Long-range planning (LRP) is a process and discipline that companies use to determine the best strategy for succeeding in the markets they serve and to ensure they have the capabilities needed to support their strategic objectives; they also must plan to allocate their investments in those assets wisely and find resources (both financial and otherwise, such as personnel with the appropriate skills) sufficient to support those investments.

Dedicated planning software has existed in relatively sophisticated forms for more than a decade. Yet our research shows that almost half of all large global companies prepare plans and budgets in time-consuming primarily using spreadsheets. Spreadsheets are error-prone and frequent changes during the planning process undermines effective planning. The emergence of Financial planning software has led to an upswing in adoption but corporate executives still need a clear business case to be convinced of the benefits.

This benchmark research program sought to identify, explore and quantify the ways in which companies perform long-range planning. The research investigated what motivates organizations to deploy new technology, what their needs are, what selection criteria they use to make the purchase decisions. It explored the value of more effective planning processes, and it assessed the maturity of the planning process in companies.