Every year a little civil war breaks out in many organizations around the world. There are many factions competing. Sales, marketing, management, finance, operations. Everyone fights to set expectations they can meet and get budgets they can work with.
Even if the process is conducted with the best of humor and a minimum of rancor, it’s not necessarily the most productive approach. Planning, budgeting, and forecasting are areas of business that have seen the least investment over recent years, across process, technology, and skills. Reports from FSN, KPMG, and Forrester show that a lack of data literacy, a continuing reliance on spreadsheets and email communication, and a desperate lack of collaboration between business functions all contribute to a fundamental weakness in foresight capabilities.
In an age of accelerated change, this presents a clear threat to business success. Reacting as things happen may simply be too slow. Organizations need to see what’s coming ahead of time and prepare appropriately, adapting recruitment, procurement and infrastructure investment.
The only way to do this is to enhance the core foresight processes. Bring more and better data into models. Create flexible plans that can be tested against different scenarios in multiple dimensions. Collaborate with more areas of the business to add richness and share insight.
Underpinning this shift is an improvement in data literacy across the board. More imagination. More skills of manipulation. And better tools: enhanced technologies to collect, process, present and share information.
Can you see the future?
You can if you’re properly equipped.