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April 10, 2019
Identifying the impact of digital technologies and big data on planning, budgeting, and forecasting (PB&F) processes
By: Thomas Tyson

Planning, Budgeting, and Forecasting Goes Digital

Over the past 15 years, digital technologies have revolutionized all phases of business activity, including accounting and finance. World-class organizations now capture and report data in real time, unlike in the past when audited financial reports were compiled weeks or months after transactions had taken place. Many organizations also compile and assess customer sentiments to predict future buying behavior, and they track movable assets and record business transactions without third-party approvals and delays. The impact of digital technologies and big data on decision-making can be awesome—the challenge is to successfully transition to this new environment.

At your company—a supplier of pharmaceutical chemicals—you have been asked to put together a team of specialists who can help you leverage digital technologies and big data in planning, budgeting, and forecasting (PB&F) processes to anticipate customer wants and needs. Over the last two years, your company has been struggling to meet demand due to poor sales forecasts and lack of insight into customer sentiment. Your company seeks to expand geographically and diversify its product offerings. It has tried, tested, and failed at many solutions—holding high inventory to meet demand cost your company a lot of money, and when it incorporated lean practices to counteract this loss, it still incurred high costs.

You realize that you have all the resources you need at hand. You have access to structured and unstructured data that is compiled from internal and external resources. For instance, radio-frequency identification (RFID) data can give you more visibility of inventory activity. In addition, your company’s social media presence can tell you a lot about your company’s perception in the market and your customers’ experiences with you and their needs.

While incorporating digital technologies and big data into your PB&F processes can help your company perform better, the benefits it brings are not without risk. You must identify the risks and benefits of moving to a digital technology and big data environment, recognize how this environment will change existing processes, and determine how performance indicators and personnel skills and roles must change. However, by doing these things, you can help your company use digital technologies and big data in PB&F processes to build competitive advantage.

How can PB&F processes be modernized to fully utilize the opportunities of digital technologies and big data? The Accenture Academy courses Digital Technologies and Big Data in Planning, Budgeting, and Forecasting (PB&F), Impact of Digital Technologies and Big Data on Planning, Budgeting, and Forecasting (PB&F), and Changes Needed for Using Digital Technologies and Big Data in Planning, Budgeting, and Forecasting (PB&F) will help you recognize the benefits and challenges of moving beyond conventional transaction-focused financial reporting.

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