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Intelligent Planning: A Q&A with Centage CEO John Murdock

March 5, 2019
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The world of finance has changed. While accounting and variances may still be important, the Office of Finance has become the driver of change and growth in many organizations. Centage not only recognizes this shift, but understands that it’s only the beginning of a digital transformation wave for organizational finance. We sat down with John Murdock, Centage CEO, as the company unveiled its new direction and a focus on Intelligent Planning.

Q: What do you mean by “Intelligent Planning”?

A: If we break it down, “intelligent” refers to a capacity for understanding and learning that allows one to use logic and reasoning to make good judgments. “Planning” speaks to setting a course that achieves a desired goal. Together, “Intelligent Planning” illustrates the ability for a business to formulate attainable growth objectives based on data-driven information that is effectively understood and thus can be acted upon. This kind of ‘plan of action’ is vital to the Office of Finance for any organization, as streamlined access to historical and new data is required in order to make the right decisions quickly for an organization.

Q:  What drove the shift in focus to Intelligent Planning?

A: Our customers and our prospect audience were the core drivers. We spend a lot of time talking to CFOs, finance teams and  FP&A experts in order to understand what their pain points are and, more importantly, what they want to be able to achieve. What we’ve learned is that they want to put their organizations in a position to adapt quickly and take well-calculated risks that could lead to substantial rewards. To do that, they need tools that will help them better understand their data and can help point them in the right direction. Those tools need to be easy to use, flexible, scalable and fast – not just a nice interface over a spreadsheet. Intelligent Planning requires powerful tools that support and inform agile decision-making.

Q: Do small and medium enterprises really need the same abilities to plan that big corporations do?

A:  Yes! In fact, I would argue they need tools like this even more than larger organizations. Larger organizations tend to have the resources to easily take risks. They can gamble on decisions like weathering a storm caused by a disruptive competitor. But the small to  medium-sized organization needs to be careful with their assets, and they need to be contentious about the risks they take. Understanding the data and using it to take advantage of opportunities will level the playing field.

Q: Who benefits from Intelligent Planning?

A: The entire organization benefits - while it starts with the CFO and finance teams, who would see an immediate benefit as they transform data into insights that help them make faster, better business decisions, the board and executive team also benefits from cross-company collaboration as well as scenario planning capabilities  that allow them to design an integrative business plan. Lastly, as that plan is socialized and enacted, the entire organization will see the benefits of a growth objective that takes into consideration each team’s ability and potential obstacles in order to empower every employee to do what they do best for the success of the business.\

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