New data from Board International has revealed that despite nearly every global business (Global: 97 per cent; UK: 97 per cent) executing some form of planning transformation attempt since 2020, 90 per cent (UK: 91 per cent) report it failing to some degree.
Three years on from Covid-19 caused widespread economic and social disruption, the new Board Planning Transformation Benchmark Survey asked 2,450 decision makers across the UK, US, Germany, France, Italy, Japan, Australia and Singapore how they are faring in light of a series of economic ‘unprecedented’ events. Just 13 per cent (UK: 12 per cent) said they were unaffected by events, such as Covid-19, the war in Ukraine and the cost-of-living crisis.
As a result, 85 per cent (UK: 78 per cent) of businesses say planning is now taken more seriously across their organisation; 76 per cent (UK: 65 per cent) have seen budgets for planning transformation and planning teams increase; and 94 per cent (UK: 90 per cent) are being asked for a more strategic approach to planning by their boards and/or investors.
The report highlights that 90 per cent (UK: 91 per cent) of transformations failed for one reason or another. A lack of technical capability within the organisation is cited as the top cause of failed transformations by over a quarter (Global: 26 per cent; UK: 22 per cent) of decision makers. Lack of investment in skills (Global: 23 per cent; UK: 22 per cent) and scarcity of team resources (Global: 22 per cent; UK: 24 per cent) came in close second and third places.
In addition to skills gaps, the data reveals wide usage of inefficient planning practices are preventing progress. When asked what tools they use to plan, nearly all (Global: 98 per cent; UK: 97 per cent) of the decision makers responded that they do some of their planning on spreadsheets like Excel – a tool built in 1985. And planners are taking on average 27 hours (UK: 25 hours) a week to model different scenarios for their business.
The need for a new approach is made clear when asked how ready decision-makers feel to navigate the next ‘globally significant’ event on the horizon. When asked if they felt ready to cope with continued supply chain disruption (Global: 29 per cent; UK: 31 per cent), rising interest rates (Global: 22 per cent; UK: 22 per cent), another pandemic (Global: 32 per cent; UK: 35 per cent), or a recession (Global: 34 per cent; UK: 29 per cent), around a said they were not.
Marco Limena, Board CEO said: “With all the uncertainty that we see in the world, business leaders need to recognize a new reality: the era of continuous disruption is here. Those seven words are meant as a wake-up call for organisations to continuously adapt and find new capabilities and efficiencies to deal with today’s challenging environment. Continuous planning is an imperative, and the good news is that companies that advance their digital capabilities can steer their business at the speed of change and gain a competitive edge.”