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Planning, budgeting, and forecasting (PBF) are key components of managing and driving organizational financial performance. Our conversations with enterprises and finance decision-makers reveal that they are also among the most difficult processes to execute in any company. PBF is often disjointed, rife with delays, inaccuracies, and remains an extremely elongated exercise.


  • Technology choices make a significant impact on the planning process. We found that products/solutions that allow a high degree of integration and interoperability, both among native financial modules as well as with line-of-business data, tend to be better placed to extract process efficiencies.

Features and Benefits

  • Assesses best practices to shorten planning windows.
  • Details technology choices to help organizations plan in an agile fashion.

Key questions answered

  • What are the technology imperatives to help shorten planning windows?
  • How can organizations change process and technology to be more agile in planning?

Table of contents


  • Catalyst
  • Ovum view
  • Key messages


  • Recommendations for enterprises
  • Recommendations for vendors


  • Planning, budgeting, and forecasting are core EPM processes
  • Planning, budgeting, and forecasting are interrelated

Leaner PBF cycles continue to prove elusive

  • Key issues with PBF

Technology imperatives

  • Technology selection is critical
  • Keep planning iterative, but prioritize automation
  • Tie financial planning metadata to operational and strategic planning metadata without increasing complexity
  • Work continuously on building a single source of truth and master data
  • Look for vendors that provide integration ease, flexibility, and breadth
  • Don't forget data security
  • Don't rely on spreadsheets, but avoid a complete rip-and-replace
  • Use external indicators and benchmarks to boost forecast accuracy
  • Find a level of forecast granularity that you are comfortable with
  • Eliminate fixed forecast intervals and methods
  • Focus on collaboration

Business imperatives

  • Do not forget business process change
  • Assign ownership
  • Compare and contrast data before setting rules
  • Formulate a deployment, training, and adoption timeline
  • Ensure a single point of contact for accountability
  • Train, train, train


  • Methodology
  • Further reading
  • Author

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