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Workforce Planning

One of the most significant changes to businesses during COVID-19 has been  the large-scale work-from-home policies that almost all companies implemented. While some businesses may have partially or fully practiced this for a few years already, it has never in the history of the world been at this level. 

As many business owners are eager to get their staff back in the office, they may find that a majority of their team members have enjoyed their newfound freedom of working from home with zero commute time and no travel costs.

Some companies have already announced that they will be completely work-from-home going forward. Some employees may switch companies to find a more flexible employer if pressure to show up in the office five days a week is too high. 

Chances are that the remote work trend that was accelerated by COVID-19 will not fade away. There will be other trends that will continue to shape work-from-home habits such as:

  • Virtual reality technology
  • Video and collaboration technology (Teams, Slack, Zoom, etc.)
  • Longer commute times due to re-emerging traffic congestion
  • Hassle of all the new “cleanliness rules” when coming into the office
  • Real estate prices driving workers to live further away from work  
  • Commercial real estate prices and parking rates
  • Security concerns as home internet often is less secure than being in office 

If work-from-home is becoming the new normal for many organizations, a number of new questions arise including: 

  • How do companies assure that their team members are as- or more efficient as they were when working at the office? 
  • How do managers operate when they rarely ever meet their team members other than virtually on video calls?

Let’s take a closer look at both of these important items.

Efficient Workforce Planning Strategies and KPIs

Increasingly, executives are doubling down on two-way transparency. In other ways, the sharing of how you are doing as a company and how each team member is performing against agreed upon goals. In order for this to work, employ performance-based compensation plans and processes. 

Next, tools must be implemented to track metrics and provide reports. Imagine dashboards and scorecards with personal KPIs  and traffic lights. This is the recommended approach according to many management gurus.  Use top down sharing of strategies and goals that support the KPIs, broken down from company to department to individuals. Then, as results come in, bottom-up sharing of how team members as well as departments performed versus goals. 

Specifically, with likely strong growth in work-from-home trends, executives are already pondering how to ensure that employees are engaged, efficient and goal driven as they conduct their work from their bedroom or living room. With limited oversight and old-school micromanagement quickly fading, personal KPIs for work are rapidly growing in popularity. However, setting the best possible goals for employee KPIs can be a bit of science in itself.

Often attributed to the management guru, Peter Drucker, and first used by George T. Doran in 1981, the acronym, SMART, is used to guide goal setting.  Here is an overview of SMART goals: 

  • Specific – simple, sensible, significant
  • Measurable – meaningful, motivating
  • Achievable – agreed, attainable
  • Relevant – reasonable, realistic and resourced, results-based

In the years ahead, organizations both in public and private sector, will increasingly explore and try out individual KPIs, and those that are most successful with it are better equipped to build thriving organizations that are “future proof”. 

Key Elements of Remote Workforce Planning 

Managing and growing employees successfully has always been an area that can put a company ahead of its competitors. Companies spend money on benefits, training, education, and compensation plans to improve their staff. However, organizations promote from within, without experience, and do not train the new managers. This was a failing process and the future will require better managers with a higher percentage of employees working from home.

Define Job Descriptions 

The starting point is the most important. For each position, a manager needs a job description with the six to eight main responsibilities of the role along with the KPIs that will be set each year. Define what makes a successful candidate and a candidate that would fail in the role. Each employee receives this document from the manager and then the manager reviews it in a meeting to ensure both understand the expectations.

There are many ways of coming up with the main roles and responsibilities of the position. Interview people currently in the role, research online, talk to the HR department, and discuss with other managers. Keep the list of responsibilities concise, but include details. The more details around each role will enable the employee to understand the role and improve their chances of success.

Pinpoint the KPIs that will Define the Role.

The manager should explain how he/she will measure each KPI in the role and what is a success or a failure. Describe where the data comes from and how the KPI is calculated. Then sit with the employee and document what the goals for each KPI by a specific period will be. Ensure that the employee is onboard and agrees that they can achieve their goals. If numbers are set that they do not believe in, then you may lose the employee early on in the process.

Review and Finalize the KPIs 

Historically, managers would have an annual review that tried to encapsulate what happened over the year, but typically only highlighted the last few months as that is all that most remember. In a year like 2020, it becomes even more difficult with the rapid shift to remote work. 

Start now – meet with the employee monthly, show the KPI goal, the results to date, and a variance. Include a traffic light on each KPI to show whether the employee is succeeding (green), failing (red), or in the middle (yellow). For all yellow and red items document action items that the employee needs to do to improve upon those that are below the goal. 

Now, when you meet, the manager simply reviews the numbers and the prior action items. Many of the work from home efficiency concerns go away and it is all about productivity.  Below is an example of a simple scorecard for a manager to review with a consultant that includes actual data, the goal, variance with traffic lights, and goals for the next four quarters.

Screen Shot 2020-06-03 at 1.03.39 PM

By doing this across the board, the culture changes to become a highly productive workforce. Good employees want to work with other good employees. This culture helps build a profitable company with high growth. Terminate the employees that regularly do not meet their goals, but in a way that is clear from day one. 

 

Benefits of Automated Workforce Planning Software and KPI Management

Whether your KPIs and workforce planning requirements are simple enough to be handled in Excel or currently using a modern planning and budgeting tool, now may be a good time to think about ways to combine budgeting, workforce planning, reporting and KPI management into a single solution. 

So, whether caused by an unfortunate virus outbreak or technology trends affecting your industry, having effective workforce planning tools and plans to be ready for a reforecast is always going to reduce stress and blood pressure for the organization’s management team. 

This article concludes the “Customize Budgeting Reports” series.


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This article will highlight essential reporting and analysis features in Corporate Performance Management solutions.


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This article will focus on how what you should be looking for in the Best Performance Management Tools for Credit Unions.  
 
scorecard
What is Corporate Performance Management?  According to the Harvard Business School, performance measurement focuses on four main areas:

  • Communicate with external investors to ensure that a firms’ securities are fairly priced and that they are able to access capital
  • Measure and Evaluate a firms’ economic performance
  • Improve resource allocation and strategy implementation within a firm
  • Build Accountability for performance through effective external and internal governance

The emphasis of this article will be on improving resource allocation and strategy implementation, specifically for Credit Unions.  Though Credit Unions have evolved over time, their basic function is to take in deposits and reinvest those funds back into the community in the form of loans for such things as houses, cars, education, and infrastructure. Read more

Have you ever started a new job in an industry you have no experience in? Learning the industry jargon can be overwhelming. I can personally attest to this because prior to working in the

Business Intelligence (BI) and Corporate Performance Management (CPM) worlds, I was in the food, public relations, and entertainment industries, and did not have much experience in BI or CPM. If you have recently been exposed to BI tools, such as report writers, budgeting and planning solutions, dashboards, data warehouses (DWs) and you feel like a deer in headlights, there is no need to panic. In this article, we will discuss ten acronyms in the BI/CPM realm that will help you understand and enhance your experience with BI and CPM processes.

Here are the top 8 business intelligence acronyms that may be resourceful when dealing with BI & CPM solutions

1. Extraction, Transformation, and Loading (ETL)

ETL represents three database functions that are combined into one tool to extract data from one data source. The ETL process is the practice of extracting data from data sources and transferring it into the DW. ETL isn’t necessarily three defined steps, but rather a broad process.

2. Data Warehouse (DW)

Informatica defines a DW as an acronym for data warehouse meaning, “technology that aggregates structured data from one or more sources so that it can be compared and analyzed for greater business intelligence.” The term “Data Warehouse” was coined by William H. Inmon, an American computer scientist. This is an analyst’s dream because all the metrics about the organization’s activities are gathered in one place. You can find out more about the details of a successful data warehouse here.

3. Relational Database Management System (RDBMS)

A RDBMS is a program that enables users to administer, create and update a relational database. Commercial RDBMS typically use the Structured Query Language (SQL) to access the database. A relational database is described as “a set of tables containing data fitted into predefined categories” by TechTarget.

4. Online Analytical Processing (OLAP)

OLAP, also known as “OLAP cube,” performs multidimensional analysis of data and offers the ability for complex calculations, advanced data modeling, and trend analysis.

5. Key Performance Indicator (KPI)

A KPI is a lot like a GPS navigation system as it allows the driver to be in complete control when making decisions about where to steer next. KPIs are navigational tools that your company will utilize to understand whether the business is on a successful route or whether it’s veering off. According to Klipfolio, a KPI is “a measureable value that demonstrates how effectively a company is achieving key business objectives.” You can learn more about KPIs and KPI strategies in detail in the following articles: 10 Steps to Successful KPI and Metric Design Using Dynamics GP, Part 1 and 10 Steps to Successful KPI and Metric Design Using Dynamics GP, Part 2. Keep in mind that there are vertical specific KPIs; therefore, do some research.

6. User Interface (UI)

In the IT world, UI is designed into a device within which a user can interact. This includes keyboards, display screens, a mouse, and a desktop. It can also include how a user interacts with the application or the website. Companies’ dependence on applications has led organizations to prioritize improving the user’s overall experience, also known as UX.

7. SQL Server

Microsoft SQL Server is a relational database management system that was developed by Microsoft.

  • SQL Management Studio (SSMS) – SSMS is an integrated environment used to administer a SQL Server Infrastructure. If you’re not familiar with a SQL Server, it is a relational database management software developed by Microsoft.
  • SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) – SSIS is used to execute a wide range of data migration tasks.
  • SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) – SSRS is also part of the SQL Server services. It is a server-based report generating system that stores metadata and object definitions. You can learn more about the SQL Server on the Microsoft site.

8. Amazon Web Services (AWS)

AWS is a subsidiary of Amazon, and offers cloud computing platforms. AWS is also the competing platform against Microsoft Azure, formerly known as Windows Azure. Companies will be more exposed to AWS and Microsoft Azure as the cloud gets bigger. Cloud Computing platforms provide an easy way to access storage, servers, databases, and applications. It also provides quick access to flexible and low-cost resources.

If you are in the BI/CPM space, you may have seen the terms above used widely. For those who are new to the industry, I hope defining and laying out these terms give you a better understanding of the BI/CPM industry as well as the industry jargon. We’re happy to answer questions and generally review Solver’s web-powered, easy-to-use Excel and mobile BI tools with both real-time or data warehouse integrated analysis, budgeting and collaboration as a way to accelerate your company performance management experience.

Solver enables world-class decisions with a leading web-based CPM suite made up of budgeting, reporting, dashboards, and data warehousing, delivered through a web portal. Solver is reinventing CPM with its next generation solution. BI360 empowers business users with modern features including innovative use of Excel in the model design process. If you’re interested in learning more, our team is excited to hear about your organizational needs and goals.

This article will focus on the Cloud-Based Enterprise Reporting for Banks.
BNKBenchmarkDashboardWhat is Enterprise Reporting?  In the past, Business Intelligence (BI) was limited to the office of Finance and typically with a key focus on Financial, Planning & Analysis (FP&A).  With the advent of Enterprise Reporting, BI is now being extending beyond the scope of IT staff, business analysts, and power users.  Enterprise reporting is enabling anyone who impacts the bank – city executives, branch managers, loan & deposit analysts, and customer-facing staff – to have immediate access to the vital information they need to most productively perform their jobs. Read more


This article will focus on Easy Cloud-based Reporting for Banks.

Have you ever wondered why Do It Yourself (DIY) shows are so popular? According to a Country Living article, “There’s a before, during and after in one TV show—so, you basically get to the happy ending very quickly.”  In other words, your renovations might take weeks or months (or, God forbid, years), while Chip and Joanna’s Gaines home makeover requires less than an hour of your time. And in the end it looks perfect, unlike what you may have experienced.
What is wonderful about these shows is that they take homes that are a total wreck and transform them into beautiful showcases where we wish we could live in them.  In almost all cases, the projects are within budget, finish on time, and result in a very happy customer.
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This article will focus on Cloud-based Business Intelligence Solutions for Banking.

 
bank dashboardWhy do I love my iPod Classic? – I got my 80GB iPod Classic around 2007.  I was able to load all 14,000 songs from my library onto it.  I created several playlists that helped me organize the songs.  One playlist consisted of heavy metal that got me amped up before going to the gym.  Another playlist contained acoustic folk songs that were for the morning after a late night of fun. Read more

This article will focus on the demand for convergence of Business Intelligence and Corporate Performance Management tools and why this benefits mid-market companies.

Image taken from Gartner.

The latest release of the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence strengthened my conviction that the market will see consolidation between the Business Intelligence/Visualization (BI) and Corporate Performance Management (CPM) vendors. Gartner classifies them in separate quadrants because the respective tools are evaluated differently during the sales process. Furthermore, BI tools usually sell into marketing and sales teams while CPM targets finance and accounting professionals. Consequently, there has been limited Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) in the space. Note that this article assumes readers are familiar with the basic definitions to focus on a narrative explaining the demand for their convergence.
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This article will focus on the Top Cloud-based Financial Planning &Analysis (FP&A) Budget Tools for Banks.

Image taken from Shutterstock.

Image taken from Shutterstock.

The way things used to be – When I first got into building a budget for a bank, we were using Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheets that were stored on 5¼ inch floppy disks.  The spreadsheet was basically a 24-month trial balance for each branch or department.  The first eighteen months contained historical balances.  The remaining eighteen months were the forecast for the rest of the current year and budget for next year.
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