Connect with us

Top Stories

Why a limitless approach to planning is critical for growing businesses

Published

on

Rob Douglas

By Rob Douglas, VP for UK & I for Adaptive Insights

The pace of business is accelerating and, as such, there is a need for companies to plan with agility to remain competitive.

However, planning system architectures have long had challenges dealing with large and complex models, forcing many businesses to compromise on user experience and comprehensive modelling, hindering the deliverance of scale, performance, and ease of use. With business data nearly doubling every year* and organisations wanting to involve more business users and functions in their planning, things are only going to get worse.

Out with the old, in with the new

Traditional ways of doing planning, reporting and analytics have been static, manual, siloed, and error-prone.  Users have had to live with an array of limitations on model scale and flexibility, slower analytics, and offline storage of older, less-used calculations. Legacy planning platforms have also limited the number of possible scenarios that can be analysed, constrained dimensionality, offered insufficient amounts of cubes for efficient reporting and analysis, and placed restrictions on how detailed calculations can be. Simply put, existing planning tools are not suited for modern businesses.

As the gap between what planning systems offer and what businesses need continues to widen, the key to catching up is to adopt a limitless and active approach to planning. As organisations need to do more ‘what-if’ analysis across multiple business scenarios and get in-depth, real time, insight into outcomes and dependencies across business functions, a crucial development is the availability of single unified platforms that can support rapid planning even as model complexity mounts and the number of dimensions, versions, and users multiply.

While making such a transformation to a modern sales planning platform might seem overwhelming at first, it boils down to ensuring that your system has four critical things: scalability, optimised calculations, dynamic caching, and a diverse set of modelling options.

Limitless planning

The continuously growing amount of data that organisations are having to analyse means that any planning platform must be able to adapt to even the most rapid increases in scale to remain sustainable. Static planning, which doesn’t access real-time data, simply does not lend itself to doing personnel planning for, say, 100,000 employees, or running multiple scenarios in weighing a possible merger or acquisition. In practice, scalability can be achieved by having the computing engine be a tightly integrated component of the platform, so that workloads can then be distributed dynamically across servers. Through highly optimised protocols, the servers can communicate with each other, as well as give models the compute and memory resources they need, whenever they need them.

With the pace of business today, organizations can’t afford to spend extra time and resources whenever larger sets of data have to be analysed. For example, most businesses will at certain points want to run ‘what-if’ scenarios on the impact of total labour expenses, the cost of goods sold, and gross profits on the profitability of rising labour costs. Having to wait for a complete re-modelling each time a model like that is altered, even in the most miniscule way, slows the process down in a way that quickly becomes inefficient and forces users to compromise on how much and how often to model. A modern sales planning platform therefore needs to be capable of optimising calculations so that only the changed elements of the model are recalculated whenever adjustments are made to it, speeding the process.

For any Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) application, response time is everything and it can be ensured by what is known as “dynamic caching.” A cache is a temporary storage area that uses fewer amounts of faster memory to improve the performance of recently accessed or frequently accessed data, saving the user time and the computing engine the burden of additional traffic. Caching is dynamic when a processing engine learns and optimises on the fly what it needs to store in the temporary storage area, what it needs to calculate, and when it needs to do so in parallel. For a retailer using a modern planning platform, this would mean being able to forecast sales of millions of stock-keeping units by dimensions, such as location or sales channel, all under the hood, while remaining transparent to the modeler or her business partner.

A modern planning platform will also accommodate a diverse set of modelling techniques. Sophisticated analysis of multi-dimensional sales data will include a mixture of tabular or cube formats, which demands a flexible programme that allows for the user to switch back and forth in a flexible and speedy way. For example, a company might want to model personnel or contracts in a tabular format, while exploiting its dimensionality and model revenue as a cube with dimensionality—and even link them all together.

The future of planning

Modern planning is now entering uncharted territory as businesses are having to solve problems at a pace they’ve never encountered before. And at the very moment when businesses must operate with new levels of agility, a new way of planning has arrived. New technologies that can accommodate the data deluge, combined with a new process that leverages real-time data is changing the way today’s businesses can and should plan. Because now more than ever, planning itself is the strategic advantage businesses have been waiting for.

Top Stories

Women inch towards equal legal rights despite COVID-19 risks, World Bank says

Published

on

Women inch towards equal legal rights despite COVID-19 risks, World Bank says 1

By Sonia Elks

(Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Women gained legal rights in nearly 30 countries last year despite disruption due to COVID-19, but governments must do more to ease the disproportionate burden shouldered by women during the pandemic, the World Bank said on Tuesday.

Nations should prioritise gender equality in economic recovery efforts, the bank said, warning that progress on equal rights was threatened by heavier job losses in female-dominated sectors, increased childcare and a surge in domestic violence.

“This pandemic has exacerbated existing inequalities that disadvantage girls and women,” David Malpass, World Bank Group president, said in a statement accompanying the annual “Women, Business and the Law” report.

“Women should have the same access to finance and the same rights to inheritance as men and must be at the centre of our efforts toward an inclusive and resilient recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

A total of 27 countries reformed laws or regulations to give women more economic equality with men in 2019-20, said the report, which grades 190 nations on laws and regulations that affect women’s economic opportunities.

While countries in all of the world’s regions made improvements in the new index – with most reforms addressing pay and parenthood, women on average still have only about three quarters of the rights granted to men, the report found.

Notably, nearly 40 countries brought in extra benefit or leave policies to help employees balance their jobs with the extra childcare needs created by coronavirus restrictions.

But such measures were “few and far between” worldwide and will probably not go far enough to tackle the “motherhood penalty” many women face in the workplace, it said.

The report also noted separate data from a United Nations tool tracking gender-sensitive pandemic responses which found 70% of such measures addressed violence, with just 10% targeting women’s economic security.

The pandemic could result in “a backslide on various hard-won advances in women’s rights achieved in recent years”, said Antonia Kirkland, the global lead on legal equality at women’s rights organisation Equality Now.

“This disruption is a unique opportunity for countries to rebuild more resilient, inclusive and prosperous economies,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by email.

“But this can only be achieved alongside the removal of sex discriminatory laws that prevent women from participating fully and equally in economic, social and family life.”

(Reporting by Sonia Elks @soniaelks; Editing by Helen Popper. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers the lives of people around the world who struggle to live freely or fairly. Visit http://news.trust.org)

Continue Reading

Top Stories

Digital health checks vital to travel recovery, Heathrow says

Published

on

Digital health checks vital to travel recovery, Heathrow says 2

By Sarah Young

LONDON (Reuters) – Digital health checks will be vital to a recovery in foreign travel from the COVID-19 pandemic, Britain’s Heathrow airport said on Wednesday, after a collapse in passenger numbers saw it plunge to a 2 billion pound ($2.8 billion) loss last year.

The UK government said on Monday trips abroad could restart in mid-May as its vaccination campaign kicks in, sparking a surge in holiday bookings.

It is also looking into a digital health passport or app to help ease restrictions, while conceding the benefits have to be weighed against potential risks to civil liberties.

But Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye said digital technology, and international agreements, would be vital to reviving a travel industry on its knees.

“It’s absolutely critical and that’s one of the main things that government needs to work on,” he said, when asked about a digital health app.

At present, paper checks on COVID-19 test results and passenger locator forms take 20 minutes per traveller at Heathrow, making travel near impossible should passenger numbers rise from current low levels.

Britain’s biggest airport said it was “very likely” people would be able to go on their summer holidays, but expects passenger numbers will take time to recover.

The airport, west of London, is forecasting 25 million passengers in the second half of the year, meaning it would be operating at about 50% capacity.

Heathrow, owned by Spain’s Ferrovial, the Qatar Investment Authority, China Investment Corp and others, last year lost its title as Europe’s busiest airport to Paris after its flight schedules shrank more than those of its rivals.

Passenger numbers plunged 73% to 22 million people last year, with half of those travelling during January and February, before the pandemic shut down global travel in March.

Heathrow said it had 3.9 billion pounds of liquidity, giving it sufficient resources to keep going with low levels of traffic until 2023, despite the 2 billion loss before tax for 2020.

The airport urged the government to provide business tax breaks for big airports, something only available to smaller airports so far, and to extend the furlough job support scheme to help it financially before the recovery takes off.

($1 = 0.7044 pounds)

(Reporting by Sarah Young. Editing by James Davey and Mark Potter)

Continue Reading

Top Stories

Britain’s Heathrow sinks to $2.8 billion loss during pandemic

Published

on

Britain's Heathrow sinks to $2.8 billion loss during pandemic 3

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s Heathrow Airport plunged to a 2 billion pound ($2.8 billion) annual loss after passenger numbers collapsed to levels last seen in the 1970s during the pandemic.

Heathrow called on the government to agree a common international travel standard to allow passengers to start flying again in the summer and to provide business tax breaks for airports to help them ride out the crisis.

The airport, west of London, is hopeful that travel markets will reopen from mid-May after a government announcement on easing lockdown on Monday.

Still Britain’s biggest airport, Heathrow last year lost its title as the busiest in Europe to Paris as its flight schedules contracted more than its rival’s.

The airport said on Wednesday that during 2020 passenger numbers shrunk 73% to 22 million people, with half of those people having travelled during January and February before COVID-19 shut down global travel.

The airport sunk to a 2 billion loss before tax on revenues which were down 62% to 1.18 billion pounds, but Heathrow said it had 3.9 billion pounds of liquidity and that could keep it going until 2023.

The airport is owned by Spain’s Ferrovial, the Qatar Investment Authority and China Investment Corp, among others.

($1 = 0.7044 pounds)

(Reporting by Sarah Young; Editing by Kate Holton and James Davey)

Continue Reading
Editorial & Advertiser disclosureOur website provides you with information, news, press releases, Opinion and advertorials on various financial products and services. This is not to be considered as financial advice and should be considered only for information purposes. We cannot guarantee the accuracy or applicability of any information provided with respect to your individual or personal circumstances. Please seek Professional advice from a qualified professional before making any financial decisions. We link to various third party websites, affiliate sales networks, and may link to our advertising partners websites. Though we are tied up with various advertising and affiliate networks, this does not affect our analysis or opinion. When you view or click on certain links available on our articles, our partners may compensate us for displaying the content to you, or make a purchase or fill a form. This will not incur any additional charges to you. To make things simpler for you to identity or distinguish sponsored articles or links, you may consider all articles or links hosted on our site as a partner endorsed link.

Call For Entries

Global Banking and Finance Review Awards Nominations 2021
2021 Awards now open. Click Here to Nominate

Latest Articles

EasyJet to raise up to 1.2 billion euros from bond issue 4 EasyJet to raise up to 1.2 billion euros from bond issue 5
Investing42 mins ago

EasyJet to raise up to 1.2 billion euros from bond issue

By Yoruk Bahceli and Abhinav Ramnarayan AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – EasyJet will raise 1-1.2 billion euros from a seven-year bond sale...

ExxonMobil to sell some UK, North Sea assets to HitecVision for over $1 billion 6 ExxonMobil to sell some UK, North Sea assets to HitecVision for over $1 billion 7
Business1 hour ago

ExxonMobil to sell some UK, North Sea assets to HitecVision for over $1 billion

(Reuters) – Exxon Mobil Corp said on Wednesday it would sell its non-operating interest in its UK and North Sea...

JPMorgan's blockchain payments test is literally out of this world 8 JPMorgan's blockchain payments test is literally out of this world 9
Business1 hour ago

JPMorgan’s blockchain payments test is literally out of this world

By Anna Irrera LONDON (Reuters) – Stuck in space with bills to pay? Don’t worry, the satellites could take care...

Aussie, pound soar on reflation bets; dollar struggles 10 Aussie, pound soar on reflation bets; dollar struggles 11
Trading2 hours ago

Aussie, pound soar on reflation bets; dollar struggles

By Saikat Chatterjee LONDON (Reuters) – The dollar struggled at multi-year lows against the Antipodean currencies and held near a...

Garment workers in Thailand receive full compensation after wages expose 12 Garment workers in Thailand receive full compensation after wages expose 13
Business2 hours ago

Garment workers in Thailand receive full compensation after wages expose

By Nanchanok Wongsamuth BANGKOK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Garment workers in Thailand who were illegally underpaid while making products for...

Is the idea of win-win really a fallacy when it comes to ESG investing?  14 Is the idea of win-win really a fallacy when it comes to ESG investing?  15
Investing3 hours ago

Is the idea of win-win really a fallacy when it comes to ESG investing? 

By Shaw Mabuto, Partner, SPEAR Capital Over the past few years, environmental, social, and governance (ESG)-led investing has grown exponentially....

Women inch towards equal legal rights despite COVID-19 risks, World Bank says 16 Women inch towards equal legal rights despite COVID-19 risks, World Bank says 17
Top Stories3 hours ago

Women inch towards equal legal rights despite COVID-19 risks, World Bank says

By Sonia Elks (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Women gained legal rights in nearly 30 countries last year despite disruption due...

Show us the plan: Investors push companies to come clean on climate 18 Show us the plan: Investors push companies to come clean on climate 19
Investing3 hours ago

Show us the plan: Investors push companies to come clean on climate

By Simon Jessop, Matthew Green and Ross Kerber LONDON/BOSTON (Reuters) – In the past, shareholder votes on the environment were...

Stronger pound dents FTSE 100; Lloyds rises 20 Stronger pound dents FTSE 100; Lloyds rises 21
Trading4 hours ago

Stronger pound dents FTSE 100; Lloyds rises

By Shivani Kumaresan (Reuters) – Britain’s main stock index fell on Wednesday as a stronger pound weighed on exporters, while...

Digital health checks vital to travel recovery, Heathrow says 22 Digital health checks vital to travel recovery, Heathrow says 23
Top Stories4 hours ago

Digital health checks vital to travel recovery, Heathrow says

By Sarah Young LONDON (Reuters) – Digital health checks will be vital to a recovery in foreign travel from the...

Newsletters with Secrets & Analysis. Subscribe Now