(Jedox topped 12 categories in this year’s BARC Planning Survey. Our new 12-part blog series tells you why “Business Benefits”, “Ease of Use” or “Implementation support” should be on your check list when choosing business software. Third category: Agility.)
Market Volatility Creates Need For Agility
Just after the decade’s turn, an article in the Harvard Business Review discussed what has become increasingly common knowledge: agility, the ability to adapt quickly, is the new competitive advantage in today’s marketplace. Over the course of the decade, it’s actually become a business necessity.
The HBR piece highlighted increasing market volatility, a new level of uncertainty that challenged organizations, as a key driver of the need for agility:
Given the new level of uncertainty, many companies are starting to ask:
- How can we apply frameworks that are based on scale or position when we can go from market leader one year to follower the next?
- When it’s unclear where one industry ends and another begins, how do we even measure position?
- When the environment is so unpredictable, how can we apply the traditional forecasting and analysis that are at the heart of strategic planning?
- When we’re overwhelmed with changing information, how can our managers pick up the right signals to understand and harness change?
- When change is so rapid, how can a one-year—or, worse, five-year—planning cycle stay relevant?
Highly Agile Planning With What If-Scenarios
The pace of change continues to accelerate. A recent briefing in The Economist notes,
If you ask the boss of any big American company what is changing his business, odds are he’ll say speed. Firms are born and die faster, it is widely claimed. Ideas move around the world more quickly. Supply chains bristle to the instant commands of big-data feeds. Customers’ grumbles on Facebook are met with real-time tweaks to products. Some firms are so fast that they can travel into the future: Amazon plans to do “anticipatory” shipping before orders are placed.
In this breakneck environment, planning needs to be highly agile. Organizations need to be able to adapt their key performance indicators (KPIs) and plans quickly. Rigid planning software solutions tend to be less effective than platforms that can be flexibly and rapidly adapted whenever needed. Further, solutions that empower business users (i.e., don’t require highly technical skillsets) also support agility. Increasingly important from a functional perspective are ad hoc queries and scenario planning: the ability to quickly calculate “what ifs.”
What Users Are Saying about Planning Software Agility
For those involved in business software selection, among the most important resources are the independent assessments done by the Business Application Research Center (BARC). BARC just released its 2016 Planning Survey, the world’s largest survey of planning software users.
Among those using development-oriented planning solutions (i.e., solutions that allow customers to implement totally individual planning requirements), Jedox ranked number one in terms of agility, scoring higher than the peer group average in that sector (6.9 vs. 4.9). Here is BARC’s viewpoint on Jedox’s top-ranking performance in this category:
“Jedox is a flexible development environment for business power users who create individual planning, reporting, and analysis applications in a self-service manner in Excel. The tool is not targeted to any specific industry. Jedox users consider the product to be a highly agile and flexible tool, especially for ad-hoc query, OLAP analysis, and planning scenarios.”
(Source: BARC THE Planning Survey 16)