Implementing Supply Chain Operations Reference (SCOR) model made easy using Anaplan:

SCOR is the acronym for the Supply Chain Operations Reference model. It is a process used to evaluate an organization’s supply chain. The SCOR model was developed by the supply chain council with the assistance of 70 of the world’s leading manufacturing companies. SCOR is based on a static model that defines the supply chain structure along with supplychain metrics and scorecards used to evaluate performance and identify areas for improvement.

SCOR Definition:        

The SCOR model describes the business activities associated with satisfying a customer’s demand, which include Plan, Source, Make, Deliver, Return, and Enable. Use of the model includes analyzing the current state of a company’s processes and goals, quantifying operational performance, and comparing company performance to benchmark data. SCOR has developed a set of metrics and best practices information that companies can use to evaluate their supply chain performance.

The model is based on 4 major “pillars”:

  • Process modelling and re-engineering.
  • Performance measurements.
  • Best practices.
  • Skills.

There are four stages to the evolution of such a supply chain network:

  1. Stage 1: Supply Management. The most basic stage, built around an internal MRP system that is lead-time driven.
  2. Stage 2: Supply Chain Management.
  3. Stage 3: Supply Chain Integration.
  4. Stage 4DemandSupply Network Collaboration.

Connected supply chain planning for synchronized outcomes using Anaplan:

In today’s constantly changing market, a supply plan must be resilient to meet demand consistently and efficiently. Supply chain planning with Anaplan provides real-time, end-to-end visibility and   “what-if” scenario planning to ensure an accurate supply forecast across your entire network and to empower teams, including suppliers and other network partners, to collaborate across your business.

What is Anaplan:

With Anaplan’s Optimizer hyperscale computing, Supply chain leaders can convert complex decisions into actionable choices by harnessing real-time signals with enterprise-wide line of sight.

as a purpose-built platform connecting people, data, and plans, Anaplan delivers a unified real-time, cloud-based environment to optimize planning and democratize decision-making across all lines of business and business activities, from strategic to operational levels.

product is a cloud computing, multi-tenant data architecture SaaS platform with a patented, in-memory calculation engine (the Hyperblock).

Anaplan applies hyperscale computing across planning in supply, demand, sales and operations and Finance. Orchestrate actionable insights into action by converting constant change to your advantage.

Anaplan: Functionality for the entire strategic planning process

The functionality and flexibility of the Anaplan platform means it can be used at every stage of the strategy formulation and implementation process. They can also quickly integrate data from other parts of the business to see the recent history of key drivers that underpin the longer-term strategic planning model. Since Anaplan is designed for self-management, users can quickly create and test new scenarios delivering just the type of agility and understanding that is frequently lacking in Supply Chain Management (SCM) today.

Model your supply chain with intelligence:

A resilient supply chain should be your competitive advantage. It should be enabled to real-time collaboration across departments, functions, suppliers, and customers.

  • Create a complete, high-fidelity digital twin of your supply chain to unlock end-to-end visibility and control.
  •   Establish planning horizons, from daily to long-term, that match the pace of your business.
  • Aggregate data into a single source of truth, allowing changes in one area to immediately roll to all others.

At Solvanni, we have made the life simple for customers building the SCOR model in Anaplan platform that you can easily consume and implement by integrating your data and standardizing your processes across Plan, Source, Make, Deliver, Return and Enable processes

  • Anaplan also negates the need to resort to a stand-alone solution for Supply Chain Management, Integration and Demand-Supply Network Collaboration. Anaplan based Supply Chain and Operations Solutions helps management teams to deconstruct their strategy (i.e., identify what factors are critical to a Supply Chain Management success and track them by monitoring the appropriate key performance indicators [KPIs]).
  •  Critically, Anaplan based SCOR Framework Implementation in Supply Chain also monitors the assumptions that underpin strategy and progress against strategic imperatives so that the management team gets the early warnings needed to react and change course before it is too late

Anaplan delivers rapid time to value.  By contrast, Anaplan’s flexible data architecture and built-in intelligence means implementations can be rapid and iterative, with changes and enhancements being made at any time. This also helps you adapt rapidly when your demand and supply changes.

Source: SCOR model and SCRO Implementation Racetrack images from ASCM/ APICS

Why an organization needs SCOR?

The SCOR process can go into many levels of process detail to help a company analyze its supply chain. It gives companies an idea of how advanced its supply chain is and when an organization is into activities pertaining to Globalization like

  1. Introducing innovative new products.
    1.  Acquiring Companies.
    1. Enabling new business model.
    1. New Go-To-Market Strategy 

Also, when an organization is affected by changing market conditions due to

  1. Global pandemic impact like COVID -19.
  2. Changing relationship between U.S and rest of the world (Eg.- China).
  3. Natural disaster across the globe

It makes it imperative for the organization to get in place quickly a new supply chain strategy

  1. To align to changing business strategy based on current prevailing scenarios.
  2. To support different business model.
  3. To build agility and flexibility to adopt to changing market conditions.
  4. To establish metrics to measure progress and be a best-in-class supply chain in the industry.

We at Solvanni help organizations to Implement SCOR model in the supply chain management by ensuring we satisfy the above said important supply chain requirements and at the same time we take a cross-enterprise integrated approach, by tightly integrating with other processes and systems.

How to implement SCOR model metrics and performance measurements:

There are three levels used to measure supply chain performance. These levels help standardize supply chain performance metrics so that companies can be evaluated against other businesses, even if they are operating differently. A smaller organization can be compared to a bigger organization, or businesses can judge supply chain performance against companies in other industries.

The three levels include:

  • Level 1: Defining scope, including geographies, segments and context. At this level, the focus is on the six main process configurations: plan, source, make, deliver, return and enable.
  • Level 2: Configuration of the supply chain, including geographies, segments and products. At Level 2, metrics are high level and evaluated across multiple SCOR processes. This level includes subtype categories that fall under the “parent” categories found in Level 1.
  • Level 3: Process element details, identifying key business activities within the chain. At this level, you can associate any Level 2 process or subcategory with a Level 3 process.

Challenges faced by Organizations in Data collection and implementing SCOR Metrics:

Every organization is challenged with measuring the industry standard way and data collection and measuring the right way. Solvanni’s expertise in Data management, deep Supply chain expertise and Anaplan ready App solution brings the value to customers in terms of time to value, ease of implementing SCOR processes, metrics and measuring KPIs to drive internal organizational process excellence and with external partner customers, suppliers, logistics partners and transportation providers.

Solvanni’ s SCOR model in Anaplan helps companies:

  • Benchmark against peers, best-in class and laggards.
  • Translate business strategy to supply chain strategy: How closely is the supply chain strategy meeting business plan objectives?
  • Measure supply chain performance: How are you doing, how are you trending?
  • Understand relative performance compared to competitors: How are you doing compared to your supply chain strategy
  • Identify and monitor processes that most likely cause the performance gaps: What improvement targets should you pursue?

The Solvanni’s SCOR model in Anaplan  can be easily configured into many levels of process detail to help a customers analyse its supply chain,  gives idea of how advanced their supply chain processes are. The helps customers understand how the 5 steps repeat and connected between suppliers, the company, and customers. Each step is a link in the supply chain that is critical in getting a product successfully along each level.

Solvanni’s SCOR Model in Anaplan delivers

 1) Building a technology investment roadmap.

 2) In search of return on investment (ROI) for capacity creating a supply chain strategy.

 3) Implementing supply chain performance improvements.

 4) Improving sales and operations planning.

 5) Developing organizational talent, support, and competence.

 6) Maximize use of existing technology.

 7) Achieving operational excellence.

 8) Due diligence as part of a merger or acquisition.

 9) Globalizing and managing business processes.

10) Integrating with the greater value chain, lean, six sigma, and SCOR to build a better project portfolio for an effective and efficient supply chain organization.

We help Customers to start measuring the top performance attributes a company is looking forward to focus and its related Level-1, Level-2, level-3 metrices and the data that are needed to measure at all these levels. Below is a sample depth of metrics and count of data points we work with customers to integrated SCOR model in Anaplan with enterprise source systems

Performance AttributesLevel-1 Metric(s)Level-2 Metric CountLevel-3 Metric CountData Points
ReliabilityPerfect Order Fulfillment41329
ResponsivenessOrder fulfillment cycle time53233
AgilityUpside/Downside Supply Chain Adaptability Value at Risk15
CostSupply Chain Management Costs Costs of Goods Sold92243
AssetCash-to-Cash Cycle Time & Return on Supply Chain Fixed Assets Return on Working Capital81236

Solvanni can help Customers in Data collection (as in above table) from Source systems, Data sanity check, Cleanup and Governance: All these can happen in parallel for each of the Performance attributes while we help customers to implement and standardize their processes based on SCOR model

The industry standard metrics and how Solvanni helps a Company can measure them:

Solvanni follows a process-oriented approach as recommended by Gartner to measure Supply Chain business capability which provides the ability to measure a Process maturity and related Systems capability.

Solvanni ensures Customer gets to

  • Align Processes with Industry standard practices and enable scalability and agility of related IT applications
    • Standard Metrics to measure and identify areas for improvement – Projects and Enhancements
    • Prioritize improvement initiatives based on quantitative analysis
    • Bring one common definition and language of communication

Using these above Charts, customers can set their internal goals and measure their performances month over month, quarter over quarter and year over year.

The SCOR model has proven to benefit companies that use it to identify supply chain problems. The model enables full leverage of capital investment, creation of a supply chain road map, alignment of business functions, and an average of two to six times return on investment.

Thus, Solvanni can help you with its Anaplan based SCOR implementation to achieve real-time line of sight and ensure accurate supply forecasts across your extended enterprise to meet demand consistently and efficiently thus helping to identify critical supply planning patterns and signals with insight and a single source of truth.

Pls call us or send email to for a demo and discuss your process standardization and excellence through SCOR Implementation journey

How you can leverage Solvanni’s unique Positioning & Capabilities to reduce your current supply chain risks?

The unprecedented supply chain disruption caused by COVID-19 has had severe operational and financial consequences, with decision makers and planners having to address issues related to

  • Demand drops
  • Surges by segment
  • Supply shortages
  • Inventory placement challenges
  • Reduced productivity & lot more.

Manufacturing Companies must focus on the immediate challenges of keeping their businesses stable. They must form rapid response teams to gain a better understanding of their production demand changes, labor support challenges and supply chain ecosystem constraints.

They also need to focus on building a business that is as future-proof as possible, using new resilient working model to increase reliability, responsiveness and cost management, sustaining the product operations, and human capital workforce through the crisis. As well as being essential now, these future-proofing actions will also help sustain competitive advantage to accelerate business growth once economies rebound.

Three immediate actions to build agility now and in the future:

  1. Understand the impact of demand disruptions. 
  2. Ensure manufacturing ecosystem viability.
  3. Rebalance physical production network assets.

  1. Understand the impact of demand disruptions

Manufacturers must rapidly identify the products that are most critical for stabilization and growth, shore up associated supply chains, and reconcile critical skills to meet near term and future demand.

Demand priorities in product portfolios have changed drastically. We see three key scenarios affecting manufacturing assets:

  • Manufacturers are shifting to address opportunities for hypergrowth (e.g., canned, shelf stable and frozen goods, respirators, personal protective equipment).
  • Manufacturers are transitioning and repurposing legacy lines to make new products to support the community (e.g., distillers producing hand sanitizers).
  • Manufacturers are slowing or shutting down production volumes, where demand has drastically fallen off or supply chains have been disrupted,

In all scenarios, manufacturers need to rapidly identify the products that are most critical for stabilization and growth, shore up associated supply chains, and reconcile the critical skills to meet near term and future demand.

2. Ensure manufacturing ecosystem viability:

Manufacturers must understand the implications of COVID-19 and contract provisions for each critical ecosystem player, including

  • Sourcing Material suppliers
  • Sourcing Contractor companies
  • Sourcing Co-manufacturers
  • Sourcing Logistics providers.

Ecosystem relationships typically suffer the most during massive market disruptions. Given the increasing adoption of ecosystem-based global supply chains, this is a challenge for manufacturers.

3. Rebalance physical production network assets:

The rapidly changing demand/product mix, combined with workforce and ecosystem availability challenges, may be substantially disrupting manufacturers’ existing physical production networks. Companies must make fast and accurate decisions on the capital investment, new technology investments with new supply source manufacturers, enabling new suppliers through knowledge sharing collaboratively and effort required to redeploy underutilized assets or build greater flexibility in current assets in the short term. At the same time, they must ensure those decisions do not inhibit future growth.                       

Looking to the future: Solvanni recommends taking the following actions:

Manufacturers must take a hard look at existing operating models – where and how work gets done and for what reason, challenging legacy ways of working, and building in more transparency and intelligence across core ecosystem partners and the entire physical supply chain network.
There are essential steps for manufacturers to reshape themselves into partnership-enabled, resilient, and agile organizations. Manufacturers must drop the idea of suppliers and choose 9*

Important Pointers for the manufacturing companies especially in U.S going forward,

  • Work with planners to confirm customers’ and the market’s actual needs to segment demand of critical products needed for production reprioritization.
  • Drop the idea of suppliers and choose partners instead.

  • Find the right partners who do sourcing, manufacturing capability assessment, proper screening, pilot batch manufacturing and supplier qualification.
  • Be open towards investments with new or strategic partners on new technology and process capability enablement
  • Segment operations based on market outlook, taking into consideration supply chain input for customer demographics, geographies, market sales channels, and decide which production is in high demand which requires repurposing, slowing down, shutting down or re-channeling.
  • Develop rapid demand and supply scenarios to confirm operational feasibility.

  • Develop a road map for the next wave of in-demand changes and product needs.
  • Assess whether co-manufacturing alliance partners and the extended ecosystem are still viable options and whether they can meet any new demand/product mixes.

  • Review contracts to determine if any obligations need to be changed in the light of the current situation i.e., many companies are choosing to lease their equipment instead of selling upfront to give advantage to their customers in terms of cash flow which is the biggest challenge during these crisis situations
  • Analyze the demand/product mix, workforce, and ecosystem to identify critical facilities, equipment and processes.
  • Ensure proper alignment of their Supply chain partner’s deliverables with their overall strategic goals.

Solvanni’ s solution to the present supply-chain debacle:

To overcoming above said challenges, manufacturers are looking beyond their traditional outsourcing destinations.

Sourcing image

Large and small manufacturers in the US have largely been the first movers in this direction. US manufacturers exploring nearshore destinations are stumbling upon human-resource issues within the country and Mexico, and protectionist tariffs in South America. On the other hand, the Asia Pacific region, mainly India, has been emerging as a desirable geography, given the lower costs of operation and higher availability of quality Supply chain partners. Steady FDI inflow into the region over the last decade has also improved its USP as a potential supplier market with a robust manufacturing environment.

Despite the advantages, a nagging concern for manufacturers looking for newer options is finding the right suppliers, who will not only be resource providers but also close partners. Manufacturers are also looking for similar operating-cost environments as in their current locations. They want to ensure proper alignment with their overall strategic goals. To find the right fit, they are loaded with the tedious tasks of

  • Identifying suppliers
  • Evaluating technical and financial ability of the providers.
  • Sourcing, manufacturing capability assessment,
  • Screening
  • Quality checks
  • Pilot batch manufacturing
  • Supplier qualification
  • Ensuring a steady and reliable mass production output capacity with the supplier partners.

Solvanni is the one-stop destination to solve all the above listed tedious tasks. As industry leaders in supply chain efficiencies, our gamut of offerings ranges from physical sourcing, procurement to logistics.

Solvanni have significant presence in India with its own offices and work force. India is fast emerging most sought-after destination for finding the right Supply chain partners. Also, India has been emerging as a desirable geography, given the lower costs of operation and higher availability of wide range of raw materials, semi-finished and finished components. 

Our unique standing in the market as an end-to-end supply chain services provider – covering both the Manufacturing companies of U.S with its head office in Fremont, California, U.S and having good presence and capacity with its branch offices and vibrant work force spread across in the sub-continent of India (APAC)- is a distinct value proposition we bring to the table. Since Solvanni operates globally in the Americas and the APAC region, we are uniquely placed to do the legwork and be the one point of contact to all your sourcing needs. The long process, which could potentially run into several months, can be brought down to a few weeks because of our extensive supplier network.

We work closely with various manufacturers in APAC to connect you and establish business operations quickly for raw materials, semi-finished and finished engineered components for manufacturing, high-tech, automotive, wireless, CPG, engineering, and process industries etc.

With our extensive supplier network and vast experience in the procurement arena, we can cater to all your supply-chain needs.

We offer complete solutions right from

The only way out is to develop supply chain resilience and to reduce risk. We understand the difficulties in planning to do so. We are here to help you overcome your supply-chain sourcing and procurement challenges and to be your single-point contact to source, procure, transform, and deliver.

   Identifying suppliers  Testing
   Financial and technical audits  Validation
   Design engineering  Inventory management
   Precision manufacturing  Logistics services

Call us, tell us your challenge. we are here to solve your business problem

Boosting organizational agility with Long Range Planning

Long Range Planning (LRP) is a strategic blueprint for organizational growth plans – competing in existing markets, expansion to new markets, new product investments, supply chain improvements etc. It includes all activities that are vital to achieving financial goals. Long range plans maybe developed at the corporate or the business unit level, depending on the objectives, and the annual operating plans are based on the LRP. With a focus on key areas of productivity and service quality, LRP helps set a direction for the entire organization, driving teams to invest the necessary efforts for targeted results and empowering business leaders to make informed decisions.

How LRP helps optimize enterprise processes

At the outset, LRP breaks down the high -level strategy into specific, actionable initiatives that accommodate both long-term and short-term objectives. It eliminates tedious, manual efforts that results in multiple forecasts, filled with data errors, and not aligned to the broader busines goals, thus reducing the cycle time to produce annual budgets and long-range forecasts. Optimizing key decisions around margins and profitability, product launches and M&A, it encourages the participation of business stakeholders, integrating disjointed processes and groups within the organization. LRP solutions from reputed vendors have the ability to integrate customers, channels, and products, connecting top-down financial models with bottom-up operational plans. Most importantly helps organizations to plan their investments in to processes, technology, acquisitions and divestitures for next 3 to 5 years and align it with overall organization’s growth objectives and goals

The role of P&L, balance sheet and cash-flow in LRP

The income statement (IS), the balance sheet (BS) and cash flow (CF) statements are the pillars of both internal and external performance reporting. However, the real time integration of financial plans, sales forecasts, inventory planning with the balance sheet, has always been a challenge for organizations, and the lack of visibility into cash flows and income statement makes it difficult to incorporate external data. This creates a misalignment between corporate strategy and that of individual business units, consuming a lot of time and effort to consolidate the multiple inputs into accurate statements. Leveraging tools that facilitate real-time scenario modeling can help optimize inter-company cash distributions and provide higher transparency and visibility. Many leading solutions offer multiple easy-to-use integration options to incorporate external data as well as native drill-down capabilities that can highlight income statement drivers and outliers. The ability of top-down target setting aligns business units with corporate strategy. Finance teams can then integrate all strategic initiatives into the income statement and create cash flow models and balance sheet, which are critical to ensure that the organization has the ability to fund LRP, and accordingly make changes and modifications to their LRP. The LRP includes all three financial statements with a specific focus on Revenues, Expenses, and Cash Flow needs.

LRP adoption – use cases

A European car audio company was struggling with inaccurate data, a lethargic analysis process, and isolated finance functions across geos. Partnering with a global cloud solutions provider, they connected finance and sales across business and built an end-to-end RFQ process that enhanced collaboration, speeding up “what-if” analysis, enabling the finance team to support a growing, without any increase in headcount.

A global insurance firm relied on proprietary tools, spreadsheets, databases, and even pen and paper for planning, which resulted in months of planning. Centralizing processes on an automated platform, the client discarded many manual processes, leading to better transparency and planning completion in just one week.

LRP partnering makes all the difference

Long range plans extrapolate future performance based on historical data and financials. But for most, LRP is not worth the efforts that go into developing it. Apart from being a time and resource heavy process, there are also a lot of assumptions made, and at the end of the day not many know what went into it. That is why having an LRP partner can make this process more efficient and enable businesses a real-time impact to metrics views of the critical drivers, such as Gross Margins, EPS, EBITDA, etc. The increased visibility and transparency into business drivers that matter powers quality decisions and a much better alignment of plans to goals.

The multiple dimensions of driver based budgeting

As many CFOs and Finance managers would agree, traditional budgeting is most often a tedious and time-consuming process. Even after putting in months of dedicated effort, there are frequent disconnects between budgeting and actual execution. Budgeting and planning strategies that are not in sync can lead to decision-making delays and decelerate business outcomes. With typical finance roles evolving to include operations and decision-making responsibilities, budgeting too has transformed to take on a more business centric perspective.

Driver based budgeting is a futuristic approach that creates models around key business drivers and connects to operational objectives. It is the simple answer to complex budgeting queries and helps finance managers draw an accurate picture of the overall business. With driver-based budgeting, finance is no longer an isolated function, but an important step towards integrated business planning. A quick look at some of the key benefits of this budgeting model.

What does it bring to the table?

  1. Enhanced productivity: In traditional budgeting, a lot of detailed planning is called for, even in scenarios when that is not required. Driver based budgeting eliminates such un-necessary details and non- productive work. Relieving many business users from creating and maintaining standard departmental spreadsheets, it helps enhance overall productivity of the business.
  2. Quicker financials:  With driver-based models in place, finance teams can quickly and easily develop regular financial analysis. With the financial data organized around the key drivers identified for the organization, understanding and communicating the same to other business functions is a much easier task. In the case of changes in any of the drivers, same can be quickly updated. This also builds in greater agility in the system.
  3. Better insights: Driver based budgeting also provides much higher visibility with details available in multiple formats and also incorporates multiple levels of detail. With all operational details available within the model itself implies that necessary action can be taken sooner than later, thus empowering organization-wide decision-making.
  4. Higher accountability: Traditional budgeting creates islands while Driver based budgeting bridges the gaps with a higher degree of accountability and flexibility. With a higher transparency, this model ensures that all contributors are accountable for their submissions. The responsibility in turn ensures better alignment to operational resources and demand.

Leveraging drivers for quality decision-making

Implementing key drivers has some obvious benefits. The higher visibility at multiple levels makes identifying the activities that drive business decisions quite simple. And since most drivers are connected, it enables financial manager to run multiple scenarios for enhanced forecasts. Senior leadership can pro-actively take key decision instead of waiting for things to unfold.

Hurdles to driver-based budgeting implementation

One of the biggest challenges of the driver-based model is organizational alignment. If people do not understand their specific role and accountability within the framework, then organizations may not be able to realize the real value of driver-based budgeting. Secondly, driver-based budgeting is based on the assumption of everything being variable in the short term. This might pose a challenge while accounting for certain fixed-cost elements.

Driver based budgeting is here to stay

Driver-based budgeting is not a new concept, albeit an important one as it enhances the five Asagility, alignment, awareness, accuracy, and accountability by connecting people, operations and financials. The concept is smart and simple, the execution may need some work. There is no doubt that the ‘pros’ far outweigh the ‘cons’ of this model. Also, for bigger organizations, spreadsheet planning is no longer viable. This model empowers businesses by letting data do the talking. With time business tend to get better insights and understand the various working parts leading to quicker and better business decisions. With a technology partner who can deliver transformations on cloud, organizations can avoid un-necessary delays, create a customized solution and reap the many benefits of this model with ease.

Driving long term business value with efficient revenue and OpEx planning

Envisaging the financial future of the business is not easy but is critical for long term growth and profitability. Organizations with strong OpEx and revenue planning processes and tools are able to make informed business decisions and stay ahead of the curve at all times. However, we see the vast majority still struggling with manual processes, with a high dependency on spreadsheets which results in an error-prone and lengthy planning process. The outcome of such processes is in-consistent and in-accurate forecasts that ultimately lead to poor and ineffective decision-making. The low adoption of AI and analytics also implies that the traditional tools cannot adapt to changing circumstances and factor in business growth and other customer variables.

Re-imagining the finance function

The ability to make frequent adjustments enables better planning and more accurate forecasts. A pre-requisite for revenue and OpEx planning success is the in-built agility to quickly fine-tune in response to unexpected circumstances and market dynamics, as well as the resilience to accelerate revenue goals while aligning organizational execution to executive strategy. Let us look at the groundwork needed to improve multifaceted Revenue and OpEx planning processes:

OpEx optimization:

Optimizing operating expenses provides the much-needed visibility into current spending and helps align the same to corporate objectives. It is important to ensure that the spending is against the right investment (people, projects, etc.) and not just another un-planned cost-cutting initiative. An efficient OpEx plan helps identify unnecessary spending and arms leadership with the relevant insight to determine areas that can be enhanced for higher productivity. For many CFOs, people productivity is the single and most common area of concern that contributes to a large portion of the overall organizational OpEx. Optimization efforts involve ensuring the right alignment of people skills to organizational objectives for higher productivity and reduced OpEx.

Designing scalable technology solutions

Even today the Finance function continues to reel under legacy technologies and the slow pace of change.  Many organizations are still locked in a spreadsheet world. While investing in new-age planning and forecasting solutions, organizations should prioritize agility or the ability to adapt quickly to changing business scenarios.  Modern solutions can leverage business drivers, zero-based methodologies, and other means to plan operating expenses and provide immediate aggregation and P&L impact. Most also understand the impact as information is updated, and have a dynamic set of drivers to model revenues and associated expense structures. The ability to evaluate the impact of operating expenses and implement course correction as required, provide real-time aggregation and income statement impact for leadership, and analyze various “what-if” scenarios for insightful decision-making, are some of the other key tenets of modern-day financial planning and forecasting solutions.

Establishing a collaborative culture:

Advanced technology solutions will not enable planning efficiency and success if the organization remains embedded in age-old practices with little or no alignment between different business functions. Planning success calls for a strong finance leadership with practices in place to cascade top-down targets and aligns to bottom-up plans for consensus-building and collaboration. CFOs and other visionaries need to align revenue targets to long-term strategic planning and factor in other aspects of geography, product, business unit, etc. Measuring revenue growth and variances, and then building in course-corrections as required, is an organization-wide initiative.

A case in point- Top global insurer drives efficient, decisive action

A fortune 500 insurance company was spending weeks on data compilation. Their fragmented tools and manual processes slowed down decision-making, thus intensifying the competitive pressure to compete, deliver value, serve customers in a timely and efficient manner. Integrating multiple planning processes on a single platform, the enterprise achieved a 25% faster annual planning cycle and 3x faster expense reporting and end-of-month financial statements.

Connected Planning for financial success

Revenue and OpEx planning is one such activity that touches every part of the organisation, connecting people, processes, data, and technology. If executed properly, it has the potential to drive better business decisions and create a competitive advantage for the organization.  Leveraging the right tools to enable vast scenario modeling, predictive and prescriptive analytics can assist organizations to better react to market risks and opportunities and deliver long-term business value.

Dynamic, collaborative and intelligent financial organizations

Connected planning to infuse new rigor in finance

For long, businesses have built their financial planning and budgets based on past performances, and these budgets have been an essential part of an organization’s overall annual strategy. The increased uncertainty in the current times has placed CFOs under duress to anticipate and react to market changes more quickly and efficiently. Finance organizations are also walking a tightrope with the realization that financial plans, budgets and forecasts need to reflect the current reality and not that of bygone quarters. The typical first-generation planning tools for finance, the likes of Oracle-Hyperion, SAP and IBM (Cognos Planning and then TM1), have not been able to keep pace with the market evolution. They fell out of favor with finance managers and leaders owing to the expensive infrastructure, heavy reliance on IT systems, long implementation times, complex upgrades, and lack of integration capabilities. With financial planning technology having remained stagnant for a long time, very recently business have started to appreciate the need for continuous planning and an access to real-time plans, budgets and forecasts throughout the year.

Connected planning to the rescue

The continuous struggles of finance teams to deliver timely and relevant insights has led to the evolution of connected planning solutions that integrate people, data and processes across the enterprise. The new systems could easily automate manual data for quick insights to enable business decision-making.  Let’s look at how these new solutions take a renewed approach to traditional finance challenges.

  • Easy monitoring and measurement: By integrating source systems and processes, connected planning enables quick and easy generation of financial reports and dashboards. Financial leaders get an overview of financials in the form of easy-to-understand dashboards, and can also insert KPIs that need to be tracked continuously or at certain intervals, as the case may be. With complete visibility of financials, business leaders can quickly anticipate performance gaps between actuals, targets and forecasts and take remedial actions.
  • Comprehensive analysis: Connected planning solutions allow financial planners an in-depth understanding of the performance, drilling into rich financial details, benchmarking actual vs. budgeted numbers, analyzing cash flows, calculating forecast trends, and reviewing the overall financial growth of the organization.
  • Situation analysis: With such industry leading tools, financial planners can also anticipate the impact of alternate course of action Financial teams can analyze multiple scenarios to determine the most appropriate course of action and thus enhance strategic and effective decision making and execution.
  • Multi-level integrations: Most leading connected planning solutions integrate easily with existing ERP and other source systems to create a unified view of the business. Thus, in addition to automatic data collection, teams can also collect data in traditional formats such as excel documents. The availability of this option is beneficial for business units that are still in the process of implementing or in-between ERP transitions.

Connected planning in action: a customer journey

A global FMCG organization took a phase-wise approach in their connected planning journey. They started out by mitigating their immediate challenges around revenue forecast, P&L budget, long range plan, and profitability modeling. In the second phase, they connected volume and revenue plans, followed by workforce and project portfolio plans in phase 3. The fourth phase took care of production planning and inventory optimization challenges, and in the fifth phase OpEx and CapEx issues were streamlined. Trade promotion planning was integrated in the sixth phase and then a zero based budgeting initiative was deployed in the final phase.

From automation to transformation – the path to connected planning success

Connected planning takes organizations on a transformation journey. Starting with immediate pain points, organizations gain efficiency by automating basic financial activities. The next stop on the journey is driving agility by adopting best practices and connecting multiple finance use cases. At the final stage, real transformation happens with the integration of key business units – supply chain, sales, marketing and HR, creating a dynamic, collaborative, and intelligent organization.

Inspiring the right sales behaviors with incentives that matter


“The sales performance management market grew 14%, to $1.099 billion, in 2019.”

                                                 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Sales Performance Management, 2020

There was a time when prospects were completely dependent on their sales representative’s advice and expertise to take the final purchase decision. For the sales team, incentive structures were simple and directly proportional to the number of units sold. With the dawn of the internet/information era, the role of sales reps changed drastically, with a lot of new variables like  external market, competition, internal influences, and trade policies coming into play. The elite and educated consumers present a higher resistance to traditional selling efforts. And, in the last year, with little or no face to face client discussions and longer than average buying cycles, the sales reps’ job became tougher than ever before. In a similar vein, designing a sales incentive mechanism has become tedious and over complicated, leading to  poor sales motivation and even poorer results.

Designing an optimized sales incentive mechanism

“By 2022, 40% of B2B companies with over 100 payees will deploy SPM solutions to reduce hidden incentive compensation overpayments.”                                                                                                                                     Gartner Magic Quadrant for Sales Performance Management, 2020

Sales leaders are always looking for the optimum combination of individual selling, team collaboration, organizational objectives, and growth to design modern incentive plans. Teaming these with the right sales behaviors that overcome competitive pressures and drive enhanced customer experience is again not very easy with rigid incentive plans. Overcompensation is another big challenge in designing such plans. Here are four key aspects of an effective enterprise incentive management and sales planning tool.

  • Quick incentive calculation

This is a key requirement of the incentive management solution as accurate and timely incentive payouts go a long way in boosting seller motivation. Leading tools have the capability to automatically import HR data, ensuring that employees are compensated on time for their respective roles. They also optimize the speed and accuracy of compensation data by automating complex calculations that ingest multiple input data at an individual, divisional and organizational level.

  • Real-time visibility

The incentive solution should provide real time access to sales performance. This empowers both sales leaders and the frontline team to take quicker action and meet organizational objectives. Access to sales performance data and compensation structures also minimizes internal disputes and facilitates the sales leadership to intervene and take corrective action when needed.

  • Scenario planning

Some of the leading incentive management tools in the market allow the modeling of multiple potential compensation structures and assess their effectiveness before rolling them out to the sales team. This enables the study of potential changes and their impact on the plans. Models with different combinations of territory and quota information allow quick modification of compensation plans to drive business priorities at a particular point of time. 

  • Predictive analytics

Integration of intelligence in the incentive management solution can help forecast compensation earnings and quota attainment trends. These, in turn, help allocate budgets and take preventive/precautionary measures in case of not so positive forecasts. Analytics also help sales leaders determine whether the program is giving the desired results, enabling the sales team to achieve their targets, delivering enough returns, etc. Predictive analytics solutions see much higher trust and accountability with the sales team.

Quicker incentives drive sales culture – A case in point

A top telecommunications company was unable to scale up their sales reporting process which took an average of three weeks. Their outdated, manual systems inhibited the free flow of information, increasing call center interactions from . Adopting a simple and efficient incentive management solution allowed real-time visibility into sales and incentive data, bringing down sales reporting time to one week. The system also reduced error in payment margins from >10% to <1%, and enabled quality incentives based on sales tactics. All these highly improved sales morale and enhanced team performance.

Rewarding deserving sales behaviors

Incentive structures should first achieve what they were primarily designed for, that is motivating sales folks to add to the top line, become the successful interface with the client while furthering the organization’s larger business objectives. An optimized incentive solution will ensure a fair compensation and reward deserving employees. The key would be to identify and retrofit one that matches the unique challenges and requirements of an enterprise.  

Sales Forecasting: The crystal ball for sales leaders. Spearheading sales success – The role of forecasting

“The global potential market for copying machines is 5,000, at most.” IBM to Xerox in 1959.

After launching the first copier in 1959, Xerox garnered revenues of over $500 million in five years’ time. It is hard to overstate the importance of an accurate forecast. IBM’s legendary statement to Xerox in the fifties is a case in point.  Sales teams worldwide have relied on market forecasts for a better understanding of the organization’s go-to-market efforts. Although recent world events make forecasting a herculean task for all involved, accurate forecasts are not only a means of generating higher revenue, but they also lend credibility to the forecasting organization/solution in the market.

Sales forecasting data finds value across the enterprise. While the sales function leverages it for revenue generation from new accounts and to maximize cross-sell and up-sell opportunities from key accounts, other functions also find forecasts effective.  Planning of production cycles, setting financial budgets, material purchases, territory planning, channel partner strategies, and many other key enterprise activities rely on accurate forecasts. Let us look at forecasting from the viewpoint of the sales leadership and how a dynamic forecasting tool can support that agenda.

Chief sales and revenue officers bear the primary responsibility of enhancing enterprise profitability and growth. The organization looks up to them to provide direction on when, how and with what to enter new markets, as they strategize on ways and means to achieve corporate objectives. An accurate sales forecast empowers sales leaders in strategic decision-making as they have precise insight into sales numbers vs. market performance.

Simple, predictive and iterative – Three must haves for forecasting success

With increasing complexities of business and technology ecosystems, simplicity is evolving as a key mantra for enterprise leaders. Sales leaders are more than ever on the lookout for forecasting solutions that can enable them to access market and sales insights intuitively without much technical intervention. Tools that don’t require technology expertise in terms of configuration, deployment or operation are highly favored for their ability to give access to insights and allow easy conversion of customer data, while bypassing tedious data preparation processes. Understanding key data drivers simplifies strategic decision making.

Modern forecasting tools that leverage machine learning capabilities have the ability to Such tools enable sales decision makers to evaluate diverse scenarios, using huge volume of data, and drive future outcomes with high accuracy. The sales teams can be made more accountable for sales closures, and sales leaders can better identify potential risks and over-commits. As the volume of data increases with continuous usage, the accuracy of future forecasts improves over time.

Many organizations also look at developing a forecasting model that can be customized to their unique requirement. In such a scenario, an iterative, detailed and expertise-driven approach can be taken with the right tool. Running automatic analysis on huge volumes of data can uncover unseen insights. The sales leadership can then choose the best model for their needs, tie forecasts to territories, quotas or incentives, and analyze trends over time, regions, teams, or products. The iterative nature of the forecast ensures continuous learning as the forecast capability evolves over time to deliver further enhanced insights.

A success story

A top global software and cloud computing company was facing several sales constraints – unoptimized territory planning, high cost of sales operations and random budgets that were not aligned to revenue targets. Implementing a dynamic sales forecasting solution, the software giant was able to bring down sales coverage across 1,000 territories by 40 days, with granular insights into sales regions and sub-regions. Dynamic scenario planning enabled faster closures on sales quotas.

Future forecast

Sales forecasting enables the creation of a realistic picture of what to expect in the immediate future, not having an optimum model for the same can prove to be costly for businesses. However, with the surplus of tools available in the market it is not easy to select the one most relevant for the business and its unique requirements. Data driven sales forecasting tools can deliver better outcomes, empowering the sales team to provide accurate deal commits and closures.

The insights approach to sales planning success

“The power of selling is moving away from the individual and toward the machine – machines that can now prospect, follow up, present, and propose without human intervention.”

Victor Antonio, bestselling author, sales trainer and motivational trainer

AI powered sales planning

As artificial intelligence (AI) infiltrates into every aspect of modern life, leading organizations are quick to adopt this disruptive technology to influence key elements of their sales planning and strategy. An enterprise sales function typically pursues three key avenues for achieving set revenue targets:

  1. Acquiring new logos that translate to selling more products or driving higher margins in new accounts
  2. Expanding to new markets with the launch of a new product, or launching an existing product in a geographically different market
  3. Retaining key accounts and minimizing customer churn through active renewals, cross-sell and up-sell efforts

AI intervention can impact each of these three key areas transforming not only how customers buy products and services, but also how organizations can better control the sales outcome. Predictive sales planning tools blend the known attributes of the account or customer such as company, industry, purchase history, spend, usage, adoption, and so on, with unknown factors of growth, partnerships, hiring trends, tech stacks, install base, solution intent, etc., to provide deeper insights. Let us look at some of the key traits of such a solution:

Account segmentation and lead scoring

Sales teams often make the mistake of scoring leads based on inadequately interpreted buyer signals and gut impulse, which totally defeats the purpose of lead scoring and account segmentation. AI empowers businesses to enhance their segmentation and scoring activities by simply augmenting internal data with predictive attributes on profile fit and buyer intent. Thus, businesses are in a position to accurately determine the outcome of sales opportunities, and focus their time on the more lucrative leads and accounts.

Sales territory planning

Sales territories have a big impact on the performance of the sales organization. A good understanding of the sales potential of different regions is vital for sales success. Equally important is ensuring a fair distribution of territory among the organization’s sales representatives. This provides every rep an impartial opportunity to achieve their quota. Predictive insights in territory planning can help alleviate these challenges and improve morale and performance of the sales team. Leveraging AI, territories can be carved across the multiple dimensions of geography, industry, product, key account, etc. This ensures a balanced approach to territory planning based on historical data and total market size.

Balanced quota planning

Setting sales quota is a tough balancing act for sales leadership, as it is directly tied to the sales professional’s compensation, morale and overall growth. Incorrect quota planning might impact all the three, set the salesperson on a downward spiral and also hit revenue targets. Intelligent quota allocation leverages predictive insights that empower sales leaders to design effective quota planning; setting achievable targets and quotas and in turn motivating sales people to achieve revenue goals.

Sales capacity planning

Sales leaders are always looking for ways and means to maximize revenue. An oft overlooked and underutilized approach is that of capacity planning. Knowing which roles to hire, when to hire and determining the optimum sales capacity to achieve organizational outcomes are critical components of successful planning. An ideal capacity planning model can enable sales leaders with deep insights into strategies for enhanced sales coverage, capacity and gaps across channels and help improve sales productivity.

Kick start sales with the right planning

These are just a few key areas to start with. Adaptive and intelligent sales planning solutions can enable myriad perspectives with sales KPIs and analytics, sales coverage, objectives management, pipeline optimization, and a lot more. Leveraging data as a strategic asset across the organization, such solutions can create better, faster and stronger frontline sales with collaborative planning, accurate forecasting and enhanced sales potential.

Resilient and responsive S&OP- The force behind successful Supply Chains


The new normal is testing supply chain resiliency and organizations are forced to revisit their demand and supply operations and drive new revenue streams. Sales and Operations planning (S&OP) typically face time, people and monetary constraints. As the new unexpected global crisis tossed aside months of careful planning, business executives were forced to go back to the drawing board, re-planning using traditional tools and solutions. This highlights the glaring gap in S&OP planning as organizations increasingly look at making strategic and data backed decisions now and in the near future.

The need for speed in S&OP decision making

Sales success invariably depends on integrating the right sales behaviors with real-time planning and analytics to maximize returns. S&OP is the backbone for the entire organization, more so in times of crisis, and hence the process needs to build in inherent resiliency and be ready to respond in any situation. Here we look at a few simple tactics to create S&OP processes that stands the test of time.

  1. Integrated S&OP platforms

To empower S&OP teams to make sophisticated planning decisions, and meet continuously changing business realities, the first step is to do away with the decision latency associated with multiple, disconnected supply chain planning systems. Incomplete S&OP processes are more often than not a result of disconnected sales/marketing, finance and other internal systems. A unified platform goes a long way in enhancing collaboration and aligning decisions across departments. An easy-to-use collaborative platform can not only improve service levels and plan accuracy through better customer and supplier collaboration, but also helps maximize market opportunity, profitability and customer satisfaction while reducing supply chain risks.

  1. ML based forecasting that takes accuracy from good to excellent

“The traditional monthly S&OP cycle will no longer cut it. Rapid re-planning and in-cycle adjustments will become the norm.”  Mark Hermans, Managing Director at PwC, Aug 2020

The COVID-19 crisis has well exposed the vulnerabilities of traditional statistical models that cannot portray previously unknown demand patterns. To increase planning efficiency, it is a must to create capabilities that can take into account an entire ecosystem on-demand. There are tools in the market that has the ability to ingest up to multiple data inputs and greatly enhance the quality of the forecast. Inbuilt ML capabilities train forecast models to deliver more tailored outputs. This enables S&OP decision makers to acquire a better understanding of future drivers, predictions, and the impact of different “what-if” scenarios.

  1. Robust, accessible and simple

Many a time the inherent complexity of an S&OP platform dissuades users from leveraging the same to create meaningful reports. Thus, they are left hanging in the face of supply chain disruptions with no ability to anticipate the sudden demand changes. This highlights the need to adopt tools that simplifies the process, allows flexible modeling, and provides a better user interface. Such a tool doesn’t require any intervention from data scientists or ML experts for configuration, deployment or operation, empowering users to go the full length and unlock intelligent insights. Sales teams can also leverage the platform to easily convert customer data into a format that is forecast friendly thus avoiding tedious manual data preparation

S&OP transformation: Infusing resilience and agility

Supply chain resilience is an outcome of an organization’s S&OP resilience.  Transforming the S&OP process not only acts as an insurance against future disruptions but also enhances the daily planning activities. Infusing agility into S&OP improves collaboration among sales, product, innovation, finance, operations, and marketing units, increases productivity with improved processes, facilitates better understanding of the underlying risks and opportunities, and help teams make more informed predictions while expending fewer resources. With detailed P&L interactions, intuitive scenario planning, and near real-time supply-demand balancing at their disposal, such teams are a step forward when it comes to quickly and nimbly responding to supply chain emergencies.

Thanks to COVID to make us realize the reality of Supply Chain Disruptions and how we can work towards mitigating the Supply Chain Risk