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Why templates are no longer the best approach to planning reports

Updated: Jul 17, 2023

The vast majority of planners we speak to have already invested significant effort into creating templates for their planning reports. That leaves most feeling like they’ve done all they can and sceptical about whether further improvements could be made. But times are changing.

It’s no secret there’s a new world of technology out there

Looking around, it’s easy to see the growing capabilities of modern technologies. Intuitive, easy-to-use software is replacing more dated, complicated technologies, e.g. MYOB and Xero are replacing the need for clunky Excel spreadsheets while Canva is replacing the need for complicated Photoshop designs. While more recently, Chat-GPT and AI have also caused a stir.

Despite all this, planners have largely remained stuck on the likes of Microsoft Word...

And for good reason too. Planning, as a domain, is tricky for technology and traditional offerings have not been a good fit. Here are the top 3 reasons why:

1) Every application is unique

Each project brings its own unique set of considerations. Technology often wants to oversimplify these, disregarding nuances and not giving each project it’s due process.

2) Human judgment and accountability drive the planning process

The planning process is inherently subjective, relying on human judgment to ensure accurate decisions. While technology cannot be solely relied upon for making accurate decisions (no, Chat-GPT doesn't do this!), it can work alongside planners. However, there has traditionally been a problem because technology often operates like a 'black box,' taking inputs and producing outputs without providing any explanation or transparency on how these were derived. This approach doesn't align well with planners who, as part of exercising their judgment, require a clear understanding of the decision-making and assessment process from the ground up.

3) Every planning team is unique

Planning teams operate in different regulatory environments, dealing with different types of projects and that often leads to different approaches to decisions/assessments being developed.

Technology is traditionally inflexible. That can require those adopting it to fundamentally change the way they work, taking a lot of time and effort. Furthermore, it can lower quality as approaches can’t be adapted to the specific circumstances and needs.

Rico was developed to overcome these challenges

We see the traditional shortcomings of technology while planning teams still face significant pressure and stress to cope with workloads, that only look set to grow into the future. That’s why we developed Rico.

Using modern technology, Rico outperforms word templates across 3 key dimensions:

1) Speed

Rico cuts out ~30% of time spent making assessments and writing reports by automating formatting and bringing information into workflows and reports so you can focus on critical thinking / making judgements.

2) Adaptability

Rico eliminates the need for clunky checklists, multiple versions of templates and superfluous information in templates, offering a single, straightforward workflow that methodically adapts reports to meet the relevant requirements of each project in a matter of clicks.

3) Quality Assurance

Rico consolidates your existing assessments and process refinements in one central place. This reduces the pressure on experienced staff to provide continuous oversight by enabling planners of any level of experience to pick up a project of any type and have the relevant guidance on hand to help them complete work to the required standards.

The result?

A technology that’s finally delivering a much-needed improvement to the planning industry, the way planners want it. Go to our website if you’d like to learn more about why a growing number of planning teams are adopting Rico.

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