When applications developer Clari decided to overhaul its operating plan earlier this year, “speed” became a governing principle for its finance team, enabling board members to sign off on a new plan only 3 weeks after the initiative to replan had been put into motion.
For Clari’s CFO, Alyssa Filter, the drive to replan and the speed with which Clari’s finance team finalized its plan allowed the function to play a central role in preparing the company’s mind-set for the uncertain business environment largely rendered by COVID-19.
We recently asked Filter about Clari’s new business mind-set and how the company has adapted to the new business environment.
Filter: As we went into this new COVID environment, we shifted our operating plan within 3 weeks. We did a complete replan, including board approvals. So, strangely enough, we had our operating plan approved by the board of the directors on the very day that shelter-in-place was announced in California. We immediately went into replanning mode and then from start to finish had a new plan out in 3 weeks, which required a lot of financial leadership and strategic thinking around how our choices in the replan process would impact the company in both the short and long terms.
We also found ways to reorganize pieces of our go-to-market teams to optimize the way in which we sell and think about customer satisfaction. This was another big change that we made. We made a change to how we were structuring sales to our current install base. We did this as part of our operating plan restructure, which I think worked out really, really well for us. But we were also able to keep a strong focus on the human capital aspect as well, retaining our key employees in areas and not setting ourselves up for challenges in the longer term by cutting too deep, for example.
The last thing that we really did was to put our financial bets in areas that we felt would have the most valuable long-term return on investment for the company. So it was really being able to play a big part in thinking through longer-term strategy, how we optimize the capital that we have currently, what we wanted, how long we wanted our capital to last, and what we wanted the balance sheet to look like coming out of this year, in hope of an economic recovery going into next year.
When we were talking at the executive staff level, we adopted a mind-set of accelerating around the curve. I think it was our CEO who really coined that phrase, but that’s the lens that we’re looking through: “What investments can we make now that will allow us not only to come out of this better but also to accelerate around the curve and allow us—when we have changes in the macro environment—to be tremendously successful?” jb
We want to Accelerate Around the Curve.