stressed woman with many paperwork

The house you designed and built for the consortium ‘could’ well end up serving the purposes of a few, but it will likely fall short of what makes a great house. Perhaps the consortium forgot to mention that an ocean view that would wow visitors was critical to their happiness.

Or that you needed a wheelchair ramp and internal lifts.

Or that they expected it would double in value within three years.  

Of course, because you didn’t know what you didn’t know, the project became a house of cards—fragile, insubstantial, non-load-bearing, and easy to topple. 

So, what went wrong? And whose fault was it? 

What is success?

Let’s look at this same premise in the context of an FP&A implementation. But first, what does a successful FP&A solution look like?

Answer: It should ‘fix’ reporting and planning problems, empower your business with previously inaccessible knowledge, streamline and improve those old manual processes that make reporting and planning slow and, at times, inaccurate, and add business value.

When you design and build an FP&A solution without soliciting and documenting stakeholder input and eliciting agreement, it’s nearly impossible to achieve a successful outcome. Why? Because you had no idea what that outcome was supposed to be. You were working blind and didn’t have a guide to what success looked like for the business. 

It’s only after a solution is put into practice and fails to deliver the expected benefits for the entire business, that it becomes clear that it falls significantly short of expectations.

What can go wrong (and usually does)?

The issues that arise from failing to define success are many, and the positives are few, if any.

First though, in the case of an FP&A implementation – what is failure?

Answer: It’s an expectation gap between what’s delivered and what the business thought it was getting.

So, where did that gap come from?

You may have missed incorporating critical reporting and planning functionality as each stakeholder assumed another had covered off the requirement.

brainstorming session at thinking board

Or, perhaps you didn’t capture all the required functionality as the stakeholder list wasn’t as comprehensive as it should have been, so some were left out of the consultation process.

Or maybe the outcomes were never going to be realised due to getting the dimensionality of the model wrong, including the time horizon, time granularity (years, months, weeks, days), number of active versions (budget draft, budget best case, budget worst case, long-term plan, forecast 1, etc.).

What if you discover in retrospect that your reporting needs aren’t supported by the level of detail carried in the model? For example, just dollars in the model, or more granular for calculation purposes, like sales units before growth, sales unit growth, base price, currency conversion, discounts, or rebates. 

You may also have miscommunicated your expectations. For example, when briefing your implementation partner, did you not clarify why they need to execute a particular set of requirements for you to achieve your desired outcome? Or did you fail to explain your security requirements and user permissions? 

How do you get it right?

Success comes with communication, collaboration, and a cohesive vision – across all stakeholders and departments.  

This can be most efficiently achieved through a series of internal subject matter expert or partner-driven workshops with stakeholders, which focus on fully capturing expectations and desired (and agreed-upon) outcomes.  

Ownership is also critical to success. It’s essential that someone has oversight of the solution and understands how it aligns with meeting the business goals and vision.

So, when your FP&A solution is built and in use, everyone gets out of it what they need – at a departmental and business level.

That’s success. 

Great outcomes start with great conversations

Great outcomes start with great conversations

Ready to say YES to profitability, happy employees, and great customer experience?

Request a consultation today and let our local experts help you to digitise, optimise and automate your way to success with Workday.

  1. Home
  2. Corporate Performance Management
  3. Blogs
  4. Why not knowing what success looks like can be your biggest FP&A implementation mistake