SAN MATEO, Calif., Aug. 22, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- NetSuite Inc. (NYSE: N), the industry's leading provider of cloud-based financials / ERP and omnichannel commerce software suites, today announced a webinar that will show professional services organizations how they can turn annual planning into a highly productive exercise that charts a course to greater profitability and serves as a catalyst for growth scheduled for Wednesday, August 28. The webinar, "Five Steps to Successful 2014 Business Planning," will feature Jeanne Urich, Managing Director of Service Performance Insight, a leading professional services research and consulting firm, and Richard Curzi, Vice President of Operations at Collaborative Consulting, a Burlington, Mass.-based IT and management consulting firm that has used NetSuite's cloud-based services resource planning (SRP) for more than nine years for project management, resource optimization, time and expenses, financial reporting and strategic direction. To learn more about the webinar and to register, please click here. Annual planning at many professional services organizations has become an empty ritual as firms often waste too much time and energy reliving past failures instead of exploring new avenues for growth. For both standalone firms and services teams embedded within larger organizations, common issues that undermine business planning include an unclear strategy, organizational silos, skills imbalance, immature processes, poor quality and below target financial performance. Drawing in part on Service Performance Insight's annual industry benchmark study of professional services organizations, Urich will share how organizations should draw on both quantitative and qualitative information in annual planning, and outline five key steps towards making annual planning a productive exercise including: Build a shared vision of success. Service Performance Insight's Service Planning Pyramid has a vision statement at the top, supported by mission statement, values and culture, charter and business model. Assess organizational strengths and weaknesses. A SWOT analysis guides the services organization in identifying positives and negatives inside the organization (strengths and weaknesses) and external to it (opportunities and threats). Expose key themes and disconnects. This step is essential to ensuring alignment across the organization, especially for embedded organizations answering to corporate leaders, and in resolving conflict and finding a balance between profit and customer satisfaction. Confront reality. Firms need to assess both objective (quantitative) performance against defined goals and industry benchmarks; and subjective (qualitative) measures, and blend the two into a blueprint for lasting change. Build initiatives. Building on planning, organizations should be poised to take action with realistic success metrics and clear roles, responsibilities and timeliness around three to five key annual initiatives. "If done right, business planning can open up fresh new ideas and facilitate playing to strengths rather than shoring up weaknesses," said Urich. "The best of the best PSOs each year find new and better ways to do the things they love to do and are especially good at it, while minimizing the hassles and tedium of doing the things that hold them back or waste precious time and resources."