SAN RAMON, CA, February 21, 2013 – Ventana Research released it’s latest benchmark research, “Long Range Planning – Steps to Achieve a More Effective Process.” The research explored and benchmarked how organizations perform long-range planning. It identified key characteristics of- and objectives for long-range planning. The research also identified best practices used in effective long range planning and illustrated the connection between using best practices and achieving tangibly better results. From these findings, Ventana Research has created a list of ten action items senior executives should review to identify ways to achieve better outcomes from their long-term and strategic planning.
Sound strategic- and long-range planning is important to the competitive success of corporations. Some organizations take a meticulous, detailed approach to such planning, others are less formal while some make no formal plans at all. Companies use a variety of methods and metrics in creating plans and evaluating progress. The research found that companies take on average anywhere from 5 to 13 weeks to complete planning. Only 29 percent of organizations provide formal training on methodology and roughly half said they integrate long range planning with operational planning and budgeting. In short, companies plan for the long-term in many different ways.
As with anything, the research also found there are some commonalities in the way companies execute their long range planning. More than 8 in 10 organizations have a planning process that is somewhat or highly centralized. In over 55% of these organizations, senior executive set the goals only receive input from their team. Information technology plays an important role in long range planning, yet spreadsheet usage is also a common factor among organizations. More than half said they use them as their main software for forecasting and analysis in long range planning, while 95% use them in at least some capacity during the process. Unfortunately, only 36 percent said spreadsheets were an effective tool for planning.
Some organizations have dedicated planning software and sophisticated analytical tools to help them model the future although nearly half of participants said the software they use is only somewhat effective or ineffective. The research also found the 61 percent of participants said the evaluated software alternatives. Only one-third of those that indicated this evaluation have actually implemented new software. If organization were to address these shortcomings as well as others uncovered in the research, long range planning could be made a powerful tool.
“By benchmarking long range planning, we were able to lay out a detailed profile of the process and methodologies companies use. The research shows that although there are legitimate differences in how companies plan, there are also important elements that can make these efforts most effective” commented Robert Kugel, Senior Vice President of the company’s financial performance management practice. “Our research provides best practices and road maps improvement opportunities that will help organizations plan more effectively and move beyond the use of personal spreadsheets into a connected approach to long range planning.”
To learn more about the Long Range Planning Benchmark, please visit: www.ventanaresearch.com/LRP. This research was sponsored by Planview and supported by research affiliate FERF, to help further the education on long range planning in the market.
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