Coronavirus, the Covid-19 pandemic has caused massive disruption to global economy and individual businesses alike. Initial reactions by most world leaders were more related to the implementation of an immediate total lockdown or ‘panic measures’, rather than a particular ‘plan of action’ to resolve.
Nothing like Covid-19 had ever been seen before and so no-one knew how to “Plan” for this problem.
The activities of many traditional consumer-related businesses experienced a (hopefully?) temporary pause, causing revenues to decline steeply, with knee-jerk reactions to the preservation of cashflow. Governments have stepped in with “furlough payments” to enable organisations to retain workforce, whilst not actually having anything for them to do. As factories and retail outlets were forced to close.
Borrowings have accelerated to a point where most countries ‘debt mountains’ have grown too large to be sustainable. Even though previously unknown ‘virtually zero’ rates of interest are now available. Governments, the UK particularly, are now trying to gradually unwind “furlough schemes”, despite a risk that such actions could result in significantly increased unemployment before the end of 2020.
Business reorganisation is inevitable following the eventual lifting of these lockdown restrictions, as any prospect of the previous “business as normal” ceases to exist. Covid-19 will not simply disappear, but rather global economies will have to learn how to co-exist with a virus that can spread very easily.
Social interaction suffers from the prevalence of a “work from home” culture and the non-existence of any theatres, concerts, or mass-attendance at sporting events. It appears that social distancing, at least to some extent, must be maintained for the foreseeable future,. Facial coverings and personal hygiene (hand-washing) will need to co-exist with workplace restructuring as “doing more with less” becomes increasingly critical. Whilst, immediate business priorities will be to survive, an urgent need will exist for financial and operational departments to “Plan” future fluctuations in business activities.
Scenario analysis alongside robust systems, will be the essential backbone to ‘digital transformations’ that will become the ‘necessary tools of any agile organisation’. Spreadsheets are likely to proliferate (and may even, in many cases, be useful) as businesses attempt to evaluate … “what happens next”.
A growing need for senior management to have immediate access to yet more of the business data, in greater detail and with improved accuracy, will lead to cloud-based financial and planning systems. And there many to choose from. What is important is to select the solution that most closely aligns with business processes, activities, and aspirations. Leveraging existing skillsets is a key consideration.
Enterprise-wide, single-platform, integration of multiple business requirements from BI reporting, to system database administration, and/or operational forecasting using latest AI and Machine Learning may be seen as a ‘panacea’ by many. Although, only in a certain specific cases will it be appropriate for immediate deployment. Rather, financial professionals will need to guide organisations through the maze of Financial Performance Management (FPM, CPM, EPM) offerings from different Vendors.
Whilst software Vendors are often viewed as being somewhat similar in terms of their Solutions, the methodologies and techniques that are employed can be massively different. Requiring the adoption of an entirely new set of skills, as opposed to building upon and leveraging existing Microsoft skillsets.
LSA Solutions accept that many organisations may be entirely pre-occupied with ‘business survival’ over the coming weeks. However, eventually a coherent and affordable “Plan for Growth” will be required. A monthly subscription model available from cloud-based Solutions may be overwhelming.
Whether, it’s on-premise or cloud-based Solutions you prefer, there needs to be a proper assessment of the existing financial and operational forecasting processes. We can assist you. LSA Solutions are extremely knowledgeable and select only the very best of the leading Vendors for our endorsement.
For more information, please contact Alan Sutton.
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