Most finance teams are still working through exactly how and where to utilize mobile solutions and how best to deploy them to benefit their organization. So with perfect timing, budgeting guru Steve Player, Program Director of the Beyond Budgeting Round Table in North America has just written a paper, ‘Using Mobility to Expand Planning and Performance Management Best Practices’, that sets out the benefits of incorporating mobile devices into various aspects of the planning and budgeting process all the way from short-term sales and operations planning through to long term strategic planning.
Steve identifies 5 key benefits that have emerged as best practices:
- Using mobility to make organizations faster by providing budget contributors with a far greater number of input points so they can update data as events unfold rather than to some monthly, quarterly or annual schedule.
- Giving planners mobile tools so they can move to the front line and provide better support for lines of business.
- Leveraging mobility to help planners better support innovations and growth in that it enables better collaboration with field based units and more rapid testing of possible new approaches.
- Using mobility to provide many more information collection points as each manager can become both an input source as well as receiving an output reports in that remote sensors can act as low-cost additional listening posts providing timely input on things such as competitor activities.
- Providing continuous monitoring by using mobility to capture and report on performance in real-time rather than at month-end with planners able to adjust their driver-based scenario plans to understand how actual conditions will impact future results.
For me, Steve’s 5 benefits cluster around two core themes, AGILITY and COLLABORATION with mobility being an important enabler that helps finance provide better support for the business essentially by allowing the organization to shift from batch mode to real-time management. To make sure they gain these important benefits, I would encourage finance to guard against simply bolting mobility on to an existing planning and budgeting process that is perhaps no longer fit for purpose as I feel they would be selling themselves short. Coupled with in-memory calculation engines such as SAP HANA, mobility presents an ideal opportunity to radically remodel planning and budgeting processes so they are truly aligned to the needs of business today.