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Ventana Research Unveils Next-Generation Business Planning Benchmark Research

Independent market research firm introduces best practices, benefits and trends in business planning that can help organizations maximize the outcomes of their business processes

Bend, OR / Jan 30, 2015 6:00:00 AM / by Ventana Research

SAN RAMON, CA, January 30, 2015 - Ventana Research, which provides market research, best practices and business insights on the strategic and operational uses of technology across business and IT functions, today released its latest market research into next-generation business planning processes and software. The research confirms that business planning processes should be managed formally to ensure that the efforts are efficient and the results are optimally useful to the business.
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Our research examined how well a company manages its planning processes with its planning efficiency: 85 percent of those that manage planning well or very well said they spend the right amount of time on itsmanagement, compared to 46 percent of those that manage it adequately and just 6 percent that do it poorly. The research also found that including the perspectives of people in different roles or departments can help produce more complete plans and improve identification of risks and opportunities. However, the research also finds that many organizations fall short. For example, only half collaborate on business planning effectively or very effectively. And this, too impacts the process: 85 percent of organizations that collaborate effectively or very effectively said they manage the planning process well or very well. By contrast, just 11 percent of those that said their organization collaborates just somewhat effectively or not effectively rated their planning processes this highly.

Inefficient planning processes conducted in isolation inhibit effective planning, and the use of inappropriate technology tools can compound problems. Desktop spreadsheets are the tools most commonly used: The research finds that seven out of 10 midsize or larger companies use them across the range of the 11 planning processes we examined, yet nearly half (48%) of participants said that spreadsheets make it difficult to manage planning processes. The research found that companies that use dedicated planning applications are able to estimate accurately one plan’s impact on others twice as often as those that use spreadsheets (26% vs. 13%).

The new research examined the impact of next-generation technology advancements on business use of business planning software and interest in their use. These technologies are beginning to improve organizations’ ability to plan in more forward-looking, coordinated ways, but the research finds that most organizations have yet to take advantage of these innovations. Among next-generation technology categories, the largest percentage of research participants (70%) said analytics is critical for improving their business planning. Predictive analytics in particular can provide insights into future possibilities, keeping plans relevant longer and enabling planners to anticipate trends and spot important deviations from them.

Mobile technology is another potentially impactful innovation that can broaden access to and participation in business planning. The research shows it beginning to gain favor; although only a minority (24%) have used it for at least a year, more (30%) have begun to use it more recently or will begin to use it within a year. We also find greater adoption of cloud computing for business planning, with nearly two-thirds (64%) of organizations now using cloud systems for planning.

“The research confirmed that companies that have an integrated planning environment with direct links to individual plans are far more likely to have planning processes that work well, and that planning processes that are well managed produce more accurate plans,” commented Robert Kugel, senior vice president and research director at Ventana Research. “Our research also highlighted the importance of collaboration and the value of analytics – especially more sophisticated techniques such as predictive analytics – in improving the business value of planning. Desktop spreadsheets are by far the most common technology for planning but they cannot provide the direct links and collaborative capabilities corporations need and fall short in enabling the use of advanced analytics.”

“I am happy that our firm is able to introduce additional benchmark research on business planning, a topic that is highly underrated as to its importance to improving efficiency and the outcomes of business processes” said Mark Smith, CEO and chief research officer of Ventana Research. “The lack of focus from the IT industry on the importance of planning software has had a detrimental impact on business. This research finds that companies would benefit significantly from investing in improving the various aspects of planning, particularly dedicated planning applications but also those that embrace next-generation technology such as analytics, cloud computing, collaboration and mobile technologies – advances that can help planning processes and benefit the entire organization.”

Ventana Research undertook this benchmark research to determine the attitudes, requirements and future plans of organizations that engage in business planning and to identify the best practices of those that are most mature in it. We investigated 11 types of planning that span the range of business activities and take place in most organizations including: finance, human resources, operations, supply chain, sales, customer and marketing.

Those interested in learning more about the benchmark research results can do so at www.ventanaresearch.com/nextgenbusinessplanning. The research was sponsored by our premium sponsor Tidemark an also by Anaplan, Host Analytics and SAP, along with association partnership with Proformative. As a leading business technology research and advisory services firm, Ventana Research provides access to a free copy of the executive summary of the research report.

About Ventana Research

Ventana Research is the most authoritative and respected benchmark business technology research and advisory services firm. We provide insight and expert guidance on mainstream and disruptive technologies through a unique set of research-based offerings including benchmark research and technology evaluation assessments, education workshops and our research and advisory services, Ventana On-Demand. Our unparalleled understanding of the role of technology in optimizing business processes and performance and our best practices guidance are rooted in our rigorous research-based benchmarking of people, processes, information and technology across business and IT functions in every industry. This benchmark research plus our market coverage and in-depth knowledge of hundreds of technology providers means we can deliver education and expertise to our clients to increase the value they derive from technology investments while reducing time, cost and risk.

Ventana Research provides the most comprehensive analyst and research coverage in the industry; business and IT professionals worldwide are members of our community and benefit from Ventana Research's insights, as do highly regarded media and association partners around the globe. Our views and analyses are distributed daily through blogs and social media channels including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+. To learn how Ventana Research advances the maturity of organizations’ use of information and technology through benchmark research, education and advisory services, visit www.ventanaresearch.com.

Media: Copies of the Benchmark Research report and analyst interviews are available upon request.

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