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Article written by Deb Dietz for publication in the January/February 2022 issue of International Market and Competitive Analysis Magazine. Live stream/podcast date TBD.
Now that it’s almost the New Year, you’re moving along implementing the strategic business plan you developed last fall. We all understand that a business plan is paramount for success, but did you take these three critical process steps last fall that resulted in a plan that will deliver on your goals in the New Year? Step back and review if you did. These process steps you should have included are: (1) project planning, (2) data analysis, and (3) targeted research.
Often businesses jump right into 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.
Deb Dietz, MBA is the Founder and CEO of SMB Value Partners, Inc. She is a champion of BI and data-driven Strategic Planning, offering consulting services and her online course, The Strategic Planning Academy. She is certified in Executive Data Science from Johns Hopkins, and develops, hosts and markets online courses for B2B and B2C subject matter experts, helping them ‘productize and monetize’ their expertise and teach a global, online, target audience, sharing their knowledge with the world.