We are so excited to be bringing you the Planful Virtual Tour this year, and today’s kickoff featured great customers, exciting keynotes, and even more Continuous Planning! Of course, we would have loved to be together with everyone over these three special days. But, the first day of this Virtual Tour proved to be informative and engaging. Here’s a quick recap of Day 1 and a sneak peek at tomorrow’s Day 2
Keynotes and Planful Now
After a fun-filled introduction from our intrepid moderators, Planful’s CEO, Grant Halloran, took to the stage to give the audience a better view of what Planful has been up to over the past few quarters, including our name change and the addition of many new customers and partners. But, quickly getting down to business, Grant discussed our shared global situation through the lens of Finance and FP&A. We are truly in uncharted waters, as Grant said, and the continued uncertainty will force FP&A to course-correct more often and, hopefully, with more speed.
The key to becoming a more agile version of your current company, however, is Continuous Planning, which Grant described as “a framework for faster, smarter, more agile financial decision-making.” Speed and agility were common themes in Grant’s keynote, but doing so with more intelligence and more accuracy is the only way companies can gain more confidence in the decisions they make.
“Every business must urgently ready themselves to course-correct far more often, and faster, than ever before, because what you expect to happen, in a lot of cases, won’t,” said Grant. “Budgets for 2020 are largely already out the window. The solution isn’t in hoping you’ll get the answers right. The solution is in becoming truly agile as an organization.”
Grant then highlighted Planful customers like Planar, Boston Red Sox, Bose, SmartyPants Vitamins, Carta, and Temple University who are using Continuous Planning to revolutionize how their FP&A teams move to guide the business.
He also announced an exciting new offering, Planful Now, which gets any organization up and running on the Planful cloud in under 30 days. It’s built to help you tackle your most critical use cases, especially those you’re facing in the near term. There will be a session dedicated to Planful Now on Thursday, so register now!
Shane Hansen, Planful’s CFO, then joined Grant to talk about his strategy for Planful’s finance team and how other teams are reacting to the economic crisis. Shane recommended Continuous Planning as a way to mitigate the effects of the crisis, and highlighted the three elements that make it valuable in the current business environment, which are speed, having a single source of truth, and improved communication and collaboration.
“What really excites me about Continuous Planning is that it can be used to solve so many of the pain points finance teams experience,” said Shane. “Issues like accuracy, version control, the time it takes to collaborate. These are all must-haves in today’s environment.”
The second keynote of the morning was from R “Ray” Wang of Constellation Research, who dove into the challenges of business continuity amid the crisis. Ray used his experience as an analyst, entrepreneur, and author to share best practices and explain how the revolution that pushed applications to the cloud is now positioning companies to recover faster and with more agility to the current crisis.
Customers Putting Continuous Planning to Work
The Planful Virtual Tour features several customers across the week, each highlighting how they’ve put Continuous Planning into action to help their organizations recover, plan, and pivot.
Day 1 featured Randy Brown, Director of FP&A at Nature’s Sunshine, a provider of vitamins and supplements, and Shane Riddle, Director of Sales and Operations Controller at Planar Systems, the digital wall displays and signage solution. They each explained how Continuous Planning is helping their FP&A teams move faster, specifically pointing to the speed and efficiency Planful brought to their planning and reporting processes. But they said fast access to data was the secret sauce that makes Planful invaluable across their organizations.
“Planful helped accelerate our finance team and allowed us to capture financial results at a consolidated level for all business groups within the organization,” said Shane Riddle, Director of Sales and Operations Controller at Planar Systems. “I can’t imagine running a business without Planful’s cloud-based platform, and I’m excited to see how these upcoming platform capabilities help businesses navigate this new-normal we’re all experiencing.”
Deep Dives into Planful Solutions
Hands-on product sessions are always a great way for customers to see how they can wring more value out of their Planful solutions. But these sessions also give prospective customers a deeper understanding of how Planful helps FP&A focus on the more strategic aspects of their role. These “product spotlights” for Day 1 covered use-cases for fast and agile decision cycles, Dynamic Planning, and accelerating month-end close and cycle times.
Rajesh Yennam, Product Management Director at Planful, and Rafael Farias, Director, Advanced Solutions at KeenVision, a Planful partner, looked at “Top 3 Use-cases that Deliver Fast and Agile Decision Cycles”. The duo demonstrated how Dynamic Planning brings speed and agility to the most critical tasks facing FP&A professionals dealing with the aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis. Also very relevant in today’s climate, they showed how FP&A can quickly adjust plans and see the resulting impact instantly, helping teams make better and faster decisions.
Andrew Von Eschen, Senior Solutions Consultant at Planful, showed the audience how to “Plan at the Speed of Business with Dynamic Planning”. It was a deep-dive session that demonstrated rapid what-if scenario planning and how FP&A teams can ease the learning curve by leveraging Excel and Excel syntax in Planful.
Pamela Theriault, Senior Solution Consultant at Planful, then showed how FP&A teams are “Accelerating the Month-End Close & Compressing Cycle Times with Planful.” Pamela detailed how teams can quickly finalize actual results and distribute them across the organization. She also showed how Accelerated Actuals makes for faster month-end close and lets you immediately incorporate actual data into your next planning and decision-making cycle.
Coming Up on Day 2
Day 2 of the Planful Virtual Tour kicks off tomorrow with a trip down the Planful Product Roadmap. Planful’s product team will highlight new enhancements in Dynamic Planning and Dynamic Collaboration, and brand new innovations in the form of Dynamic Canvas and Predictive Analytics. That will be followed by two customer sessions, with SmartyPants Vitamins covering how they went live on Planful in just 20 days and the Boston Red Sox explaining how they used Planful to bring a vision of Continuous Planning to their organization.
More Product Spotlights are on the agenda as well, with business-wide collaboration, Dynamic Reports, and Workforce Planning taking center stage. And, the day closes with a look at the predictive and machine learning capabilities in Planful.
Register now to join us for Days 2 and 3!