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Planning to Win: MLB Teams Embrace Cloud CPM

Baseball Pitcher Throwing ball, selective focus

It’s Major League Baseball’s opening day! Fans coast to coast will celebrate the start of a season driven by loyalties, competition, and unfailing twists of fate. These ups and downs that take us through the season are part of the energy and excitement that only world-class sports can deliver. Adaptive Insights is proud to work with five MLB teams as they head into their 2017 season.

Several finance leaders from these MLB teams talked with Adaptive Insights about the challenges inherent in such a dynamic industry. Baseball is one of the most stat-driven sports in the world. Fans see this as they follow teams and players through the seasons. But the world of financial planning in MLB takes analytics to a new level—with deep, ongoing analysis of how to optimize ticket pricing, secondary markets, concessions, parking, operating expenses, TV ads, and more, in addition to player contracts and multimillion player compensation budgets.

Read the white paper “Using Scenarios to Plan for Tomorrow”

Constantly changing business landscape
A challenge inherent in this process, to which any finance leader at the helm of an organization with multiple business units, locations and divisions can relate, is the constantly changing business landscape. Teams throughout the league are embracing cloud technology and active planning strategies to plan faster, smarter, and more profitably.

“Adaptive Insights has been a game changer for me,” said Rob Gagliardi, Chief Financial Officer, Tampa Bay Rays. “Although finance departments don’t have a direct impact on the outcome of games, providing better, more timely financial information to club owners has positive, indirect results. I’m constantly evaluating ticket sales, pricing strategies, ballpark costs, and team expenses. With this powerful and easy-to-use cloud-based solution to budget, plan, and collaborate, I’m able to course-correct faster than before and provide the strategic value our club needs.”

Thanks to software that empowers teams to plan for a variety of potential scenarios that could unfold throughout the season, these finance leaders say they appreciate the ability to share multiple scenarios with other stakeholders and achieve a shared understanding without having dozens of spreadsheets to update and redistribute for each potential plan of action. Cloud-based corporate performance management (CPM) is proving a strong advantage in this process, much like other industries that also face a dynamic business landscape, full of both expected and unexpected twists and turns with each new quarter.

Ease of use is key
One team spoke effusively about the ease-of-use benefits it has enjoyed with Adaptive Insights—noting that various business unit and department heads are now able to self-serve important data that gives them a smarter perspective on decisions that need to be made. This also shares critical insights on where money can be saved or spent more efficiently from IT to groundskeeping to sponsorships to equipment and more.

MLB teams are rivals on the field but collaborators when it comes to finances that unify the league. Cloud-based CPM drives efficiency for individual teams, which are franchises that roll-up into the overarching MLB organization. Budgets and financial plans for six to seven minor league teams below each major league team, along with A, AA, AAA, and Dominican Republic leagues, also fall within the MLB umbrella. And each team typically has anywhere from 60 to 75 departments that contribute to the overall budgeting and planning process.

“While our franchises compete on the field, as a finance organization we are aligned across the MLB in terms of best practices to deliver the greatest return for our owners and the MLB at large,” said Peter Woll, vice president of FP&A at the New York Mets. “Working with Adaptive Insights has significantly advanced our planning approach, streamlining more than 60 departments into a single system with visibility that allows us to maximize our performance.”

Moving to the cloud ensures greater accuracy, unification, and speed for all layers of the business, thanks to a shared perspective and ability to adjust to changing circumstances in a unified fashion.

We wish all our MLB customers well this season as they “plan to win.” Play ball!

Carolee Gearhart is senior vice president of Customer Success and Global Channels at Adaptive Insights.

Watch the webcast, “5 Reasons to Think Beyond Spreadsheets”

Our CFO Indicator Q3 2017 survey explores CFOs’ confidence relative to data and technology, as well as their progress in moving toward a “single source of truth” (single source of financial and operational data). Results reveal that Finance has successfully cleared what we believe to be one of the most significant hurdles—their hesitancy to store data in the cloud. Read our other CFO Indicator reports here.

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