write this that understanding cyber insurance can be a big topic in and of itself.  Therefore, I will share more information about the two types of insurance you need to review in next week’s blog. 

In Summary

I hope you learned a little bit about what CFOs need to know about cybersecurity today.  But knowledge is not power.  ACTION is Power.  So, make sure you take the first step and set up a risk assessment meeting.  If you have questions, I am happy to connect you with security experts.  Just email me at Services@lodestarsolutions.com.

Why You Struggle To Get Executive Buy-In For Your Data and Analytics Projects

7/30/15

As a Business Analytics Coach, I work with executives, managers and the people in the trenches to help them create and execute a Business analytics roadmap. I believe strongly that data and analytics can lead to innovation. It can and will  change the world!   Below I will teach you how to get Executive Buy-In.  If you don’t believe me, just read the book Abundance by Peter H Diamandis and Steven Kotler. http://www.abundancethebook.com/

Data and Analytics Questions to Ponder

If data and analytics can be game changing, “Why aren’t Executives making data and analytic initiatives a priority?” Moreover, “Why are business intelligence managers, financial performance managers and others struggling to get the executives to fund their projects?”

In a 2013 Gartner Financial Executive International CFO Technology study, it found an emphasis on business intelligence/analytics as a top area of investment and focus. *

Click here to see the full Gartner survey from CFO.com's website.

Executive Buy-In

If that’s so, why don’t we hear of a significant number of companies making huge progress with analytics? In talking with CFO and BI Managers, I usually feel the frustration in their voices. They aren’t getting results fast enough or they don’t have the support they need (respectively). I thought I would throw out some ideas why executives aren’t leading an analytics initiative.

  1. They don’t understand data and analytics and what it takes to be successful leveraging data for decision making
  2. They are unable to create the vision for the organization so let data and analytics remain “siloed” in functional areas.
  3. They don’t have the right talent to execute the vision.
  4. The projects they have funded have not proven the timely results they expected or desired.
  5. They meet IT resistance because IT fears they will lose power by empowering business users.
  6. They don’t comprehend the importance of data and analytics and its role in innovation and growing profits. Status quo is comfortable.

Personally, I believe these are just excuses. The organization that leads their industry, or better yet creates their industry through innovation, will be led by executives that learn to lead and create an analytics driven culture.

I would love your ideas on why executives are not committing to being an Analytics Leader? I hope to share all the great ideas and suggestions to overcome the hurdles in a future blog. Please email me at Hcole@LodestarSolutions.com or comment on this post.

In closing I must share this quote from the CEO of CFO Publishing, Alan Glass during our recent conversation.

“Technology and Analytics allows you to expand your business in ways unthinkable 2-3 years ago.” – Alan Glass.

 

*For More Information on Financial Executives International go to www.financialexecutives.org to find a chapter in your area. If you are in the Tampa, FL region please contact me directly and I will introduce you to our chapter. Hcole@LodestarSolutions.com

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