Planning departments spend most of their time buried in budgeting, forecasting and planning, which means they have little time to spend on value-added planning work, such as identifying ways to close performance gaps, monitoring competitors and developing strategic recommendations for innovation and growth.
Cloud computing is changing that dynamic, giving planning departments the capacity they need to focus on game-changing projects such as these.
“One of the specific advances from a technology perspective has been cloud computing, which is broadly applied to the use of computing resources that are delivered as a service over the Internet. IT publications are flooded with the origins and nuances of different cloud approaches,” according to finance consultant Steve Player.
In a recent blog post, Player outlined five ways that cloud is freeing the capacity of planning departments to become more effective:
- Speed to implement – Cloud-based planning solutions are faster to turn on and get up and running. The time to value can be dramatically quicker. For the planning department, cloud computing means quicker support.
- Lower upfront cost – Since the cloud allows you to add users as required, the front-end costs are much lower. You can also avoid the front-end cost of hardware and software. This stretches funding to provide planners with more firepower to support line managers.
- Flexibility – It allows organizations to test the water and prove its planning processes before committing large costs. Cloud technology enables planning agility, enabling many small experiments.
- Latest releases are deployed seamlessly by the vendor – This eliminates the need for scheduling IT involvement as well as finance time. Planners can stay focused on planning rather than adapting to vendor upgrade schedules.
- Cloud costs are treated as an operating expense rather than a capital cost – This provides greater flexibility to use capital investments for direct revenue producing assets. Leading edge planning departments know that discretion over capital spending is a leading driver in future success.
As Player summarized, “All these things have the effect of clearing a lot of workspace that can be focused on high value-added activities.”
In related news, a recently released report from Accenture (News - Alert) says what many firms have suspected all along: cloud computing, and the various features and services it can offer, are poised to be a substantial game-changer for the banking sector as a whole, TMCnet’s Steve Anderson reported.
The Accenture report, a group effort from Accenture Financial Services’ Emmanuel Sardet and Accenture Technology Labs’ Emmanuel Vale, details how banks across all markets can use cloud computing to advance their market position, though the execution will change depending on what kind of a market the bank is currently occupying.
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Edited by Rachel Ramsey