Capital Planning in Telecom: An Industry Ripe for Change
Copperleaf® provides enterprise decision analytics software solutions to companies investing in and managing critical infrastructure. For over two decades, industry leaders across the energy, water, and transportation sectors have relied on Copperleaf’s solutions to create strategy-driven investment plans that deliver the highest business value.
In this blog series, Bill Neill, who leads market development for telecommunications at Copperleaf, shares insights from his 20 years of experience in the industry. In this installment, Bill highlights key themes that emerged from our recent “Capital & Investment Planning in Telecom” survey.
Over the last two months, telecom industry experts across varying roles and levels of responsibility shared their insights on CapEx and investment planning by completing our recent survey. While we’re still developing a more thorough whitepaper to share the results, I’d like to give you a sneak peek by sharing a few common themes that are emerging from the responses.
What’s going well?
Capital planning is critical to success: It should come as no surprise that almost everyone surveyed strongly believes that good capital planning is critical to success in the telecom industry. However, one group wasn’t convinced: sales. Based on my follow-up conversations, the perception is that planning limits flexibility and responsiveness to address customer needs (see more on planning agility below).
Decision-makers are great! Respondents expressed confidence in the decision-makers and planning teams that oversee the process (and this wasn’t just the decision-makers congratulating themselves). There’s consensus that planning is hard, and decision-makers (and planning teams) are doing their best. At the same time, investment owners don’t always have the same level of confidence in the decisions being made.
Decisions are aligned with strategy: Most executive decision-makers and planners feel that the investment decisions they make are aligned with corporate strategy. Given that these VPs and C-level executives are about as close to corporate strategy as you can get, that isn’t a surprise.
But are decisions really aligned with strategy? While decision-makers and planners are confident their decisions align with strategy, not all stakeholders feel the same way.
Investment owners (e.g. Product Management, Asset Management & Sustainment, IT and Risk Management) are less confident that the decisions being handed down are aligned with the strategic direction of their companies. Is this just sour grapes or an indication that stakeholders don’t fully understand WHY decisions are being made?
Planning takes too much time: Respondents feel they spend too much time on both annual planning and the replanning that takes place throughout the year. Many commented that while planning is important, the time commitment is excessive and takes them away from their “day jobs”, including important activities like developing strategy and project execution. Others pointed out that because planning is a “painful, time-consuming” process, the ad hoc replanning that comes from budget changes, project delays, etc. takes too long and limits planning agility.
Unsurprisingly, we also found that almost all of respondents’ planning processes are managed through checklist documents, presentations, and spreadsheets—clearly a process ripe for digital transformation.
Not enough resources to execute the plan: Quite a few respondents commented that one of their biggest challenges is discovering after a plan has been finalized and approved, that implementation teams lack the resources to actually execute the plan!
Creating plans that take into account multiple constraints (like resource availability, project timing dependencies) is hard, and most manual processes can’t handle the complexity. That’s where decision analytics solutions, like Copperleaf’s, can help.
If It Ain’t Broke…
…don’t fix it. Here’s the thing: the vast majority of respondents believe their capital and investment planning processes do need to be improved. That wouldn‘t be the case if their tools and processes were truly up to the task. I’ve touched on just a few of the challenges here and will be exploring these (and others) in more depth in our upcoming whitepaper and future blogs.
But don’t wait. Copperleaf’s Decision Analytics Solution can help now, with all of the challenges outlined above and many more. If you’re interested in learning more about how we can help you make better decisions and get more value out of your investments, reach out to me directly or learn more about Copperleaf’s solutions here.