When the ERM program began in 2003, the ERM team consciously did not select a technology solution. The company did not want a technology solution to drive the process. By 2007, the program had developed to the point that we needed technological support. First, we moved from using Word to Excel. This enabled us to develop a comprehensive Excel tool for workshop development and data capture. Second, we selected a software vendor whose product could most closely adapt to our process.

The Excel tool greatly streamlined the process for building workshops. It made it easier to define initiatives and for users to build individual templates in preparation for workshops. More importantly, it enabled workshop operators to revise and add information to the templates more easily during workshops. This enabled workshop participants and operators to focus better on the process.

Exhibit 3.5 Sample Planning Process





The unit CFO provides the facilitators with the key operating planning documents, standard planning documents, and so on.


The facilitators hold a teleconference with the unit's GM and CFO to identify relevant operating plan initiatives and strategic risks from last year's assessment and add new operating plan initiatives and strategic risks.

1.25 to 1.5 hours


The facilitators prepopulate the workshop template with initiative definitions, based on the interview, the planning documents provided, and output from the prior year.

1.5 hours


Facilitators send the prepopulated workshop template to the unit CFO.


The unit CFO forwards each template to the unit's Management Team and to the individual initiative owner.


Initiative owners confirm the initiative definition, including key metrics, adds four to five risks, and adds four to five risk treatments.

0.5 to 1 hour per initiative


The unit CFO consolidates the templates and forwards them to the facilitators and the unit GM.

1 hour


One facilitator has a review with the unit GM and/or CFO of the workshop template to validate the input and identify any key points.

30 minutes


The unit CFO distributes the final workshop template to the unit's Management Team as a preread package.



8 hours

The software resulted in two major improvements in the process. First, it enabled units to update their risk profiles into a system. It also provided more flexibility than previously available using Word.

Data capture and reporting represented the other major improvements provided by the software. Using the Excel tool following each workshop, we categorized each initiative and risk by function (e.g., Service and Finance, Sales, Marketing, etc.). Similarly, we categorized these using the risk definitions, which the initial working group had developed.

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