Back to Blog
Blog post by Deb Dietz
It's that time of year again. The business planning cycle has begun for the new year. And as much as a business plan is paramount for success, much work must be done before you can develop your plan. That work includes three process steps you must take which include project planning, data analysis, and targeted research.
Often businesses jump right into the plan development, missing key learnings from collecting and analyzing business information that would have put them on the right path. And that's the point. You want to be on the right path, ensuring you have the right focus on your people, your internal operations, your value proposition, and your customers. Because it takes this kind of focus to drive improved business performance. Only then can you drive the financial results for your business that are truly transformational.
In today's complex business climate, each organizational department is being asked to support the company by delivering deeper insight and greater value more effectively than ever before. Today's companies must be:
Every company needs two things when embarking on a strategic planning project. Business information, and a clear set of goals and objectives necessary to achieve the maximum benefits from its strategic planning project. The data and information goals may include:
So before you get too far down the road, consider your business intelligence framework. Gartner has a great framework that recognizes that, "Increasingly, a broad set of users, in a variety of roles, will be enabled to create analytics content. Leaders of the business intelligence, analytic and performance management initiatives need to foster this trend, encouraging more people to think like analysts."
Articulating these goals is essential. Yet a company must do more than state its goals to achieve its strategic planning objectives. It needs a working framework that provides a blueprint for business. Gartner's framework is defined as "the people, processes and technologies that need to be integrated and aligned to take a more strategic approach to business intelligence, analytics and performance management initiatives".
To make the shift from tactical to strategic planning, companies must start with a shared repository of trusted information. This includes a common set of dimensions, hierarchies and business rules to ensure consistency across all analytic processes. Business users can rely on insights gained through an integrated reporting, analysis and planning solution to fulfill their vision for an information-driven business culture. Think of the business information process as having two distinct phases: the goal and the process. The goal of the project articulates its purpose. To be able to articulate the goal and understand the process to achieve the goal, ask these questions:
So, don't jump right into the plan development process or you'll miss key learnings from collecting and analyzing business information that would put you on the right path. Before you get too far down the road, ensure you have your goals identified and project plan developed; you've gathered and analyzed data; you've articulated the business problem, impact and root cause; you've developed your project work plan; identified all stakeholders and your planning team members; you have your stakeholder communication plan; and you have identified your project process, timelines and deliverables.