90% of planning transformations fail

planning transformation

Almost every globally active company has attempted some kind of planning transformation since 2020. However, 90% of the attempts have partially or totally failed, according to the findings from Board International’s Global Planning Survey 2023.

“With all the uncertainty that we see in the world, business leaders need to recognize a new reality: the era of continuous disruption is here,” states Marco Limena, CEO of Board International. His observation is intended as a wake-up call for organizations to continuously adapt and find new opportunities to deal with all of today’s challenges.

“Continuous planning is an imperative, and the good news is that companies that advance their digital capabilities can steer their business at the speed of change and gain a competitive edge,” adds Limena.

Taking planning more seriously

Board International surveyed a total of 2,454 experts across 12 different industries in the UK, the USA, Germany, France, Italy, Japan, Australia and Singapore. Just 13% said they were unaffected by events such as COVID-19, the war in Ukraine and the cost-of-living crisis. As a result of these disruptions, 85% of companies indicate that planning is now taken more seriously in their organizations. Furthermore, 76% of the companies have seen budgets for planning transformation and planning teams increase, and 94% are being asked for a more strategic approach to planning by their boards and/or investors, according to the survey.

Spreadsheets remain popular

There is a very diverse range of reasons why 90% of planning transformations fail. A lack of technical capability within the organization is cited as the top cause by over a quarter (26%) of decision-makers, followed by a lack of investment in skills (23%) and a scarcity of team resources (22%) in second and third places.

Another striking finding from the survey is that spreadsheets are still an integral part of business operations, with only 2% of companies not using spreadsheets at all for their planning. Meanwhile, around a third of respondents do not feel ready to cope with challenges such as continued supply chain disruptions (29%), rising interest rates (22%), a new pandemic (32%) or a recession (34%), according to the survey results.