What Is Integrated Business Planning and Why Is It Important?

Rami Ali

Think of modern integrated business planning, or IBP, as a mashup of supply chain optimization, financial planning and analysis (FP&A) and operational best practices, powered by a companywide culture that’s all about delivering the speed, savings and responsiveness today’s consumers demand while managing risk.

Note that IBP as a fuzzy, buzzword-laden process methodology has been around for years. It’s usually implemented by expensive consultants in sprawling, global corporations that know they need to unify siloed sales, supply, financial and operational resources — before more nimble competitors relegate them to the former Fortune 500 list.

We’re here to argue that IBP deserves a second look for any company that wants to maximize profits and minimize the risks associated with growth. No six-figure consultant required.

What Is Integrated Business Planning?

On paper, IBP is a process for aligning a company’s business goals with its finance, supply chain, product development, marketing and other operational functions. Think parts suppliers that work with automakers and need to constantly retool to accommodate design changes, or food producers operating on razor-thin margins that must manage both uncertain supply chains and fickle customer tastes.

Lag, and a competitor is standing by to take that business. Move quickly but in a disjointed manner and you may keep customers, but at the expense of higher cost of goods sold (COGS) and lower profitability.

For example, consider PickerBots, a fictional maker of custom machinery for manufacturing and warehouse operations. When the company launched in 2017, it found a niche in restaurant supply, but when that business slowed significantly in 2020 the founders decided to retool. Rather than simply changing up its marketing, the firm set out to revamp its business strategy. A top-down scenario planning exercise led to realigning its R&D, demand forecasting, profitability and revenue analysis, supply chain planning and marketing and sales strategy.

The company culture was already strong on innovative thinking, but the founders realized that the link between strategic planning and day-to-day operations could use improvement. Enter a new COO with the chops to align operations with product demand planning and sales and marketing while weighing in on financial targets and budgets.

Key Takeaways

  • In a company that embraces IBP, there’s a direct line from purchasing, production and inventory to sales and marketing to financial targets and budgets.
  • A key IBP benefit is that materials are bought at the right price, at the right time and in just the right quantity to fulfill market demand.
  • Successful IBP delivers closer collaboration and more trust among departments, leading to improved decision-making.
  • IBP may require significant cultural change and cannot be successful without unwavering commitment from the executive team.

Integrated Business Planning Explained

Many organizations mistake IBP for a supply-chain-centric exercise. While linking supply chain planning with other departments, from sales and operations through finance, is important, that’s just one element.

IBP aligns business g oals and financial t argets with decisions and execution across the entire business.

There is overlap with financial planning and analysis (FP&A). Because an IBP initiative gathers data from across the enterprise, companies get better at predictive analysis. Now, when purchasing forecasts a parts shortage, supply and operations can adjust before customers are affected.

It’s also not a one-and-done exercise. PickerBots’ new COO advises looking a minimum of 36 months out. Leaders will need to keep their eyes on that long-range plan while continually reviewing, revising and communicating financial and operating results. What supply chain gaps have opened up, and how can we close them? Do we need to update our scenario planning? Are we tracking the right financial KPIs?

A crucial element of IBP is that it integrates financials with operations. Here’s a structure that PickerBots plans to follow.

infographic integrated business planning

Why Is Integrated Business Planning Important?

Companies that undertake IBP realize a number of practical benefits, including reduced holding costs, more responsive customer service and demand fulfillment, shorter time to market for new products and an improved correlation between demand planning and fulfillment.

After PickerBot’s scenario planning and strategy session, the company decided to jump into the emerging collaborative robot, or cobot, market. A collaborative robot is designed to safely interact with human workers. PickerBot’s leaders believe demand will increase for “pick and place” cobots with fine motor skills for use on manufacturing lines as well as in agricultural settings.

Now that the company has its strategic direction, the COO wants to focus on three higher-level concepts before delving into more practical areas, like financial planning and analysis and supply chain optimization. That’s because without goal-setting, PickerBots won’t be able to define success.

Alignment and accountability 

All executives must agree on three things: What are our corporate goals? What does success look like for each? How will I and my team contribute and be accountable?

The company’s goals are grouped into four areas: industry-focused, operations and supply chain, financial and marketing and sales. The management team will review all goals to make sure they align with strategy and are both actionable and achievable.

Industry-focused goal: Offer the most innovative cobots on the market

What success looks like: Develop a product that can match or exceed a human worker in its ability to pick fragile crops without damage.

Who will execute: The R&D team

Financial goal: Diversify revenue streams

What success looks like: Minimize dependence on one market/industry. Add a services arm to generate recurring revenue from maintenance contracts, powered by sensors built in to all new products.

Who will execute: Cross-functional led by CEO and finance

Other goals might be “control costs at each step and deliver cobots to customers on time and to specifications” with an expectation to lower COGS by 10% and raise the company’s Net Promoter Score by 25% within one year. Or for sales, “find 10 new customers for the company’s agricultural cobots and bundle maintenance contracts with each sale.” That ties back to revenue diversification.

An important point: Every manager is accountable for every goal, not just those that lie within their purviews.

Informed decisions and actions 

Planning across PickerBots’ supply chain was disjointed, with engineers purchasing materials direct and little central planning or cost control. As part of the IBP process, the company will adopt sales and operations planning (S&OP) principles to improve its supply chain and logistics.

Actionable goals here include building visibility into how each department is working and tying the impact of decisions to financial goals. For example, by having R&D build in sensors that can automatically collect and transmit data on a cobot’s operational status, PickerBots can proactively perform preventative maintenance so the devices are almost never down — an important selling point and a way to contribute to maintenance income.

Organizationwide, divisions need to focus less on their own needs and view actions through the lens of all goals. That means the company needs to collect a lot of timely data and use it to issue reports so managers can make better decisions, more quickly. That may require an investment in ERP and other software.


All department heads will take part in a monthly business review, where the group will assess progress in achieving the company’s objectives. The strategic plan is also available to all staff members, and quarterly all-hands meetings will be held to gather ideas and insights and walk through KPIs.

Four success metrics for the IBP process include:

1. Getting all stakeholders to buy in to corporate goals so that everyone agrees and understands what the business wants to achieve and how it will get there. There are clear responsibilities for each function in the pursuit of goals.

2. Basing business decisions on data. The integration of finance into product, demand and supply functions is key here, as are selecting the right KPIs.

3. Tying decision-making to outcomes and improving accountability. Because every department is responsible for providing accurate numbers and projections, there’s less risk that the CFO and finance team are left holding the bag if revenues fall short.

4. Shifting the culture to embrace cross-functional collaboration. An IBP process encourages openness and trust, and as a result more deeply engages and empowers employees. As an action item, each R&D and manufacturing team member will spend a week annually accompanying sales reps on customer calls.

What Is the Difference Between S&OP and IBP?

The term “IBP” was coined by management consultancy Oliver Wight to describe the next iteration of the sales and operations planning (S&OP) process Wight developed in the early 1980s.

The big difference between IBP and S&OP is that the latter has become the domain of supply chain and logistics specialists, particularly those involved in supply-and-demand balancing and planning. S&OP is execution-focused and involves a traditional budgeting process.

In contrast, IBP takes a more cross-functional and holistic approach to weaving business goals through every function. As a result, in theory, supply chain management is proactive and optimized.

IBP includes S&OP processes but because it involves cultural change, without executive buy-in, IBP will not be successful.

Some major differences between S&OP and IBP are:

6 Steps in the Integrated Business Planning Process

Now that its goals are set, PickerBots can take the next steps in its IBP journey.

1. Determine what is holding the company back. Is it a lack or growth or profitability? Is the product portfolio too complex? Has the business lost competitiveness in its space? For our manufacturing firm, the main problem was overfocus on one niche market.

2. Engage and educate employees. Once leadership buys in to goals, that enthusiasm must trickle down through the ranks. Unless everyone is committed to integrated business planning, success will be elusive. The COO recognizes that a formal employee engagement program will keep workers invested in the success of the business and actively working to meet strategic goals.

3. Set up a tiger team. IBP success comes from tight coordination, constant communication and accountability for KPIs. It’s a cultural shift that will take time to propagate throughout the business. To jumpstart things, PickerBots identified engaged employees within each functional area and assigned them to a daily 20-minute standup call. Now, say a shipment of RFID readers needed by manufacturing will be two weeks late. The purchasing team member shares that information promptly so that sales can manage customer expectations and finance can account for delayed revenue. If the problem recurs, the company can seek out new suppliers. No more surprises.

4. Establish a project/product prioritization process. IBP takes discipline. Only projects that forward the company’s strategic goals get resources. Same for products. That might mean sunsetting a line that’s still selling but lacks growth potential. All managers who require resources or have a product or service launch idea fill out a cost-benefit analysis template that is tailored to reveal whether expected benefits and costs align with goals. Leadership prioritizes using this process. No more sacred cows.

5. Expand the finance team’s influence. Finance needs to sit in on product planning, supply chain optimization and sales strategy meetings. Specifically, choose a finance team member well-versed in FP&A functions. FP&A professionals inform major decisions made by the executive team and collect and analyze financial data from across the organization to create reports that reveal whether goals are being met — and if not, why not? How do we fix the problem? Like many smaller firms, PickerBots doesn’t have a dedicated FP&A staffer, so the head of finance assigns an accounting team member who knows the business and has an aptitude for data collection and number crunching.

6. Adopt technology and tools to support IBP. If the forecasting process is seen as a quarterly or annual exercise imposed by finance and yielding little benefit to departments, IBP can’t succeed. Companies with static, point-in-time budgets need to adopt rolling forecasts to make sure the business stays on track. And, finance teams need to be able to easily access the data they need from each operational area. Both rolling forecasts and better use of data require technology and a commitment to transparency. You can’t manage what you can’t measure.

Traditional vs. Rolling Forecasts

5 tips to succeed at integrated business planning.

Some ways the COO plans to set PickerBots up for success include:

1. Sell IBP as a way to bring order from chaos. For example, large companies, especially those that have engaged in a number of mergers and acquisitions, may have thousands of SKUs and product codes. One big manufacturer Oliver Wight worked with used IBP to whittle 120,000 item numbers down to about 10,000 and reduce inventories by 50% while improving on-time, in-full delivery by up to 20%. For a smaller company, IBP can prevent ever getting in a situation where it needs to slash 90% of SKUs.

2. Adopt a continuous improvement mindset. All parts of any production or service system, particularly people, are interconnected, inform one another and are mutually dependent on generating successful outcomes. This practice’s origin comes from Kaizen, a Japanese term meaning “change for the better.” Originating in Japan, the business philosophy looks to continuously improve operations and involve all employees, from assembly line workers to the CEO. It’s a way to reinforce IBP.

3. Get buy-in from the CIO. PickerBots’ CIO came up through the ranks of manufacturing IT and is familiar with the concept of Total Quality Management (TQM), which has overlap with IBP. That went a long way in communicating the benefits of IBP and freeing up budget for technologies that can make IBP work, like ERP, enterprise performance management (EPM), supply chain management and real-time-capable accounting and finance software — especially important to realize the “one set of numbers” value proposition.

4. Apply risk management principles. Disasters large and small happen. While the zen of IBP skews toward positive and upbeat, make sure department heads are doing scenario planning and what-if analyses to model operational risk — like overdependence on one market. Consider assigning your tiger team a secondary function as a crisis management strike force.

5. Don’t forget HR. Labor is likely your company’s biggest operating expense, so ensure that it’s working for your IBP effort, not against it. A human resources professional can identify traits in applicants — like team players who are data driven and comfortable with transparency — that predict whether they will be contributors to IBP success.

Benefits of Integrated Business Planning

Research shows that the main benefit of implementing IBP is increased revenue, followed by forecast accuracy and improved Perfect Order Delivery rates.

Three additional key benefits:

Real-time insights: Once companies have instituted rolling forecasts, for example, finance can more quickly and accurately answer questions on spending and cash flow. Expect more accurate KPIs across the board.

Ownership: The flip side of accountability is that in a company fully embracing IBP, all employees assume responsibility for meeting all goals. So you’d better make sure that authority to make decisions is decentralized and tied to responsibility for outcomes, because there are few bigger morale killers than accountability without the power to effect success. Companies can further nurture a culture of ownership by tying rewards to meeting or exceeding goals.

Improved customer satisfaction: While more on-time, in-full deliveries make customers happy, that’s not the only way IBP improves Net Promoter Scores. Better planning yields better insights into what customers want, and a strong company culture often leads to improved customer empathy and its associated benefits.

Integrated Business Planning Adoption Challenges

Where a business starts with IBP depends on its maturity. Companies with dog-eat-dog cultures and highly siloed processes have a lot of work to do. These tend to be firms with traditional top-down management structures, static annual budgeting with little ability to generate forward-looking projections and dated business plans that are misaligned with current customer needs.

While all are thorny structural challenges, a leadership team that’s averse to placing trust and decision-making authority at lower levels of the organization is in even worse shape. Companies with autocratic, command-and-control styles must be willing to decentralize authority if they hope to realize IPB’s benefits.

Even businesses with mature, integrated processes and egalitarian cultures often get tripped up by “top down” versus “bottom up” KPI reporting and budgeting. IBP requires businesses to focus less on finance developing a top-line budget and then handing departmental budgets down from on high. Rather, they need to become comfortable with a bottom-up process, where departments start with a plan of what they want to achieve, calculate what it will cost and then feed a number up to the finance team, which uses that input to calculate the total budget.

Companies not already using at least a somewhat flexible budgeting process are likely to find this shift difficult. One way to jump-start the transformation might be a modern form of zero-based budgeting.

Steps of Zero-Based Budgeting for 2021

  • Create a strategic vision for ZBB: Identify cost targets, relevant KPIs and goals.
  • Evaluate business units to select ZBB candidates (also referred to as “decision units,” or any organ of the business that operates independently with its own budget).
  • Start selected budgets from scratch (i.e., from zero).
  • Each decision unit provides “decision packages,” which break down each activity in terms of its objective, funding needs, justification in the context of company goals, technical viability and alternative courses of action.
  • Evaluate each proposed item to determine its value-add to the company and whether the entire cost is justified. What does the expenditure bring back to the company?
  • Prioritize costs based on company goals. Reduce or cut expenses in areas that no longer produce significant value.
  • Allocate funds among areas that are productive and aligned with the business’s growth drivers.

Elements of Integrated Business Planning

Integrated business planning takes place at a regular cadence; every month is most common, so we’ll use that in our example.

These steps are standard for IBP consultants, adaptable to most industries and bake in the PickerBots COO’s virtuous cycle of market research and strategic planning, R&D and manufacturing, demand forecasting and predictive analysis, profitability analysis, supply chain optimization and marketing and sales strategy.

1. Product management review. This includes all elements of product portfolio management. A cross-functional team meets monthly to review the overall status of all of product-related projects: Are they on track? Have we identified new risks and opportunities? Are the most high-value products or services prioritized? The goal is aligning the product portfolio with business goals and making sure needed raw materials and manufacturing floor capacity are lined up. Product managers revise as needed and publish an updated master plan, along with the resources it’ll take to deliver any changes.

2. Demand planning picks it up. This is a cross-functional process that helps businesses meet customer demand for products while minimizing excess inventory and avoiding supply chain disruptions. Demand planning can increase profitability and customer satisfaction and lead to efficiency gains. This team brings together members of sales, marketing and finance to determine whether they’re targeting the right markets, the right way. They work up an optimized demand plan. Relevant KPIs include sales forecast accuracy, inventory turns, fill rates and order fulfillment lead times.

3. Then, the ball goes to the supply planning team. These supply chain experts work out the optimal way to meet projected demand in a cost-effective way. The key is to have visibility into complex supply chains; a formal supply chain visibility (SCV) project helps spot and fix weaknesses, such as inventory shortfalls or order fulfillment issues, before they become major problems. Lower cost of goods sold (COGS) is the North star.

4. The integrated reconciliation team pulls together the initial product, demand and supply plans and consolidates them into one holistic business plan based on a 24- or 36-month projection; for iterative updates, teams highlight material changes. Decisions that could not be made by individual teams are prepared for executive review.

5. The executive team resolves conflicts and rolls the updated plan out to the entire company.

Integrated Business Planning Components

The components of integrated business planning comprise three buckets: Plan, execute and monitor and adjust.

Specific actions falling into each bucket vary depending on the consultancy or technology supplier. Some are more aligned with supply chain planning, while others center on S&OP or financial planning with plug-ins to other functional areas. Others are very industry-specific.

Let’s look at Oracle’s IBPX (Integrated Business Planning and Execution) for Manufacturing solution as an example. Key components include:

  • Top-down and bottom-up, driver-based planning and forecasting
  • Risk modeling for M&A and strategic initiatives
  • Full financial statement structure for strategic and operational planning
  • Predictive and prescriptive analytics and planning
  • A preseeded S&OP process
  • Near-real-time demand and supply balancing
  • Real-time backlog management
  • Automation of predictions and correction actions based on actuals
  • AI-enabled operational planning, such as for sales territories and quotas
  • IoT and sensor data flows integrated with automated decisions

Items like backlog management and enhanced support for IoT and sensor data are important to manufacturers like PickerBots. A retailer might be more interested in advanced inventory management. What’s important is that any solution, whether purchased as a suite or pulled together by an integrator or in-house team, supports the ability to do long- and medium-range and short-term planning based on a single, up-to-date data set that’s accessible to all authorized stakeholders.

Also look for the ability to easily model “what-if” scenarios, robust budgeting and costing and a roadmap to advanced technologies like AI and predictive analytics.

Integrated Business Planning Examples

We mentioned the Oliver Wight customer that whittled 120,000 SKUs down to about 10,000. That firm, Uponor Group, looked to IBP after a string of acquisitions left it with swelling inventories, an extremely complex portfolio and a lack of communication between siloed functions and far-flung locations. The Finnish company sells products for drinking water delivery as well as radiant heating and cooling equipment and has 3,900 employees in 30 countries. Uponor had a hard time getting a singular view of financial information across its subsidiaries, and each unit had its own practices for inventory management. Small events, such as holidays, would drive some sites to build up “just in case” inventory, and double-stocking in warehouses was common. Subsidiaries in different countries had different SKUs for the same items, and R&D was localized, with no collaboration across the company.

Upinor focused first on its supply chain and implemented S&OP processes, then advanced to IBP the following year. The results have been an increase in net sales of $1.1 billion euros, a 30% improvement in on-time in-full deliveries, a 50% reduction in inventories and increased visibility.

U.S.-based technology provider Juniper Networks also undertook an IBP project focused on implementing a digital supply chain with IBP, where the business planning process would extend S&OP throughout the supply chain, product and customer portfolios, customer demand and strategic planning.

Since undertaking the project, Juniper’s lead-time attainment is up 55%. and its inventory costs are down by 15%, allowing it to realize a positive ROI on the IBC project.

History of Integrated Business Planning

Oliver Wight developed S&OP in the 1980s as a methodology for a client that wanted to balance supply-and-demand volume. In the years since, the process evolved to integrate financials, inventory and new-product introductions.

The consultancy renamed S&OP as integrated business planning in the late 1990s to reflect the process of integrating all functions of the business behind one optimized plan. Since then, a newer term, “enterprise integrated business planning,” has emerged. EIBP includes scenario planning and extended supply chain collaboration and discusses how large companies will adopt new technologies, such as AI, big data and advanced analytics.

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Applications of Integrated Business Planning

IBP makes planning and operations much more transparent, so it’s ideal for companies moving to “just in time” manufacturing. It’s also predictive, once a company builds up some data. That can help with customer satisfaction.

PickerBots, as an example, found that it typically sees constrained supply chain capacity for motherboards in Q3. With that insight, sales and marketing can work to encourage customers to take delivery of systems in Q2 or Q4, manufacturing can prebuild products and supply chain leaders can work on alternate sources for parts that pose challenges.

Looking ahead to the future of IBP, we expect it to help companies:

  • Work on ever-longer-range strategy planning, modeling and M&A activities with a higher degree of confidence.
  • Detect and notify stakeholders of unanticipated events before they impact the business by using advanced technologies, including real-time sensor information and machine learning (ML) pattern recognition.

As companies build comfort with automation, advanced IBP systems can be set to take action based on analysis without human intervention. Consider a chain of bakeries; a system plugged into a long-range weather forecast system might detect a tropical storm that could raise the price of vanilla and automatically order extra.

Cloud-based technology such as ERP underpins all these advances. For example, PickerBots always set its sales goals monthly. But often these plans were delayed to let the executive team review and approve any changes, meaning operations was caught unawares. A tool like NetSuite Planning and Budgeting automates planning processes and centralizes company financial and operational data, so finance teams can disseminate updates quickly.

The next frontier? Expending IBP to business partners and suppliers, even customers. But first, companies need to get their own cultural and technology houses in order.

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The winning recipe for transforming advanced planning systems

Last year, McKinsey conducted a survey of a dozen global supply chain leaders across industry sectors to understand what changes could be expected in IT for supply chain planning over the next five years. 1 Marilú Destino, Julian Fischer, Daniel Müllerklein, and Vera Trautwein, “ To improve your supply chain, modernize your supply-chain IT ,” McKinsey, February 9, 2022. One of the survey’s key findings was that 90 percent of respondents expected to overhaul their current planning IT.

In recent years, the COVID-19 pandemic and various destabilizing geopolitical events have made the need to strengthen global supply chains more urgent. Many companies have shifted from manual short-term solutions to longer-term solutions that incorporate advanced technologies, such as advanced prediction and optimization algorithms.

What are advanced planning systems?

Advanced planning systems (APSs) are applications or software that enable industry leaders to plan the end-to-end supply chain and coordinate tasks such as advanced forecasting, demand planning, supplier collaboration, material planning, production planning, distribution planning, and order management (exhibit).

Such technologies are not limited to monolithic architectures and are often the result of advanced planning systems (APSs) that combine bespoke advanced-analytics (AA) models for increased functionality (see sidebar “What are advanced planning systems?”).

In a follow-up survey we conducted with 80 companies involved in digital-planning transformations that focused on the deployment of an APS, we found a wide range of ROI across companies, with the most successful companies achieving returns four times higher than the median.

This article focuses on the recipe that supply chain leaders can use to overcome challenges and achieve the highest impact during their transformations. This winning recipe is designed to support APS-centered digital-planning transformations and to make supply chains more resilient, effective, and efficient.

The five ingredients of a successful APS transformation

According to our survey respondents, more than 60 percent of supply chain–planning IT transformations take more time or money than expected or don’t achieve anticipated business outcomes. The winning recipe for a successful transformation requires integrating five ingredients to deliver at-scale impact (Exhibit 1). Much as a vehicle needs all of its elements, if one part of the system is missing, the vehicle won’t function as intended.

Linking these five ingredients will require fundamental shifts in the ways of working for organizations undergoing APS transformations. Making these shifts can help organizations achieve their business goals on time and under budget.

1. Processes and organization: How to defeat the attitude that ‘things have always been done this way’

A digital-planning transformation is not only an IT matter. It is first and foremost a redesign of planning processes, with a significantly higher degree of cross-functional integration. Simply laying new tech on top of old processes misses several opportunities for optimization, including offering value-added services to customers or driving profitability through the coordination of sales and operations.

Companies should understand “what good looks like” by getting a view of best-practice planning processes, which include demand, supply, logistics, and sales and operations planning—as well as the control tower, inventory management, scheduling, and collaboration with suppliers.

Example: Life sciences company

A large global pharmaceutical manufacturer managed to achieve a major inventory reduction, top industry service levels, and improved efficiency through an advanced planning system (APS) transformation. This improvement was made possible by defining overarching standardized end-to-end processes and operating models that were both global and specific to the business units. In particular, the organization worked to change its planning capabilities, such as moving from fragmented to end-to-end planning. Instead of viewing the APS transformation as an IT project and appointing project managers from the business side and IT separately, the organization created a joint team that brought together IT, business leaders, and process consultants. In this way, the organization carried out the APS transformation in parallel with reengineering processes, resulting in agile three-way communication.

At the outset of the transformation, companies should invest the necessary amount of time into mapping every step of the process in conjunction with bottom-up impact analysis. This can help ensure that any newly implemented process supports the value drivers.

To address process and organization, companies should take the following actions (for an example, see sidebar “Example: Life sciences company”):

  • Orchestrate processes and automate routine tasks, such as data updates, communication, and stakeholder input gathering.
  • Design for critical executive decisions with readily available data and governance that facilitate alignment between commercial, logistics, production, and procurement.
  • Enable comprehensive views of important risks and opportunities via root-cause analysis—for example, pegging orders to their raw materials.
  • Embed process changes and improvements over several cycles, enabling incremental adoption of the new mindset and process.
  • Create transparency for where new processes can be diverted by documenting process exceptions, such as when expediting orders creates supply chain inefficiencies.
  • Monitor end-to-end supply chain performance and adherence with real-time dashboards to track system adoption and proper system decision making. 2 For more on improving supply chain performance, see Jan Henrich, Jason Li, Carolina Mazuera, and Fernando Perez, “ Future-proofing the supply chain ,” McKinsey, June 14, 2022.

By the time the system is ready for transformation, companies should be ready to implement the designed process. Any divergence from the target design state should be monitored for both primary and secondary processes.

2. Data infrastructure and data management: How to overcome insufficient data readiness

Digital planning requires four system layers to integrate seamlessly: a system of innovation in which to use machine learning and other innovative solutions, APS as a core planning software (system of differentiation), a system of consolidation where multiple sources are harmonized and consolidated in the data lake, and a system of record where the company’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems typically have the majority of source data (Exhibit 2).

Automated data integration is challenging and should not be underestimated. What makes the difference in terms of impact is the timely availability and quality of the data with which the systems work. Even though most leaders are aware of this issue, we continue to see companies oversimplify the work, overestimate the capacity of their teams or their resources, and lack the necessary accountability for data preparation.

Treating data like a product can reduce the time and effort needed to implement new use cases by as much as 90 percent. 3 For more on what treating data like a product looks like, see Veeral Desai, Tim Fountaine, and Kayvaun Rowshankish, “ How to unlock the full value of data? Manage it like a product ,” McKinsey, June 14, 2022. On this point, APSs often have a well-defined data model, which is critical to scale the system. Today, companies are capable of preparing 70 percent of the necessary data tables in their own data lake well before the start of the actual transformation.

Example: Large global agricultural company

An agricultural company undertook a supply chain transparency project a year before its advanced planning system (APS) implementation. As part of this project, the company integrated data from various sources into its data lake and built best-practice supply chain dashboards to monitor the data quality. Although project leaders struggled with data issues during the dashboarding project, the company was ultimately able to deliver the APS project ahead of time because it could benefit from the work done before. The company was already using the data via the supply chain dashboards, which improved data quality and timeliness. The time gained could then be invested in improving processes and user interface (UI) design.

Typically, companies build a view or data tables that map to the APS vendor data model. Doing so can derisk future data pipeline issues. Data engineering inside the APS application is not easily accessible by users and can be considered a black box, and data changes upstream will likely cause data pipeline issues in the APS system. Companies therefore will need a hotline to an APS support organization to help them resolve the issues.

To address data integration and architecture, companies should take the following actions (for an example, see sidebar “Example: Large global agricultural company”):

  • Integrate, contextualize, and harmonize necessary data inside the company’s cloud. Build well in advance a view or data tables that map to the APS vendor data model. ERP systems will be the main source of information; however, many companies are running with different ERP systems, and some critical data will likely not reside in the ERP system.
  • Set up a system and data architecture to support real-time decision making and optimize load times between local data updates and the APS user system.
  • Institute the management of master data. Planning systems are built on master data, and even though old processes might not surface problems, the newer process will almost certainly suffer.
  • Review transactional-data accuracy and timeliness. Transactional-data updates should be real time (at the inventory level, for example) and synchronized. In addition, companies should review the accuracy of data related to details such as arrival times and product weights.

3. Planning technologies: How to avoid paying for something that isn’t used to its full potential

Companies often select an APS vendor based on its industry experience or the number of installations the vendor has done. In a second stage, companies create a checklist of planning functionalities, such as pegging, scenario analysis, and debottlenecking. However, we recommend getting a deeper understanding of the quality of these functionalities and reviewing nonfunctional criteria—including ease of use, quality of delivery services, future flexibility, and risk—before selecting an APS vendor.

Because so many APS transformations are considered IT projects, many companies adopt off-the-shelf APS solutions. Instead, companies should assess how to build a two-level architecture that combines APS technology with AA solutions, such as advanced prediction and optimization algorithms.

Example: Global metals producer

A metals company went through a supply-planning transformation at scale, leveraging advanced planning system (APS) technology. In the design phase, the company concluded that the APS vendor’s off-the-shelf algorithm would not suffice to achieve the maximum impact for its future-state process because the company’s processes were bespoke. The APS vendor had an open architecture that allowed the company to integrate a bespoke optimization algorithm, which serves as the brain behind the supply plan, while all data structures, user interfaces, data flows, and user interactions were supported by the more standard APS solution. As a result, the company achieved maximum impact by integrating its unique operational constraints, as well as its objectives, while leveraging strong APS standardization and automation of planning processes.

Regarding AA solutions, a higher level of customization—and, in some cases, bespoke solutions—is needed. Our experience shows that approximately 50 percent of the value from APS transformations comes from the use of customized AA models in combination with APS systems. This allows for maximum flexibility and predictive accuracy and helps optimization models to best fit planning trade-offs and constraints.

To address planning technologies, companies should take the following actions (for an example, see sidebar “Example: Global metals producer”):

  • Undergo a thorough vendor selection based on a set of functional and nonfunctional selection criteria, including industry use cases, installs, and product deep-dive sessions.
  • Select the right systems integration partner, particularly one that can handle the complexity and customization necessary to fit the company’s needs.
  • Get an unbiased, high-level view of the envisioned result and map it against the off-the-shelf APS solution. Align on the customization and list requirements that can’t be fulfilled.
  • Create the mechanism to achieve impact during solution blueprinting and put extra focus on AA solutions. Because these are often the main value drivers, review applicability and customize as needed.
  • Synchronize the rollout of the APS and the relevant AA solutions by region or business unit, thus maximizing value creation along the journey, potentially self-funding the entire transformation, and boosting its overall net present value.
  • As early as the build phase, test that the technology and its various features are functioning correctly. Company product owners should be the final gate to declaring a feature as complete.
  • Take the time to complete system integration testing, user acceptance testing, and hyper-care (the period immediately following a system change that requires elevated levels of support). This will make your system more robust in the long term.

4. Capabilities, mindset, and behaviors: How to avoid the return of old habits

Best-practice processes are typically designed at the start of a project, but once a company reaches the implementation stage of an APS transformation, the target processes are adjusted and people tend to fall back to old ways of working. 4 Knut Alicke, Elena Dumitrescu, Markus Leopoldseder, and Ali Sankur, “ Digital supply chains: Do you have the skills to run them? ,” McKinsey, July 6, 2017.

This usually occurs when organizations underestimate the importance of establishing the right internal capabilities to drive an enhanced supply chain or when companies have not established processes for adapting mindsets and behaviors to new ways of working. 5 Knut Alicke, Elena Dumitrescu, and Margarita Protopappa-Sieke, “ Transforming supply chains: Do you have the skills to accelerate your capabilities? ,” McKinsey, March 18, 2022.

To develop talent with more-complex skill profiles, companies can create two new types of capabilities: one with a combination of functional, technical, and leadership competencies to drive performance and another with technical competencies to build, maintain, and develop core AA-model archetypes.

Example: Semiconductor producer

A leading global semiconductor player embarked on a two-year transformation of its supply chain, upgrading the skills of more than 1,000 employees, many of whom had been working in the organization for 20 to 30 years. The company had no systematic capability-building program in place for experienced staff, and the effort in external hiring had not been able to meet the requirements for the transformation. As the company embarked on a comprehensive supply chain transformation, its leaders suspected that success would depend on a significant shift in the skills and mindsets of its staff. By running a detailed assessment of the company’s workforce capabilities, the company was able to set up a two-year capability-building road map segmented by target population, functional knowledge, and level of expertise. In doing so, workforce capabilities dramatically increased, and the gap to initial state was closed, ensuring the success of the transformation program.

Next to talent development and capability building, there are three other core elements that embed change into the organization: role modeling management (such as the presence of supply chain and IT directors in key project meetings), embedding change in formal mechanisms (such as disabling old systems), and providing intense support to adopt new ways of working (such as setting up a network of superusers).

To address capabilities, mindset, and behaviors, companies should take the following actions (for an example, see sidebar “Example: Semiconductor producer”):

  • Set up a company-wide communications strategy across multiple channels. As part of change management, strive to create understanding and model best practices.
  • Be a role model of top management by being present in crucial project governance meetings, leading company communication, and regularly discussing capabilities in executive meetings.
  • Develop tailored capability-building programs focused on the specific skills needed. Focus on best practices around planning as well as leadership skills and specific APS software skills.
  • Blend new competencies, such as data science or data engineering, with training in supply chain management or support from “translators” who blend functional and digital knowledge.
  • Develop a performance management structure that rewards top performers and takes corrective action when performance drops below expectations.
  • Combine specific trainings based on learning material from the APS vendor with in-person classroom trainings for a set of superusers.
  • Facilitate change management in which process improvements will be made over several cycles, enabling incremental adoption of the new mindset and process.

Finally, this type of transformation can have a twofold impact on performance: in addition to the overall improvement of systems and ways of working, the investment in people could generate a substantial return because of increased motivation. Shaping and building solutions that help employees make more effective business decisions in a more efficient way will enable employees to work smarter—rather than working harder to manually run routine tasks and failing to address complex economic optimization trade-offs in planning.

5. Integrated transformation management: How to avoid project delays and working in silos

Whether a tech-related transformation is for the supply chain or another business function, such transformations are notoriously difficult to get right.

For this reason, value assurance has emerged as a solution for ensuring on-time, on-budget, and on-vision delivery as well as supporting rapid value capture and long-term sustainable impact. Leaders can focus on value-led transformations by implementing guardianship around three distinct, equally important, and mutually reinforcing pillars of responsibility: design, delivery, and value. 6 These three principles will be covered in greater detail in a forthcoming article.

  • Design. Creating a blueprint for success is crucial to effectively managing ingredients of success, such as process and organization, data infrastructure and management, planning technologies, and integrated transformation.
  • Delivery. Ensuring that system and organizational readiness ultimately stacks up to initial design blueprints, delivery also helps resolve tough design choices regarding customization versus standard system design, enabling rapid end-to-end implementation of the solution across the value chain.
  • Value. Driving successful change management can help establish a value-focused transformation office to ensure cross-functional stakeholder alignment and prioritize actions.

With these points in mind, a necessary component of value assurance is building a multidisciplinary team. When it comes to managing the deployment of a wave itself—for example, planning the blueprint, build, testing, or hyper-care for a certain geography and business unit—leaders should set up a strong hands-on team, led by someone who can steer a diverse group of people.

Typically, an advanced planning transformation requires collaboration among at least three to four different companies—for instance, a planning software company, a systems integrator, an operating-model consultancy, and a middleware company. It is important that together these companies bring the necessary expertise on all different layers of a digital-planning system. This requires a diverse team set up with more than ten different roles, including industry experts, supply chain planners, solution architects, integration architects, solution configurators, data lake engineers, source system IT, middleware experts, and others.

Example: A metal company

The advanced planning system (APS) implementation for a metal company involved a collaboration among three organizations: the metal company itself, the APS, and the value assurance or integration partner. To ensure that all three companies were working as one team, the collaboration established a single project governance with one overall project manager and one overall project steering committee (with combined business and IT functions). This avoided siloed ways of working and misaligned priorities. The project manager worked hand in hand with the APS technical lead to set the priorities and define business requirements, while the technical lead defined technical requirements, ensured solution quality, and gave input on workload. As a result, the team was able to work in a synchronized way and deliver the project on time.

Several factors make this level of collaboration challenging. To begin, it requires a change in mindsets among buyers and suppliers that may be used to more transactional or even adversarial relationships. And most collaborative efforts need intensive, cross-functional involvement from all sides—a marked change to the normal working methods at many companies.

To address integrated transformation management, companies should take the following actions (for an example, see sidebar “Example: A metal company”):

  • Set up a project management and project steering committee headed by both IT and the business. Final decision makers, such as the COO and chief technological officer (CTO), can lead the steering committee, removing roadblocks and providing clear direction; project managers can drive top-quality content because of their deep supply chain and ERP expertise.
  • Take the time to become one team and carve out time to have fun. Have an in-person kickoff to align on roles and responsibilities, deliverables of blueprinting, and ways of working.
  • Establish a project management cadence that involves all parties. Key stakeholders of all companies and departments should be present for daily project check-ins, weekly progress reviews, and monthly steering committees.
  • Create clearly defined roles and responsibilities. Summarize team roles and their descriptions on one page and the deliverables per role and project phase on another. Buy-in from senior leaders of each company involved can also help hold everyone accountable.
  • Use one project management tool that captures the entire workload—including user requirements, user acceptance testing (UAT) or system-integration-testing cases, issues, and change requests—and projects along the implementation timeline. Track progress rigorously and reprioritize when needed.
  • Tailor the meeting cadence to what is needed per phase of the project—for example, blueprinting meetings can vary week by week, while testing meetings can be held daily at predefined times and with a consistent agenda. That said, some phases, such as blueprinting and testing, benefit from face-to-face interaction, while others, such as building, are more remote.

Improving cross-functional engagement is a leadership issue. Organizations with the most successful collaboration programs often use a formal approach to managing cross-functional teams, with clearly defined roles and responsibilities. This is necessary because a formal approach not only helps ensure that the business does not see the transformation as an IT project but also helps the APS vendor feel accountable for the outcome in terms of its impact on performance and not merely its execution.

Old playbooks for transforming supply chain systems are no longer useful, so companies need to think APS transformations through across a broad range of areas. To succeed, it is vital that companies look beyond IT to the transformation process itself: the desired data pipeline, which APS system works best for them, what cultural changes the organization needs, and how collaboration across organizations will work now and in the future.

Valerio Dilda is a senior partner in McKinsey’s Paris office, Annouck Driesen is a consultant in the Brussels office, Pierluigi Fenelli is a consultant in the Milan office, and Julian Fischer is a partner in the Munich office.

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Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP): Meaning, Components, and Examples

Investopedia contributors come from a range of backgrounds, and over 24 years there have been thousands of expert writers and editors who have contributed.

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What Is Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)?

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) is a platform companies use to manage and integrate the essential parts of their businesses. Many ERP software applications are critical to companies because they help them implement resource planning by integrating all the processes needed to run their companies with a single system.

An ERP software system can also integrate planning, purchasing inventory, sales, marketing, finance, human resources, and more.

Key Takeaways

  • ERP software can integrate all of the processes needed to run a company.
  • ERP solutions have evolved over the years, and many are now typically web-based applications that users can access remotely.
  • Some benefits of ERP include the free flow of communication between business areas, a single source of information, and accurate, real-time data reporting.
  • There are hundreds of ERP applications a company can choose from, and most can be customized.
  • An ERP system can be ineffective if a company doesn't implement it carefully.

Investopedia / Joules Garcia

Understanding Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)

You can think of an enterprise resource planning system as the glue that binds together the different computer systems for a large organization. Without an ERP application, each department would have its system optimized for its specific tasks. With ERP software, each department still has its system, but all of the systems can be accessed through one application with one interface.

What Does ERP Do?

ERP applications also allow the different departments to communicate and share information more easily with the rest of the company. It collects information about the activity and state of different divisions, making this information available to other parts, where it can be used productively.

ERP applications can help a corporation become more self-aware by linking information about production, finance, distribution, and human resources together. Because it connects different technologies used by each part of a business, an ERP application can eliminate costly duplicates and incompatible technology. The process often integrates accounts payable, stock control systems, order-monitoring systems, and customer databases into one system.

How Does It Work?

ERP has evolved over the years from traditional software models that made use of physical client servers and manual entry systems to cloud-based software with remote, web-based access. The platform is generally maintained by the company that created it, with client companies renting services provided by the platform.

Businesses select the applications they want to use. Then, the hosting company loads the applications onto the server the client is renting, and both parties begin working to integrate the client's processes and data into the platform.

Once all departments are tied into the system, all data is collected on the server and becomes instantly available to those with permission to use it. Reports can be generated with metrics, graphs, or other visuals and aids a client might need to determine how the business and its departments are performing.

A company could experience cost overruns if its ERP system is not implemented carefully.

Benefits of Enterprise Resource Planning

Businesses employ enterprise resource planning (ERP) for various reasons, such as expanding, reducing costs, and improving operations. The benefits sought and realized between companies may differ; however, some are worth noting.

Improves Accuracy and Productivity

Integrating and automating business processes eliminates redundancies and improves accuracy and productivity. In addition, departments with interconnected processes can synchronize work to achieve faster and better outcomes.

Improves Reporting

Some businesses benefit from enhanced real-time data reporting from a single source system. Accurate and complete reporting help companies adequately plan, budget, forecast, and communicate the state of operations to the organization and interested parties, such as shareholders.

Increases Efficiency

ERPs allow businesses to quickly access needed information for clients, vendors, and business partners. This contributes to improved customer and employee satisfaction, quicker response rates, and increased accuracy rates. In addition, associated costs often decrease as the company operates more efficiently.

ERP software also provides total visibility, allowing management to access real-time data for decision-making .

Increases Collaboration

Departments are better able to collaborate and share knowledge; a newly synergized workforce can improve productivity and employee satisfaction as employees are better able to see how each functional group contributes to the mission and vision of the company. Also, menial and manual tasks are eliminated, allowing employees to allocate their time to more meaningful work.

ERP Weaknesses

An ERP system doesn't always eliminate inefficiencies within a business or improve everything. The company might need to rethink how it's organized or risk ending up with incompatible technology.

ERP systems usually fail to achieve the objectives that influenced their installation because of a company's reluctance to abandon old working processes. Some companies may also be reluctant to let go of old software that worked well in the past. The key is to prevent ERP projects from being split into smaller projects, which can result in cost overruns.

Employing change management principles throughout the ERP life cycle can prevent or reduce failures that compromise full implementation.

Some familiar names are leaders in ERP software. Oracle Corp. ( ORCL ) originally supplied a relational database that integrated with ERP software developed by SAP ( SAP ) before entering the broader enterprise market in a big way in the early 2000s. Microsoft ( MSFT ) has long been an industry leader, with many customers using multiple software applications from the company.

As cloud-based solutions have grown in popularity in recent years, the traditional ERP industry leaders have seen challenges from upstarts such as Bizowie and Workwise.

ERP Examples

Fulton & roark.

Men's grooming product maker Fulton & Roark successfully implemented enterprise resource planning to better track inventory and financial data. Like many other businesses, the North Carolina company used spreadsheets to track inventory and accounting software to record financial data.

As the company grew, its processes lagged. Their antiquated inventory tracking system did not account for changing costs, and the accounting software could not record the metrics needed for key financial statements. These breakdowns created manual processes, which further compromised time and resources.

To eliminate unnecessary processes and centralize work, they chose the Oracle NetSuite ERP system. Immediately, Fulton & Rourk was better able to identify accounting errors related to inventory, eliminate costs from employing third parties to evaluate their financial records, and better report financial positions.

Cadbury, a global confectioner and maker of the popular chocolate Cadbury egg, also successfully implemented an ERP system. The company had thousands of systems but could not keep pace with its rapid growth and used ineffective warehouse management systems.

It implemented a system that integrated its thousands of applications, standardized processes, and restructured warehouse management systems—breaking down silos for seamless, integrated coordination of work.

What Is the Importance of Enterprise Resource Planning?

Enterprise resource planning software offers single-system solutions that integrate processes across the business. These applications allow users to interact within a single interface, share information, and enable cross-functional collaboration. They increase productivity, collaboration, and efficiency.

What Are the 5 Components of ERP?

The components of an ERP system depend on the organization's needs. However, there are key features that each ERP should include. Generally, packages include finance, human resource, logistics and manufacturing, supply chain management, and customer relationship management.

What Are the Types of ERP?

Generally there are three deployment options for ERP systems; Cloud-based, on-premise, and a hybrid of the two. Within these options, a business can choose from hundreds of types such as finance, supply chain management, and human resource management.

What Are the 2 Main ERP Applications?

Which ones are the main applications depends on the business and the industry it operates in. Most companies can benefit from supply chain management, logistics, and financial applications to help them streamline their operations and expenses.

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) manages and integrates business processes through a single system. With a better line of sight, companies can better plan and allocate resources. Without ERP, companies tend to operate in silos, with each department using its own disconnected system.

ERP systems promote the free flow of communication and sharing of knowledge across an organization, the integration of systems for improved productivity and efficiencies, and increased synergies across teams and departments. However, moving to an ERP system will be counterproductive if the company's culture does not adjust to the change and the company does not review how the structure of its organization can support it.

Oracle. “ Oracle for SAP Technology Update ,” Page 42.

Microsoft. “ Annual Report 2021 .”

Workwise. “ About Us .”

Bizowie. “ A Different Kind of Enterprise Software Company .”

Oracle NetSuite. “ Fulton & Roark .”

Oracle NetSuite. “ 3 Successful ERP Implementation Case Studies .”

Microsoft. “ Mondelēz International Moves to Microsoft Azure for Great SAP Performance and AI Innovation .”

SAP. “ How Does Support From a Dedicated Engagement Team Accelerate Digital Transformation? ,” Page 3.

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How to Design a Strategic Planning System

  • Peter Lorange
  • Richard F. Vancil

In this sequel to their well-received earlier collaboration for HBR, “Strategic Planning in Diversified Companies” (January–February 1975), Peter Lorange and Richard F. Vancil take the reader through the steps necessary to implement and carry forward a formal strategic planning effort. They identify six issues that top management has to deal with along the way: communication […]

Every business carries on strategic planning, although the formality of that process varies greatly from one company to the next. Conceptually, the process is simple: managers at every level of a hierarchy must ultimately agree on a detailed, integrated plan of action for the coming year; they arrive at agreement through a series of steps starting with the delineation of corporate objectives and concluding with the preparation of a one- or two-year profit plan. However, the design of that process—deciding who does what, when—can be complex, and it is vital to the success of the planning effort.

system in business planning

  • PL Peter Lorange is the president of IMD International in Lausanne, Switzerland, where he is also a professor of strategy and holds the Nestlé Chair.
  • RV Mr. Vancil is professor of business administration at the Harvard Business School and chairman of its Control Area faculty. His most recent HBR article was “Inflation Accounting—The Great Controversy” (March–April 1976). His book, Strategic Planning Systems, will be published next January by Prentice-Hall.

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Best business plan software of 2023

For planning your business finance

  • The best business plan software in full

Best overall

Best budget, best established, best for speed, other business plan software to consider.

The best business plan software makes it simple and easy to plan your business finances in order to present them to a bank or investors.

The best business plan software of 2023 in full 1. Best overall 2. Best budget 3. Best basic 4. Best established 5. Best for speed 6. Other business plan software to consider 7. FAQs

The whole point of a business plan is that it allows you to evaluate your strengths and weaknesses, not least via your Unique Selling Point (USP) ,and make product or service comparisons with competitors.

Of course, even the best business plan relies on estimates and guesstimates, as it's impossible to predict market changes, developments, and future performance under such conditions. 

Ultimately, though, a business plan will demonstratively prove why your business is a solid enough investment to risk putting money into, and shows that you have properly and thoroughly researched your market, and details the real potential of a new business opportunities.

Here then are the best business plan software providers currently available.

You can also look at our featured best free software for small business .

The best business plan software in full:

Reasons to buy, reasons to avoid.

Bizplan is the online business planning tool that claims usage of 30,000 startup founders from the Startups.co platform. They use a guided creator that can break the big project down into the component pieces that get tracked with a Progress Tracker, and expert guidance each step of the way including templates that can be dropped in, and completed, along with simple integration of visuals along the way.

Additional resources are also provided via the Bizplan Academy, with lessons on relevant topics, for example, “Building a Brand: How to Tell a Powerful Brand Story,” and “Critical Path Your Way to Higher Revenues,” among the many offerings. Those that need even more assistance also can take advantage of an expert consultation from a financial expert.

2. PlanGuru

PlanGuru is a comprehensive, and powerful software package in the business planning space. Education is provided via a series of case studies at their PlanGuru University and a whole slew of video tutorials.

The feature set includes flexible budgeting that can handle a simple small business, or a larger multi-department operating budget, and financial forecasting that uses multiple methods, including intelligent and turn-key methods - twenty methods in total. Historical results can also be imported with the general ledger import utility which can then applied to produce a rolling forecast. They also offer PlanGuru Launch, a service to bring in expertise and is charged per hour of assistance.

A significant downside is Planguru charges a higher cost than other software options. The cheapest option is around $75 per month for one business entity when billed annually. While there is no free trial, PlanGuru does offer a 30 day money back guarantee. 

Our expert review:

Enloop is a great choice for business planning software for the cash strapped business as it is the rare offering that has a free tier. Step up up to the next tier, and this is no barebones product, as it has over 100 currency symbols, can automatically generate bank-ready financial reports, and even has automated text writing that can sync with financial data to turn it into text. There is also a real time performance score assigned, that dynamically changes as the business plan is strengthened.  

The plans start with the Free tier, which is limited to a single business plan with simple text, no images, and does not offer any advanced features. The next plan up is the Detailed plan, that supports three business plans, and offers a significant 55% discount when paid annually, making it even better value. This plan costs around $20 per month. For a more comprehensive package you can buy the Performance plan costing around $40 per month.

Read our full Enloop business plan software review .

4. LivePlan

LivePlan is business planning software that offers a simple pricing scheme as there is only a single plan to choose from. As they have a 15+ year track record, they offer a clean and simple interface, that can create business plans that look like they were done by an expert consultant, and the software includes a live dashboard that can track day-to-day performance. Those with writer’s block will benefit from the over 500 included sample plans that can be turned to for inspiration.  

Rather than complicate things with too many tiers to choose from, LivePlan only has a single plan which can be paid for monthly or annually.

5. Business Sorter

Business Sorter promises to simplify and speed up business planning and claims to be able to flesh out a plan in an hour or two, via a novel 273 card sort system that covers many common situations.

The ability to reword cards is included, or also to add cards to the already expansive deck, so no worries if there is not a pre-made card for your situation. Unlike some sites that have videos, the educational resources here are provided as PDFs and Word files, which can be quicker to access, but harder to follow for some learners. 

The lowest tier plan, Basic is fully featured, and includes up to three team leaders. 

Read our full Business Sorter review .

We've only covered some of the most popular business plan software platforms out there, but there are a number of other notables worth mentioning, plus a wide variety of providers of business plan templates. Below we'll briefly cover a range of some of the additional options out there that are worth considering to get your business plan right.

Go Business Plans is more of a consultancy than a software solution, but is worth mentioning for the simple fact that it's one of America's biggest business plan companies. While software might be able to do the job for you, if you're looking for significant funding, it's probably useful to get some professional advice, not least in terms of strategic planning, feasibility studies, and financial projections to ensure you have a solid base for your business plan.

Wise Business Plans provides a very wide range of templates to work from in constructing a business plan. These are particularly designed with funding in mind, no matter what kind of business you run. What is especially helpful is that Wise doesn’t simply deal with business plan templates for a diverse range of business types, the company also provides plan templates for franchises and non-profits.

Plan Writers  is another bespoke service that essentially listens to what you want and then puts the plan together for you. Again, this technically falls outside of business plan "software", but the chances are you'll use a software package as a platform to build from, and Plan Writers can then help you build up from that base.

Bplans is another provider of business plan templates, but goes beyond that with additional pitch and SWOT analysis templates. There are also business plan guides, industry reports, and a free course on writing a business plan. Bplans also publishes a lot of free-to-use articles on business planning, financials, and tax reporting, to help ensure you can keep your figures and projections accurate and compliant.

A business plan is essentially your roadmap to profitability from an initial investment. Whether it's your own money, or a loan from a bank, it's still a good idea to set up a business plan for yourself.

Main things to look to are a SWOT analysis to provide an idea of your business idea's strengths and weaknesses, as well as identify a unique selling point (USP) that will give your business an edge.

While business plans inevitably demand the use of figures, and while these can be impossible to be accurate with, at least by making intelligent guesses you can set yourself targets to work towards.

That's another common feature of a plan, so that specific periods you can review your business progress and make adjustments to your plan as required. This allows you to use real figures for your projections, allowing you to better plan ahead.

You may also be interested in our featured business guides on best business laptops , best business computers and best business smartphones .

Which business plan software is best for you?

When deciding which business plan software to use, first consider what your actual needs are, as sometimes free platforms may only provide basic options, so if you need to use advanced tools you may find a paid platform is much more worthwhile. Additionally, free and budget software options can sometimes prove limited when it comes to the variety of tools available, while higher-end software can really cater for every need, so do ensure you have a good idea of which features you think you may require.

How we tested the best business plan software

To test for the best business plan software we first set up an account with the relevant software platform, whether as a download or as an online service. We then tested the service to see how the software could be used for different purposes and in different situations. The aim was to push each business plan software platform to see how useful its basic tools were and also how easy it was to get to grips with any more advanced tools.

Read how we test, rate, and review products on TechRadar .

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Jonas P. DeMuro

Jonas P. DeMuro is a freelance reviewer covering wireless networking hardware.

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Business Systems: How To Create A High Growth Business Without Burning Out

What are business systems and do they benefit your company? Starting, building and growing a business is exciting. But often things get out of control. Balls get dropped and what was once fun and exciting can become a dreary chore. Why? Because of a lack of business systems .

Many founders find themselves working longer and longer hours for little pay.

You might start wondering whatever possessed you to start a business. After all the goal was freedom, wealth and independence. But now it feels like you’re treading water and going nowhere. Sadly some owners end up throwing in the towel. 

I don’t want this for you. That’s why I’m going to show you how systems can change your company for the better.  It might be just what you need.

What Is A Business System?

A business system is a series of interdependent tasks or documented procedures that outline exactly how to do something in an organization to achieve a business objective. Good business systems streamline workload, improve productivity and get results.

A  business process  (also known as a series of checklists) can be given to a new employee and implemented without training. Not only does it improve onboarding new people. It also massively improves customer service.

For example, a system could be a step-by-step guide to writing blog posts . Think of it as best practices for getting eyes on your content marketing.

  • Step one, keyword research. 
  • Step two, review the top five blogs ranking for that keyword. Note down which questions are routinely answered.
  • Step three, write the blog post.
  • Step four, place the blog into  SurferSEO  for keyword optimization.
  • Step five, submit the optimized blog for editing and approval.
  • Step six, submit the approved blog post to the developer to place into the blog template.
  • Step seven, add imagery, include alt text, a meta description, and internal linking.
  • Step eight, take the blog live and submit it to Google Console to crawl.
  • Step nine, share the blog post on your social media accounts.   

Are business systems and business processes the same?

No. Business processes are what I like to call standard operating procedures. It’s a series of linked tasks, checklists, and activities—business systems—that work towards a singular business goal.

Every business owner needs systems. So, now that you understand what a business system is , let’s look at the benefits of implementing business processes. 

Allan Dib explains business systems

Why Are Systems Important In Business?

In my 1-Page Marketing Plan Course , I talk about the three E’s of business systems—expansion, escape, and exit. Without systems, the “know-how” of running the business is siloed between a few select individuals’ ears, and achieving the three E’s is impossible.

What happens if you get sick, or a vital employee leaves, does your company stop functioning optimally?

Systems negate this, and I’m going to show you how.

Here are five major benefits of implementing a business system.

  • It builds a valuable asset . Investors can buy your company and know that they’ve got a committed customer base, a set way of doing things, a guaranteed annual income, that sort of stuff. Check out this article to see the types of assets  you should be building.
  • You can leverage and scale your business more rapidly. Once you’ve got systems in place, you can focus your time on creating new products that cater to your different customer segments. So you increase your profit margins.
  • Consistency . Systems allow you to deliver a consistent experience, which is super powerful. It means whenever a customer interacts with your business, they get a world-class experience. And happy customers make for happy business owners. A business system can also be useful for managing multiple sites . By creating a documented procedure for each site, you can ensure consistency and quality across all locations. This is especially important if your business is expanding rapidly, as it can be difficult to maintain control without clear guidelines. With a system in place, you can easily onboard new employees and ensure that everyone is following the same processes, improving productivity and results.
  • Lower labor costs . You can reduce your staff number because technology can handle most of the more mundane and repetitive tasks. 
  • I t can improve efficiency . Your employees are more productive because they have a set way of doing things which really makes business activities a synch. 

To recap, systems are essential for expanding your organization, improving business functions, adding new people and products, growing your revenue, improving profit margins , escaping your business and taking a well-deserved holiday, and potentially exiting your organization one day.

Note: Tools are vital for building a productive, efficient, and connected team. Learn more about the tools we love at Successwise here. 

If you want to learn how you can find and hire great remote talent, check out this  blog post .

Why You Need To Systemize Your Business?

If you’re wondering why many small businesses don’t adopt systems, it’s because they’re considered back-office functions or boring.

It’s not something that requires your attention today, particularly when you’re in the startup phase. You’re so focused on building your company that there are other more pressing tasks that you need to deal with. 

So there’s a perceived lack of urgency. 

Thing is, without business systems, you don’t own a business – you ARE the business. If you want to double revenue, you need to double the hours you work. Since you only have so many hours in a day, that limits how fast and how big you grow.

By automating, delegating, and systemizing your business activities and business functions, you gain leverage, which is the key to creating and scaling a high growth organization.

Even if you’re starting out, you need to get into a systems mindset long before hiring your first employee or subcontractor. It’s the critical difference between being self-employed and being an entrepreneur.

Don’t wait until your organization is in crisis mode and spinning out of control. It’s much easier to begin creating your systems from the start than retrofit your business later.  

Are you  building a coaching business ? Click the link to learn how to start and scale your coaching business.

Getting Started With Systems

Before we can transition from self employed to entrepreneur, we first need to create a subtle but vital mindset shift. Self-employed people ARE the business, whereas entrepreneurs OWN the business.

If you’re ever going to experience financial freedom in your company, the key ingredient is leverage. If I had to pick only one thing that sets apart wealthy business owners from average ones, leverage would be it. You can find out more about  The Best Kept Secret Of The Rich  here. 

Perhaps the only thing more important to an entrepreneur than financial success is freedom. Are you setting up your business in a way that facilitates that kind of freedom? You can read up on  Why A Lack Of Systems Is Stunting Your Business Growth And Costing You A Fortune .

Building Your Systems So You Can Be Free

Now that you’ve made the mindset shift from self-employed to entrepreneur, it’s time to start actually building the business systems that are going to run your organization and set you free.

If we’re going to create the kind of speed that’s necessary for a high growth business, we need to  eliminate all bottlenecks  – starting with you. 

You shouldn’t be working non-stop, day and night. Build a team and delegate. Try these top   time management strategies for better productivity.  

Systems are your biggest payday - Allan Dib Quote

What Are Examples Of Business Systems

One of the poster children for good systems is McDonald’s. 

McDonald’s is a multibillion-dollar operation run by young teenagers who can’t even be trusted to make their beds. How does that happen? It happens with business systems.

Their operation manuals cover everything from hiring to product delivery to customer interaction. What these systems do is allow McDonald’s to provide a consistent experience. 

You know that when you walk into a McDonald’s, The Big Mac, the fries, the nuggets will always be the same. And it’s because they’ve got those systems in place. 

Whether you like the food or you don’t, you always know that any McDonald’s you go to will deliver a consistent experience. 

How Many Types Of Business Systems Are There?

While virtually anything can be systematized, there are four main  types of business systems that you need to build. Getting these running is like adding rocket fuel to your startup. I’m going to touch on these below, but you can find out more in this article:  Products Make You Money, Systems Make You A Fortune .

  • There’s your marketing system , and you use this to generate a consistent flow of leads into the business.
  • Then there’s your sales system ; this is what you use to nurture leads, follow up with them, and hopefully convert them into paying customers.
  • The third system is your fulfillment system , and this is the actual thing you do in exchange for the customer’s money.
  • Lastly, there’s your administration system , which encompasses accounts, reception, human resources, etc. It supports all the other business functions.

If you had to start with just one of these systems, the one which will give you the biggest returns on time and money would be your marketing system. Click here to learn how to  build your marketing infrastructure  and assets.

How To Write A Business System In 4 Easy Steps?

So now we’re going to cover the best practices for writing a business system. I’ve built systems in all of my businesses. These are companies I eventually exited for a tidy profit so I like to think I’m qualified to share my expertise. 

When you’re building systems there are three questions you need to think about:

  • Who is going to do it? 
  • What are they going to do? 
  • When are they going to do it? 

Some processes will be handled by people, for example outreach to journalists, podcasts, responding to LinkedIn connections, website maintenance, writing emails, how to order equipment, etc. Some will be handled by technology and automation, so a CRM will send an automated series of emails, Google Analytics will track website visitors and opt-ins

Knowing this early on is important because it influences the processes you create and how you write your business systems. 

But before I get into writing your business processes or standard operating procedure, I want to focus on how you can document your systems.

  • You can use  text and imagery . For instance, you can use a Google or Word document to list the various steps that someone needs to follow. I like to add screengrabs to illustrate my point. So if I am writing a best practice document for  writing a LinkedIn post , I’ll take screengrabs of some of my top-performing posts. This graphically shows what emojis to include, how to write a question that draws attention, the position of hashtags, etc.
  • You can use audio (where appropriate). 
  • Or you can document your system with an instructional video . I particularly like using a screen-sharing program like Loom to explain how to do something. I just hit record and can walk through the process step-by-step. 

Now that you know how to document your business systems, it’s time to map out your process or workflow. And really, there are four stages to writing a standard operating procedure. 

Here is what I like to do.

Step 1: Come up with a process.

My team and I will get together, and we will try to define what the best method is. So what is the gold standard? During this brainstorming session, we want to identify who does what. Who is going to compile the data? Who will design the document? Who will film an instructional video? That sort of thing.

Step 2: Document It.

For instance, my copywriter will note down in a document exactly how to pitch media on Haro or SourceBottle. She’ll write the process, taking screen grabs of each step. Then my designer might create visuals to illustrate each step. And my marketing assistant will take all of this information and compile it into a branded SOP document.

STEP 3: Implement It.

Let’s say my copywriter leaves, and I hire a new copywriter. They can take the media pitching business system, read it, and hit the ground running. I can also share it with my 1:1 clients, and they can implement the same process into their organization, so that becomes very powerful.

Step 4: Adjust when necessary.

So sometimes we find, “Hang on, there is a better way of doing it,” and then we adjust and course correct. 

For best results, show your employees and clients how to put a business system together, then let them do it. Make sure you watch them and provide guidance when needed. 

Virtually everything in your business can and should be documented in a business process.

You might think that as a solopreneur you don’t need to build systems. You’d be wrong. I show you  how to start systemizing as a one person business . 

Four People Business Systems Are Valuable To

Now   that you know how to put a  business system together let’s look at the strategic advantages it gives your organization and who values your systems.

A system is valuable to:

1. Business Owners Value Systems

A business system is valuable to you, the business owner, solopreneur or startup founder.  

  • With systems, you’re not reliant on people. 
  • You can expand and escape your business. 
  • You can franchise or license your company which is an additional cash injection that you can look forward to. 

2. Employees & Incoming Staff Value Systems

You or management want to be able to pass something over to a recruit and say, “This is how we do it here, this is our checklist, this is our process, this is our procedure,” and it’s very, very important that you’re able to do that. 

You don’t have to train employees up. All they need to do is follow the procedure outlined in the document. And because you’ve mapped it out, it’s easier to pick up and run with. 

  • This removes unnecessary frustration. 
  • It improves the quality of work delivered. 
  • And it means you’re not people reliant. 

Someone can decide to leave, and your business won’t stop functioning. The recruit can pick up where the last person left off, and that’s a great place to be in. 

3. Your Customers Value Systems

Customers want consistency. When you implement systems in your business, each process ensures you deliver consistent results with every interaction. 

Your customers know what to expect, and that builds loyalty. 

But you can also use your systems document as a byproduct which a coaching client, for example, can implement into their business. 

So you’re not only advising your client, but you’re saying, “look, this is how we’ve done this. It’s our gold standard. We’ve had great success using this methodology, and you can too.” 

So that’s a big motivator for clients to choose you over, say, a competitor.

4. Potential Investors Value Systems

They’re not just buying the customer base, which is really a historical document, or the revenue, which again, is a historical metric. They’re buying a system that generates new leads, prospects, and customers, and a process for delivering products and services. Now that makes the business dramatically more valuable to prospective purchases.

And this is your  ultimate customer . It’s the person who puts you out of business and writes you that big check that makes you leave and do something else. 

Some of the biggest fortunes have been created when owners have sold or licensed their companies. 

But if management depends on you to be present to get things done,  it’s really a self-made job and  worthless to investors. 

So   Start With The End In Mind  and  r emember, technology has created more millionaires and billionaires than anything else. 

Click here to learn  How Smart Entrepreneurs Use Technology   to create value in your organization.

Systemizing key aspects of your business is vital to success

Systems provide solutions for common organisational problems. 

The startups and small businesses that win in marketing are the ones that do the simple things consistently. They get them done not because of willpower but because of a business system.

I want you to think of systems as your secret weapon—your Iron Man suit that will help you punch above your weight.  Systems let you put much of the repetitive and tedious tasks on autopilot, and that’s exciting because it frees up your time to focus on coming up with a new vision, a new way of doing things, a new market to serve, whatever.

So like Jim Rohn says, “Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines practiced every day. Failure is a few errors in judgment repeated every day.”

Don’t repeat your errors of judgment daily.

Just put in those few simple disciplines: start documenting your processes, start putting together your marketing system. Make sure you’re using technology to reduce friction, create a more consistent experience for your clients, and  deliver a wow experience .

Those systems will free you. They’ll help you expand, escape, and eventually exit your SME and that, to me as an entrepreneur, is super exciting.

Every team needs business processes. And every entrepreneur needs a team.  Learn why, here .

7 thoughts on “Business Systems: How To Create A High Growth Business Without Burning Out”

system in business planning

Really helpful post – thanks for sharing. I am fairly new in my business journey but already looking at documenting systems so I can work on my business and not in it. Tough to know when to start hiring people for roles.

system in business planning

Hey Adam, congrats on beginning your entrepreneurial journey. Welcome to the club. Remember, you don’t have to hire someone full time. Allan started with a marketing manager two hours a day. She massively freed up his time and has been instrumental in scaling Successwise. So if you’re slammed, then look at getting someone in a couple of hours a day or even a week.

system in business planning

That’s right, a good thing in my life. I have started my new business and this system has been helpful in growing my business to some extent. Thanks CANDICE For Sharing This Important Information.

system in business planning

Great article Allan, I really needed this today. I grew my business from 200k per year to now over a million in revenue and my systems are non existent. I constantly work in my business as opposed to being an entrepreneur. I can only imagine where I would be today if I had great systems in place. Looking forward to reading more articles on your site. Thank you for this.

system in business planning

Appreciate the simplicity of explanation of it. Any organization wants to function with the highest efficiency need to have a proper system.

system in business planning

Hi there, where do you recommend documenting these systems?

Hey Cameron, start as soon as possible. You’ll always be refining your systems, but you need to have them documented to take them off your plate.

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The Business Planning Process: 6 Steps To Creating a New Plan

The Business Planning Process 6 Steps to Create a New Plan

In this article, we will define and explain the basic business planning process to help your business move in the right direction.

What is Business Planning?

Business planning is the process whereby an organization’s leaders figure out the best roadmap for growth and document their plan for success.

The business planning process includes diagnosing the company’s internal strengths and weaknesses, improving its efficiency, working out how it will compete against rival firms in the future, and setting milestones for progress so they can be measured.

The process includes writing a new business plan. What is a business plan? It is a written document that provides an outline and resources needed to achieve success. Whether you are writing your plan from scratch, from a simple business plan template , or working with an experienced business plan consultant or writer, business planning for startups, small businesses, and existing companies is the same.

Finish Your Business Plan Today!

The best business planning process is to use our business plan template to streamline the creation of your plan: Download Growthink’s Ultimate Business Plan Template and finish your business plan & financial model in hours.

The Better Business Planning Process

The business plan process includes 6 steps as follows:

  • Do Your Research
  • Calculate Your Financial Forecast
  • Draft Your Plan
  • Revise & Proofread
  • Nail the Business Plan Presentation

We’ve provided more detail for each of these key business plan steps below.

1. Do Your Research

Conduct detailed research into the industry, target market, existing customer base,  competitors, and costs of the business begins the process. Consider each new step a new project that requires project planning and execution. You may ask yourself the following questions:

  • What are your business goals?
  • What is the current state of your business?
  • What are the current industry trends?
  • What is your competition doing?

There are a variety of resources needed, ranging from databases and articles to direct interviews with other entrepreneurs, potential customers, or industry experts. The information gathered during this process should be documented and organized carefully, including the source as there is a need to cite sources within your business plan.

You may also want to complete a SWOT Analysis for your own business to identify your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and potential risks as this will help you develop your strategies to highlight your competitive advantage.

2. Strategize

Now, you will use the research to determine the best strategy for your business. You may choose to develop new strategies or refine existing strategies that have demonstrated success in the industry. Pulling the best practices of the industry provides a foundation, but then you should expand on the different activities that focus on your competitive advantage.

This step of the planning process may include formulating a vision for the company’s future, which can be done by conducting intensive customer interviews and understanding their motivations for purchasing goods and services of interest. Dig deeper into decisions on an appropriate marketing plan, operational processes to execute your plan, and human resources required for the first five years of the company’s life.

3. Calculate Your Financial Forecast

All of the activities you choose for your strategy come at some cost and, hopefully, lead to some revenues. Sketch out the financial situation by looking at whether you can expect revenues to cover all costs and leave room for profit in the long run.

Begin to insert your financial assumptions and startup costs into a financial model which can produce a first-year cash flow statement for you, giving you the best sense of the cash you will need on hand to fund your early operations.

A full set of financial statements provides the details about the company’s operations and performance, including its expenses and profits by accounting period (quarterly or year-to-date). Financial statements also provide a snapshot of the company’s current financial position, including its assets and liabilities.

This is one of the most valued aspects of any business plan as it provides a straightforward summary of what a company does with its money, or how it grows from initial investment to become profitable.

4. Draft Your Plan

With financials more or less settled and a strategy decided, it is time to draft through the narrative of each component of your business plan . With the background work you have completed, the drafting itself should be a relatively painless process.

If you have trouble writing convincing prose, this is a time to seek the help of an experienced business plan writer who can put together the plan from this point.

5. Revise & Proofread

Revisit the entire plan to look for any ideas or wording that may be confusing, redundant, or irrelevant to the points you are making within the plan. You may want to work with other management team members in your business who are familiar with the company’s operations or marketing plan in order to fine-tune the plan.

Finally, proofread thoroughly for spelling, grammar, and formatting, enlisting the help of others to act as additional sets of eyes. You may begin to experience burnout from working on the plan for so long and have a need to set it aside for a bit to look at it again with fresh eyes.

6. Nail the Business Plan Presentation

The presentation of the business plan should succinctly highlight the key points outlined above and include additional material that would be helpful to potential investors such as financial information, resumes of key employees, or samples of marketing materials. It can also be beneficial to provide a report on past sales or financial performance and what the business has done to bring it back into positive territory.

Business Planning Process Conclusion

Every entrepreneur dreams of the day their business becomes wildly successful.

But what does that really mean? How do you know whether your idea is worth pursuing?

And how do you stay motivated when things are not going as planned? The answers to these questions can be found in your business plan. This document helps entrepreneurs make better decisions and avoid common pitfalls along the way. ​

Business plans are dynamic documents that can be revised and presented to different audiences throughout the course of a company’s life. For example, a business may have one plan for its initial investment proposal, another which focuses more on milestones and objectives for the first several years in existence, and yet one more which is used specifically when raising funds.

Business plans are a critical first step for any company looking to attract investors or receive grant money, as they allow a new organization to better convey its potential and business goals to those able to provide financial resources.

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  • What is strategic planning? 5 steps and ...

What is strategic planning? 5 steps and processes

Julia Martins contributor headshot

A strategic plan helps you define and share the direction your company will take in the next three to five years. It includes your company’s vision and mission statements, goals, and the actions you’ll take to achieve those goals. In this article we describe how a strategic plan compares to other project and business tools, plus four steps to create a successful strategic plan for your company.

Strategic planning is when business leaders map out their vision for the organization’s growth and how they’re going to get there. Strategic plans inform your organization’s decisions, growth, and goals. So if you work for a small company or startup, you could likely benefit from creating a strategic plan. When you have a clear sense of where your organization is going, you’re able to ensure your teams are working on projects that make the most impact. 

The strategic planning process doesn’t just help you identify where you need to go—during the process, you’ll also create a document you can share with employees and stakeholders so they stay informed. In this article, we’ll walk you through how to get started developing a strategic plan.

What is a strategic plan?

A strategic plan is a tool to define your organization’s goals and what actions you will take to achieve them. Typically, a strategic plan will include your company’s vision and mission statements, your long-term goals (as well as short-term, yearly objectives), and an action plan of the steps you’re going to take to move in the right direction. 

[inline illustration] Strategic plan elements (infographic)

Your strategic plan document should include: 

Your company’s mission statement

Your company’s goals

A plan of action to achieve those goals

Your approach to achieving your goals

The tactics you’ll use to meet your goals

An effective strategic plan can give your organization clarity and focus. This level of clarity isn’t always a given—according to our research, only 16% of knowledge workers say their company is effective at setting and communicating company goals. By investing time into strategy formulation, you can build out a three- to five-year vision for the future of your company. This strategy will then inform your yearly and quarterly company goals. 

Do I need a strategic plan?

A strategic plan is one of many tools you can use to plan and hit your goals. It helps map out strategic objectives and growth metrics. Here’s how a strategic plan compares to other project management and business tools.

Strategic plan vs. business plan

A business plan can help you document your strategy as you’re getting started so every team member is on the same page about your core business priorities and goals. This tool can help you document and share your strategy with key investors or stakeholders as you get your business up and running.

You should create a business plan when you’re: 

Just starting your business

Significantly restructuring your business

If your business is already established, consider creating a strategic plan instead of a business plan. Even if you’re working at a relatively young company, your strategic plan can build on your business plan to help you move in the right direction. During the strategic planning process, you’ll draw from a lot of the fundamental business elements you built early on to establish your strategy for the next three to five years.

Key takeaway: A business plan works for new businesses or large organizational overhauls. Strategic plans are better for established businesses. 

Strategic plan vs. mission and vision statements

Your strategic plan, mission statement, and vision statements are all closely connected. In fact, during the strategic planning process, you will take inspiration from your mission and vision statements in order to build out your strategic plan.

As a result, you should already have your mission and vision statements drafted before you create a strategic plan. Ideally, this is something you created during the business planning phase or shortly after your company started. If you don’t have a mission or vision statement, take some time to create those now. A mission statement states your company’s purpose and it addresses what problem your organization is trying to solve. A vision statement states, in very broad strokes, how you’re going to get there. 

Simply put: 

A mission statement summarizes your company’s purpose

A vision statement broadly explains how you’ll reach your company’s purpose

A strategic plan should include your mission and vision statements, but it should also be more specific than that. Your mission and vision statements could, theoretically, remain the same throughout your company’s entire lifespan. A strategic plan pulls in inspiration from your mission and vision statements and outlines what actions you’re going to take to move in the right direction. 

For example, if your company produces pet safety equipment, here’s how your mission statement, vision statement, and strategic plan might shake out:

Mission statement: “To ensure the safety of the world’s animals.” 

Vision statement: “To create pet safety and tracking products that are effortless to use.” 

Your strategic plan would outline the steps you’re going to take in the next few years to bring your company closer to your mission and vision. For example, you develop a new pet tracking smart collar or improve the microchipping experience for pet owners. 

Key takeaway: A strategic plan draws inspiration from your mission and vision statements. 

Strategic plan vs. company objectives

Company objectives are broad goals. You should set these on a yearly or quarterly basis (if your organization moves quickly). These objectives give your team a clear sense of what you intend to accomplish for a set period of time. 

Your strategic plan is more forward-thinking than your company goals, and it should cover more than one year of work. Think of it this way: your company objectives will move the needle towards your overall strategy—but your strategic plan should be bigger than company objectives because it spans multiple years.

Key takeaway: Company objectives are broad, evergreen goals, while a strategic plan is a specific plan of action. 

Strategic plan vs. business case

A business case is a document to help you pitch a significant investment or initiative for your company. When you create a business case, you’re outlining why this investment is a good idea, and how this large-scale project will positively impact the business. 

You might end up building business cases for things on your strategic plan’s roadmap—but your strategic plan should be bigger than that. This tool should encompass multiple years of your roadmap, across your entire company—not just one initiative.

Key takeaway: A business case tackles one initiative or investment, while a strategic plan maps out years of overall growth for your company. 

Strategic plan vs. project plan

A strategic plan is a company-wide, multi-year plan of what you want to accomplish in the next three to five years and how you plan to accomplish that. A project plan, on the other hand, outlines how you’re going to accomplish a specific project. This project could be one of many initiatives that contribute to a specific company objective which, in turn, is one of many objectives that contribute to your strategic plan. 

A project plan has seven parts: 

Success metrics

Stakeholders and roles

Scope and budget

Milestones and deliverables

Timeline and schedule

Communication plan

Key takeaway: You may build project plans to map out parts of your strategic plan. 

When should I create a strategic plan?

You should aim to create a strategic plan every three to five years, depending on your organization’s growth speed. That being said, if your organization moves quickly, consider creating one every two to three years instead. Small businesses may need to create strategic plans more often, as their needs change. 

Since the point of a strategic plan is to map out your long-term goals and how you’ll get there, you should create a strategic plan when you’ve met most or all of them. You should also create a strategic plan any time you’re going to make a large pivot in your organization’s mission or enter new markets. 

What are the 5 steps in strategic planning?

The strategic planning process should be run by a small team of key stakeholders who will be in charge of building your strategic plan. 

Your group of strategic planners, sometimes called the management committee, should be a small team of five to 10 key stakeholders and decision-makers for the company. They won’t be the only people involved—but they will be the people driving the work. 

Once you’ve established your management committee, you can get to work on the strategic planning process. 

[inline illustration] The road to strategic planning (infographic)

Step 1: Determine where you are

Before you can get started with strategy development and define where you’re going, you first need to define where you are. To do this, your management committee should collect a variety of information from additional stakeholders—like employees and customers. In particular, plan to gather:

Relevant industry and market data to inform any market opportunities, as well as any potential upcoming threats in the near future

Customer insights to understand what your customers want from your company—like product improvements or additional services

Employee feedback that needs to be addressed—whether in the product, business practices, or company culture

A SWOT analysis to help you assess both current and future potential for the business (you’ll return to this analysis periodically during the strategic planning process). 

To fill out each letter in the SWOT acronym, your management committee will answer a series of questions:

What does your organization currently do well?

What separates you from your competitors?

What are your most valuable internal resources?

What tangible assets do you have?

What is your biggest strength? 


What does your organization do poorly?

What do you currently lack (whether that’s a product, resource, or process)?

What do your competitors do better than you?

What, if any, limitations are holding your organization back?

What processes or products need improvement? 


What opportunities does your organization have?

How can you leverage your unique company strengths?

Are there any trends that you can take advantage of?

How can you capitalize on marketing or press opportunities?

Is there an emerging need for your product or service? 

What emerging competitors should you keep an eye on?

Are there any weaknesses that expose your organization to risk?

Have you or could you experience negative press that could reduce market share?

Is there a chance of changing customer attitudes towards your company? 

Step 2: Identify your goals and objectives

This is where the magic happens. To develop your strategy, take into account your current position, which is where you are now. Then, draw inspiration from your original business documents—these are your final destination. 

To develop your strategy, you’re essentially pulling out your compass and asking, “Where are we going next?” This can help you figure out exactly which path you need to take. 

During this phase of the planning process, take inspiration from important company documents to ensure your strategic plan is moving your company in the right direction like:

Your mission statement, to understand how you can continue moving towards your organization’s core purpose

Your vision statement, to clarify how your strategic plan fits into your long-term vision

Your company values, to guide you towards what matters most towards your company

Your competitive advantages, to understand what unique benefit you offer to the market

Your long-term goals, to track where you want to be in five or 10 years

Your financial forecast and projection, to understand where you expect your financials to be in the next three years, what your expected cash flow is, and what new opportunities you will likely be able to invest in

Step 3: Develop your plan

Now that you understand where you are and where you want to go, it’s time to put pen to paper. Your plan will take your position and strategy into account to define your organization-wide plan for the next three to five years. Keep in mind that even though you’re creating a long-term plan, parts of your strategic plan should be created as the quarters and years go on.

As you build your strategic plan, you should define:

Your company priorities for the next three to five years, based on your SWOT analysis and strategy.

Yearly objectives for the first year. You don’t need to define your objectives for every year of the strategic plan. As the years go on, create new yearly objectives that connect back to your overall strategic goals . 

Related key results and KPIs for that first year. Some of these should be set by the management committee, and some should be set by specific teams that are closer to the work. Make sure your key results and KPIs are measurable and actionable.

Budget for the next year or few years. This should be based on your financial forecast as well as your direction. Do you need to spend aggressively to develop your product? Build your team? Make a dent with marketing? Clarify your most important initiatives and how you’ll budget for those.

A high-level project roadmap . A project roadmap is a tool in project management that helps you visualize the timeline of a complex initiative, but you can also create a very high-level project roadmap for your strategic plan. Outline what you expect to be working on in certain quarters or years to make the plan more actionable and understandable.

Step 4: Execute your plan

After all that buildup, it’s time to put your plan into action. New strategy execution involves clear communication across your entire organization to make sure everyone knows their responsibilities and how to measure the plan’s success. 

Map your processes with key performance indicators, which will gauge the success of your plan. KPIs will establish which parts of your plan you want achieved in what time frame. 

A few tips to make sure your plan will be executed without a hitch: 

Align tasks with job descriptions to make sure people are equipped to get their jobs done

Communicate clearly to your entire organization throughout the implementation process 

Fully commit to your plan 

Step 5: Revise and restructure as needed

At this point, you should have created and implemented your new strategic framework. The final step of the planning process is to monitor and manage your plan.

Share your strategic plan —this isn’t a document to hide away. Make sure your team (especially senior leadership) has access to it so they can understand how their work contributes to company priorities and your overall strategic plan. We recommend sharing your plan in the same tool you use to manage and track work, so you can more easily connect high-level objectives to daily work. If you don’t already, consider using a work management tool .

Update your plan regularly (quarterly and annually). Make sure you’re using your strategic plan to inform your shorter-term goals. Your strategic plan also isn’t set in stone. You’ll likely need to update the plan if your company decides to change directions or make new investments. As new market opportunities and threats come up, you’ll likely want to tweak your strategic plan to ensure you’re building your organization in the best direction possible for the next few years.

Keep in mind that your plan won’t last forever—even if you do update it frequently. A successful strategic plan evolves with your company’s long-term goals. When you’ve achieved most of your strategic goals, or if your strategy has evolved significantly since you first made your plan, it might be time to create a new one.

The benefits of strategic planning

Strategic planning can help with goal-setting by allowing you to explain how your company will move towards your mission and vision statements in the next three to five years. If you think of your company trajectory as a line on a map, a strategic plan can help you better quantify how you’ll get from point A (where you are now) to point B (where you want to be in a few years).

When you create and share a clear strategic plan with your team, you can:

Align everyone around a shared purpose

Proactively set objectives to help you get where you want to go

Define long-term goals, and then set shorter-term goals to support them

Assess your current situation and any opportunities—or threats

Help your business be more durable because you’re thinking long-term

Increase motivation and engagement

Sticking to the strategic plan

To turn your company strategy into a plan—and ultimately, impact—make sure you’re proactively connecting company objectives to daily work. When you can clarify this connection, you’re giving your team members the context they need to get their best work done. 

With clear priorities, team members can focus on the initiatives that are making the biggest impact for the company—and they’ll likely be more engaged while doing so.

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Business Planning: It’s Importance, Types and Key Elements

Table of Contents

Every year, thousands of new businesses see the light of the day. One look at the  World Bank's Entrepreneurship Survey and database  shows the mind-boggling rate of new business registrations. However, sadly, only a tiny percentage of them have a chance of survival.   

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 20% of small businesses fail in their first year, about 50% in their fifth year.

Research from the University of Tennessee found that 44% of businesses fail within the first three years. Among those that operate within specific sectors, like information (which includes most tech firms), 63% shut shop within three years.

Several  other statistics  expose the abysmal rates of business failure. But why are so many businesses bound to fail? Most studies mention "lack of business planning" as one of the reasons.

This isn’t surprising at all. 

Running a business without a plan is like riding a motorcycle up a craggy cliff blindfolded. Yet, way too many firms ( a whopping 67%)  don't have a formal business plan in place. 

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It doesn't matter if you're a startup with a great idea or a business with an excellent product. You can only go so far without a roadmap — a business plan. Only, a business plan is so much more than just a roadmap. A solid plan allows a business to weather market challenges and pivot quickly in the face of crisis, like the one global businesses are struggling with right now, in the post-pandemic world.  

But before you can go ahead and develop a great business plan, you need to know the basics. In this article, we'll discuss the fundamentals of business planning to help you plan effectively for 2021.  

Now before we begin with the details of business planning, let us understand what it is.

What Is a Business Plan?

No two businesses have an identical business plan, even if they operate within the same industry. So one business plan can look entirely different from another one. Still, for the sake of simplicity, a business plan can be defined as a guide for a company to operate and achieve its goals.  

More specifically, it's a document in writing that outlines the goals, objectives, and purpose of a business while laying out the blueprint for its day-to-day operations and key functions such as marketing, finance, and expansion.

A good business plan can be a game-changer for startups that are looking to raise funds to grow and scale. It convinces prospective investors that the venture will be profitable and provides a realistic outlook on how much profit is on the cards and by when it will be attained. 

However, it's not only new businesses that greatly benefit from a business plan. Well-established companies and large conglomerates also need to tweak their business plans to adapt to new business environments and unpredictable market changes. 

Before getting into learning more about business planning, let us learn the advantages of having one.

The Advantages of Having a Business Plan

Since a detailed business plan offers a birds-eye view of the entire framework of an establishment, it has several benefits that make it an important part of any organization. Here are few ways a business plan can offer significant competitive edge.

  • Sets objectives and benchmarks: Proper planning helps a business set realistic objectives and assign stipulated time for those goals to be met. This results in long-term profitability. It also lets a company set benchmarks and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) necessary to reach its goals. 
  • Maximizes resource allocation: A good business plan helps to effectively organize and allocate the company’s resources. It provides an understanding of the result of actions, such as, opening new offices, recruiting fresh staff, change in production, and so on. It also helps the business estimate the financial impact of such actions.
  • Enhances viability: A plan greatly contributes towards turning concepts into reality. Though business plans vary from company to company, the blueprints of successful companies often serve as an excellent guide for nascent-stage start-ups and new entrepreneurs. It also helps existing firms to market, advertise, and promote new products and services into the market.
  • Aids in decision making: Running a business involves a lot of decision making: where to pitch, where to locate, what to sell, what to charge — the list goes on. A well thought-out business plan provides an organization the ability to anticipate the curveballs that the future could throw at them. It allows them to come up with answers and solutions to these issues well in advance.
  • Fix past mistakes: When businesses create plans keeping in mind the flaws and failures of the past and what worked for them and what didn’t, it can help them save time, money, and resources. Such plans that reflects the lessons learnt from the past offers businesses an opportunity to avoid future pitfalls.
  • Attracts investors: A business plan gives investors an in-depth idea about the objectives, structure, and validity of a firm. It helps to secure their confidence and encourages them to invest. 

Now let's look at the various types involved in business planning.

The Types of Business Plans

Business plans are formulated according to the needs of a business. It can be a simple one-page document or an elaborate 40-page affair, or anything in between. While there’s no rule set in stone as to what exactly a business plan can or can’t contain, there are a few common types of business plan that nearly all businesses in existence use.  

Here’s an overview of a few fundamental types of business plans. 

  • Start-up plan: As the name suggests, this is a documentation of the plans, structure, and objections of a new business establishments. It describes the products and services that are to be produced by the firm, the staff management, and market analysis of their production. Often, a detailed finance spreadsheet is also attached to this document for investors to determine the viability of the new business set-up.
  • Feasibility plan: A feasibility plan evaluates the prospective customers of the products or services that are to be produced by a company. It also estimates the possibility of a profit or a loss of a venture. It helps to forecast how well a product will sell at the market, the duration it will require to yield results, and the profit margin that it will secure on investments. 
  • Expansion Plan: This kind of plan is primarily framed when a company decided to expand in terms of production or structure. It lays down the fundamental steps and guidelines with regards to internal or external growth. It helps the firm to analyze the activities like resource allocation for increased production, financial investments, employment of extra staff, and much more.
  • Operations Plan: An operational plan is also called an annual plan. This details the day-to-day activities and strategies that a business needs to follow in order to materialize its targets. It outlines the roles and responsibilities of the managing body, the various departments, and the company’s employees for the holistic success of the firm.
  • Strategic Plan: This document caters to the internal strategies of the company and is a part of the foundational grounds of the establishments. It can be accurately drafted with the help of a SWOT analysis through which the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats can be categorized and evaluated so that to develop means for optimizing profits.

The Key Elements of a Business Plan

There is some preliminary work that’s required before you actually sit down to write a plan for your business. Knowing what goes into a business plan is one of them. 

Here are the key elements of a good business plan:

  • Executive Summary: An executive summary gives a clear picture of the strategies and goals of your business right at the outset. Though its value is often understated, it can be extremely helpful in creating the readers’ first impression of your business. As such, it could define the opinions of customers and investors from the get-go.  
  • Business Description: A thorough business description removes room for any ambiguity from your processes. An excellent business description will explain the size and structure of the firm as well as its position in the market. It also describes the kind of products and services that the company offers. It even states as to whether the company is old and established or new and aspiring. Most importantly, it highlights the USP of the products or services as compared to your competitors in the market.
  • Market Analysis: A systematic market analysis helps to determine the current position of a business and analyzes its scope for future expansions. This can help in evaluating investments, promotions, marketing, and distribution of products. In-depth market understanding also helps a business combat competition and make plans for long-term success.
  • Operations and Management: Much like a statement of purpose, this allows an enterprise to explain its uniqueness to its readers and customers. It showcases the ways in which the firm can deliver greater and superior products at cheaper rates and in relatively less time. 
  • Financial Plan: This is the most important element of a business plan and is primarily addressed to investors and sponsors. It requires a firm to reveal its financial policies and market analysis. At times, a 5-year financial report is also required to be included to show past performances and profits. The financial plan draws out the current business strategies, future projections, and the total estimated worth of the firm.

Best Business Plan Software

The importance of business planning is it simplifies the planning of your company's finances to present this information to a bank or investors. Here are the best business plan software providers available right now:

  • Business Sorter

Common Challenges of Writing a Business Plan

The importance of business planning cannot be emphasized enough, but it can be challenging to write a business plan. Here are a few issues to consider before you start your business planning:

  • Create a business plan to determine your company's direction, obtain financing, and attract investors.
  • Identifying financial, demographic, and achievable goals is a common challenge when writing a business plan.
  • Some entrepreneurs struggle to write a business plan that is concise, interesting, and informative enough to demonstrate the viability of their business idea.
  • You can streamline your business planning process by conducting research, speaking with experts and peers, and working with a business consultant.

Become an Expert Business Planner

Whether you’re running your own business or in-charge of ensuring strategic performance and growth for your employer or clients, knowing the ins and outs of business planning can set you up for success. 

Be it the launch of a new and exciting product or an expansion of operations, business planning is the necessity of all large and small companies. Which is why the need for professionals with superior business planning skills will never die out. In fact, their demand is on the rise with global firms putting emphasis on business analysis and planning to cope with cut-throat competition and market uncertainties.

While some are natural-born planners, most people have to work to develop this important skill. Plus, business planning requires you to understand the fundamentals of business management and be familiar with business analysis techniques . It also requires you to have a working knowledge of data visualization, project management, and monitoring tools commonly used by businesses today.   

Simpliearn’s Post Graduate Program in Business Analysis will help you develop and hone the required skills to become an extraordinary business planner. This comprehensive training program combined with the latest tools and methods can pave the way for you and equip you with the skills and the know-how to tackle any real-world challenges that may arise. Completing this industry-recognized course also earns you a valued certification as tangible proof of your talent. 

What Is Meant by Business Planning?

Business planning is developing a company's mission or goals and defining the strategies you will use to achieve those goals or tasks. The process can be extensive, encompassing all aspects of the operation, or it can be concrete, focusing on specific functions within the overall corporate structure.

What Are the 4 Types of Business Plans?

The following are the four types of business plans:

Operational Planning

This type of planning typically describes the company's day-to-day operations. Single-use plans are developed for events and activities that occur only once (such as a single marketing campaign). Ongoing plans include problem-solving policies, rules for specific regulations, and procedures for a step-by-step process for achieving particular goals.

Strategic Planning

Strategic plans are all about why things must occur. A high-level overview of the entire business is included in strategic planning. It is the organization's foundation and will dictate long-term decisions.

Tactical Planning

Tactical plans are about what will happen. Strategic planning is aided by tactical planning. It outlines the tactics the organization intends to employ to achieve the goals outlined in the strategic plan.

Contingency Planning

When something unexpected occurs or something needs to be changed, contingency plans are created. In situations where a change is required, contingency planning can be beneficial.

What Are the 7 Steps of a Business Plan?

The following are the seven steps required for a business plan:

Conduct Research

If your company is to run a viable business plan and attract investors, your information must be of the highest quality.

Have a Goal

The goal must be unambiguous. You will waste your time if you don't know why you're writing a business plan. Knowing also implies having a target audience for when the plan is expected to get completed.

Create a Company Profile

Some refer to it as a company profile, while others refer to it as a snapshot. It's designed to be mentally quick and digestible because it needs to stick in the reader's mind quickly since more information is provided later in the plan.

Describe the Company in Detail

Explain the company's current situation, both good and bad. Details should also include patents, licenses, copyrights, and unique strengths that no one else has.

Create a marketing plan ahead of time.

A strategic marketing plan is required because it outlines how your product or service will be communicated, delivered, and sold to customers.

Be Willing to Change Your Plan for the Sake of Your Audience

Another standard error is that people only write one business plan. Startups have several versions, just as candidates have numerous resumes for various potential employers.

Incorporate Your Motivation

Your motivation must be a compelling reason for people to believe your company will succeed in all circumstances. A mission should drive a business, not just selling, to make money. That mission is defined by your motivation as specified in your business plan.

What Are the Basic Steps in Business Planning?

These are the basic steps in business planning:

Summary and Objectives

Briefly describe your company, its objectives, and your plan to keep it running.

Services and Products

Add specifics to your detailed description of the product or service you intend to offer. Where, why, and how much you plan to sell your product or service and any special offers.

Conduct research on your industry and the ideal customers to whom you want to sell. Identify the issues you want to solve for your customers.

Operations are the process of running your business, including the people, skills, and experience required to make it successful.

How are you going to reach your target audience? How you intend to sell to them may include positioning, pricing, promotion, and distribution.

Consider funding costs, operating expenses, and projected income. Include your financial objectives and a breakdown of what it takes to make your company profitable. With proper business planning through the help of support, system, and mentorship, it is easy to start a business.

Find our Post Graduate Program in Business Analysis Online Bootcamp in top cities:

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Simplilearn is one of the world’s leading providers of online training for Digital Marketing, Cloud Computing, Project Management, Data Science, IT, Software Development, and many other emerging technologies.

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Business Systems Planning (BSP)

  • 1 What is Business Systems Planning (BSP)?
  • 2.1 See Also
  • 2.2 References

What is Business Systems Planning (BSP)?

Business systems planning (BSP) is a method of analyzing, defining, and designing the information architecture of organizations. It is a complex method dealing with interconnected data, processes, strategies, aims, and IT Business systems organizational departments.

Business systems planning goals are to:

  • Understand issues and opportunities with current applications
  • Develop future technology supporting the enterprise
  • Provide executives with direction and a decision-making framework for IT expenditures
  • Provide information systems (IS) with a developmental blueprint [1]

Business Systems Planning (BSP) Procedure [2]

BSP procedure contains 15 steps which are classified into 3 main sections according to their functions.

  • Obtain authorization for the study: The very first step of BSP is to obtain authorization for the study from management or a department interested in this study. There is no use to proceed in the study without this document. There are a number of roles which have to agree on the purpose and range of the study.
  • operates as a sponsor or a team leader
  • Verifies, approves final results of the study
  • provides with the financial support for the study
  • chooses and leads the team members (4-7 prsns)
  • coordinates activities
  • guarantees early documentation
  • has 8 weeks to carry out the study (usually more)
  • presents final results to the management
  • set time plan
  • get all the necessary documents
  • choose managers for interview
  • ensure meeting and interview space
  • fundamental functions of the organization
  • data processing level of the organization
  • all the necessary information mentioned above,
  • concrete study schedule, documents relating to IT, diagrams, etc.
  • the main purpose of the study
  • expected results of the study
  • results of previous part
  • plan of the study
  • the present state of IS
  • role of IS within the organization
  • Strategy = particular strategic targets mentioned above.
  • a cross [*]= primary responsibility.
  • a slash [/] = partial responsibility.
  • Adaptation to the customer’s desires
  • Centrally planned reservations, stock, customer’s payments
  • Check-in improvement
  • Material movement improvement
  • Noise reduction
  • Paperless processes
  • Product portfolio expansion
  • Presentation improvement
  • Advertising improvement
  • Reduction of commitment losses
  • Reduction of material costs
  • Relations with business partners improvement
  • Stock management improvement
  • Simplification of customer’s order cycle
  • Transport coordination
  • 1.Processes / OU
  • 2.Processes / Strategy.
  • Contacts creation
  • Plane coordination
  • Plane service
  • Registration of a new customer
  • Service reservation
  • Employee training
  • 1.Data classes / Processes,
  • 2.Data classes / Strategy and
  • 3.Data classes / OU.
  • Purchase order
  • Service Catalog
  • IT Strategy (Information Technology Strategy)
  • ↑ What is Business Systems Planning (BSP)? Musato Technologies
  • ↑ Business Systems Planning (BSP) Procedure mibambino


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system in business planning

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Business systems planning (BSP) is a method of analyzing, defining and designing the information architecture of organizations. It was introduced by IBM for internal use only in 1981, although initial work on BSP began during the early 1970s. BSP was later sold to organizations. It is a complex method dealing with interconnected data, processes, strategies, aims and organizational departments. BSP was a new approach to IA; its goals are to: The result of a BSP project is a technology roadmap aligning investments and business strategy. BSP comprises 15 steps, which are classified into three sections by function.

1. Preparation

1.1. study authorization.

The essential first step in BSP is to obtain authorization for the study from management or an interested department. A number of roles must agree on the purpose and range of the study:

  • May be a sponsor or team leader
  • Verifies and approves study results
  • Provides financial support
  • Chooses team members (four to seven people)
  • Coordinates activities
  • Documents and implements study (usually longer than eight weeks)
  • Presents results to management
  • Usually a department head
  • Analyzes and determines organizational information needs
  • Recommends future IS content
  • Documents study
  • Assists team leader

1.2. Preparation

The second step is the team leader's study preparation. Its goal is to:

  • Set timeframe
  • Obtain documents
  • Choose managers to interview
  • Procure meeting and interview space
  • Organizational functions
  • Organizational data-processing level

A product of this step is a lead study book with the above information, a study schedule, IT documents and diagrams.

1.3. Beginning

At the first meeting of the study, the sponsor explains the purpose and expected results of the study; the team leader presents the study plan, and the IT manager describes the current state and the role of IS in the organization.

2. Analysis

The analysis is the most important part of BSP. The team searches for an appropriate organizational structure as it defines business strategy, processes and data classes [ 1 ] and analyzes current information support.

2.1. Strategy

This step define strategic targets and how to achieve them within the organization:

  • Adaptating to the customer´s desires
  • Centrally-planned reservations, stock, payments
  • Improvements in checking in, shipping, presentation, advertising, partner relations and stock management
  • New customers
  • Noise reduction
  • Paperless processes
  • Product-portfolio expansion
  • Loss and cost reduction
  • Simplifying customer order cycle
  • Transport coordination
  • Upgrade of production line
  • Updating information

The team works from these strategic targets. Organizational units are departments of the organization. Each department is responsible for a strategic target.

2.2. Processes

There are about 40-60 business processes in an organization (depending on its size), and it is important to choose the most profitable ones and the department responsible for a particular process. Examples include:

  • Contact creation
  • Airplane coordination and service
  • New-customer registration
  • Service catalog creation
  • Reservations
  • Employee training

2.3. Data classes

There are usually about 30–60 data classes, depending on the size of the organization. Future IS will use databases based on these classes. Examples include:

  • Accommodation
  • Corporation
  • Purchase order
  • Service catalog

2.4. Information support

The purpose of this step is to check the applications used by an organization, evaluating the importance of each to eliminate redundancy.

2.5. Management discussion

In the final analytical step the team discusses its results with management to confirm (or refute) assumptions, provide missing information, reveal deficiencies in the organization and establish future priorities.

2.6. Issue results

All documents created during the analysis are collected, serving as a base for future information architecture. The organization classifies and dissects all identified problems; a list is made of the cause and effect of each problem, which is integrated into the future IS.

3. Conclusion

3.1. defining information architecture.

To define an organization's information architecture, [ 1 ] it is necessary to connect the information subsystems using matrix processes and data classes to find appropriate subsystems. The organization then reorders processes according to the product (or service) life cycle.

3.2. Establishing IS-development priorities

A number of criteria (costs and development time, for example) establish the best sequence of system implementation. High-priority subsystems may be analyzed more deeply. This information is given to the sponsor, who determines which information subsystems will be developed.

3.3. Verifying study impact

An IS planning and management study should be conducted. When the organization has finished its work on processes and data classes, it should explore the functions and goals of the system with a list of requested departmental changes and a cost analysis.

3.4. Proposals

Final recommendations and plans are made for the organization during this step, which encompasses information architecture, IS management and information-subsystem development and includes costs, profits and future activities.

3.5. Presentation

This is the agreement of all interested parties (team, management and sponsor) on future actions.

3.6. Final step

The organization should establish specific responsibilities during the project's implementation. There is usually a controlling commission, ensuring consistency across the IS.

BSP, in addition to its value to IS planning, introduced the process view of a firm. The business process reengineering of the 1990s was built on this concept. It also demonstrated the need to separate data from its applications using it, supporting the database approach to software development methodology.

4. Criticism

The effectiveness of BSP and other similar planning methodologies has been questioned:

  • The historical analysis shows that BSP and subsequent enterprise architecture (EA) methodologies are "fundamentally flawed". [ 2 ] [ 3 ]
  • The research concludes that "the [BSP] approach is too expensive, its benefits are too uncertain, and it is organisationally difficult to implement". [ 4 ]
  • The research concludes that "given their great expense and time consumption, [...] findings seriously challenge the utility of the [BSP and similar] planning methodologies". [ 5 ]
  • The research concludes that "in summary, strategic information systems planners are not particularly satisfied with [the BSP methodology]. After all, it requires extensive resources. [...] When the [BSP] study is complete, further analysis may be required before the plan can be executed. The execution of the plan might not be very extensive". [ 6 ]
  • The study of BSP and similar planning methodologies concludes that "the evidence [...] presented here strongly supports the need for a fundamental rethinking of IS planning methodologies". [ 7 ]
  • Business Systems Planning (IBM Corporation), paper 2. Robinson College of Business, Georgia State University. http://www.cis.gsu.edu/emclean/Business%20Systems%20Planning.ppt
  • "Enterprise Architecture Frameworks: The Fad of the Century", Svyatoslav Kotusev, British Computer Society (BCS), July 2016 http://www.bcs.org/content/conWebDoc/56347
  • Kotusev, Svyatoslav (2018) The Practice of Enterprise Architecture: A Modern Approach to Business and IT Alignment. Melbourne, Australia: SK Publishing.
  • Goodhue, D.L., Quillard, J.A., and Rockart, J.F. (1988). Managing the Data Resource: A Contingency Perspective. In: MIS Quarterly, vol. 12, no. 3, pp. 373-392.
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system in business planning

What is System Planning?

Table of Contents

What Is System Planning?

 system plan is a planning tool that helps you understand your business and its parts. By creating a system plan, you can improve efficiency and effectiveness in your business. In addition, a system plan can help you identify potential problems and solve them. So, if you’re looking to improve your business, a system plan is the tool for you.

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For most businesses, system planning is an important process that helps to optimize their operations. System planning is the creation of a plan that will help your business achieve its goals. By understanding how your business functions, you can create a plan that will optimize your resources and maximize your profits. In this blog post, we’ll explore the importance of system planning for your business and show you how to do it in a simple way.

System planning is the process of creating a strategy that optimizes your business’s resources and goals. Your business may have multiple goals, and system planning lets you form a strategy that achieves all of them. Whether you’re running a for-profit or non-profit organization, goal setting and system planning are equally important. The goals you have for your business will determine everything from the way you distribute your marketing resources to how you grow your audience and user base.

System planning is important because it can help you improve your business operations. When you set up a plan for your business, you should consider how you are going to achieve your goals. You should ask yourself if you can achieve your goals through the use of your resources. If not, then you need to make some changes. This is where system planning comes in. It helps you to optimize your business operations. Without system planning, your business may have issues that could slow down its progress. Your company may even fail because you did not take enough time to plan for your goals. In addition to that, it’s hard for most businesses to manage and maintain their systems. The biggest problem with this is that they do not know what’s going on.

For your business to grow and succeed, it needs to be efficient. Efficiency is what we aim to achieve when we try to make sure that our business operations are running at their best. To achieve efficiency, we need to be careful not to spend unnecessary resources, so we can make sure that our resources are being used to their maximum potential. This is why we need to plan for our business. Without planning, we may not know how to allocate our resources to achieve the most efficient results for our business. It is very important that we have a plan for our business, especially if we are running a small business. We don’t want to make any mistakes and waste our resources. We want to make sure that we invest our time wisely, which means that we need to plan our resources.

Why Your Business Needs a System Plan

System Planning is not a one-time event. It’s an ongoing process. You can’t create a solid plan and forget about it. You should always be in the process of planning. It’s important to remember that your business is constantly evolving, and so are the goals you set. You need a systematic plan in place because it will help you understand how you’re achieving your goals and how you can improve your business’s efficiency.

Every business owner knows they should plan. There is no point in starting a business if you don’t plan it out, right? Wrong. Being a business owner comes with a hefty dose of rejection. If you want your business to succeed, you have to create a plan. If you want to create a successful plan, you have to know the reasons for having a plan. It will also help you stay on top of your business by identifying various benchmarks as you go through your plan.

You need a systematic plan in place so you can have the information you need at your fingertips. If you don’t have a clear idea of where your business is going, you won’t know what resources you need to invest. Resources you invest in need to be used efficiently and effectively.

No matter what your business does, you have to have a systematic plan in place. It allows you to focus your efforts more effectively so that you can achieve your goals. The more goals you achieve, the more efficient your business will be, and the more money you’ll be able to make.

Without a system plan in place, it’s very easy to lose track of your business objectives and lose momentum. A system plan lays the groundwork for future planning, and it gives you a starting point no matter where you are in the planning process.

The first step in developing a system plan is to fully understand where you are today. You might feel like you’re doing okay right now, but maybe your sales have been slipping lately.

How can you create a system plan?

You first need to create a business plan. A business plan is a detailed guide that will help you understand your business and how it can be operated more efficiently. Once you have a business plan, you can begin to create a system plan. A system plan is a detailed overview of your business that will help optimize its resources and maximize its profits.

Have a firm understanding of your business and industry. You need to know the business model of your business, what it offers and what it will be offering in the future. You need to understand your industry’s position in a given industry, how it will survive, what it will do to stay ahead of the competition and how it will outdo others.

A system plan consists of many different components. The most important of these components is a performance comparison, which provides a snapshot of what the business is capable of producing. It also helps you identify trends, which will allow you to predict future performance and determine how to approach specific issues that may arise. It is important to recognize that there is a difference between the reliability and validity of a system plan. A valid system plan is one that is capable of producing optimal performance.

Crafting a system plan

Creating a system plan is important because it will help you understand how your business works and how to improve its performance. A system plan can help you identify the functions of your business and the resources that are needed to carry out those functions. You can also identify the gaps in your ability to meet your goals and find ways to improve your performance. A well-crafted system plan will help you make informed decisions about how to grow your business.

Taking the time to craft a comprehensive system plan may seem like a daunting task, but it is a valuable investment of your time. A documented system plan can:

Create a blueprint for your business.

Creating a system plan will help you make better business decisions by helping you think through the details of your business. It will also help you stay organized and identify the most important tasks you need to accomplish.

Planning your business’s activities

You will be able to prioritize your business activities if you are able to identify your business objectives and the activities you need to carry out to achieve those objectives. Identifying the resources needed for each activity will help you prioritize activities where you have limited resources.

Executing a system plan

A system plan is an extensive document that describes the steps needed to carry out a specific project. It can be used as a roadmap to help you understand your business and its potential resources.

A system plan also helps you make better decisions about how to allocate your resources. For example, if you’re starting a new business, you might want to create a system plan that includes:

-An overview of your customer base

-A description of your product or service

-A list of key markets in which you compete

-An estimate of the necessary resources you will need to reach your target market-A list of key players in your industry

-A list of methods you plan to use to reach your target market

-A list of methods for measuring your success

A system plan provides a way to review your goals and identify the activities you need to take to accomplish them. In addition, a system plan helps you develop strategies for resolving problems that come up during your business activities and for remaining competitive.

-A system plan should include detailed analyses and forecasts of your business.

-An assessment of your current resources (such as time and labor) to determine if you will be able to meet your goals

-An estimate of how much outside help you will need to reach your target market (for example, employees and outside contractors)

-A financial forecast

Systematic thought is a way of thinking that helps you make the right decisions. A system plan enables you to think through all facets of a project before you begin.

Evaluating your system plan

To make system planning work for you, you need to evaluate your system plan. This is a document that outlines the steps that will be taken to meet your business goals. It should include a description of the products and services you plan to sell, the customer base you’ll target, the costs associated with each step, and how each step will impact the other two.

Each step should lead to a predictable result, based on the previous step and should help to achieve your business and financial goals.

Set goals and objectives:

Your business plan should be clear on what you plan to accomplish, both in the short term and long term. It should also include details on how you’re going to accomplish these tasks.

A system planning document should be used to guide business choices. In fact, the document can be used to justify decisions that were made in the past.

For example, you might make a decision about building a website for your business. This decision may lock you into other decisions that are outlined in your system plan. If you’ve made the decision to build a website for your business, you may be locked into using a specific search engine optimization company.

Even if you’ve done this before, you should evaluate your plan every time you’re about to start a new project. This will allow you to make changes to the system plan if you find that the goals you’re trying to meet can be better served by changing your approach.

The system plan should be updated with every plan, invoice review, and cash flow analysis. It should be mentioned whenever you make a business decision, and specifically referenced and referred to in your financial statements and other business communications.

Planning works best when you have a plan and stick to it. You should evaluate your system plan on a weekly basis at a minimum and discuss the results with your staff and colleagues.

What are some benefits of having a system plan?

Some of the benefits of having a system plan are as follows:

-You can optimize your resources to get the most out of your business.

-You can better understand how your business works and how to improve it.

-You can make informed decisions about how to allocate your resources so that you achieve the most success.

-You can better control the way in which you operate so that you’re not wasting your time and money on things that don’t have an impact.

How can you use a systematic plan to improve your business?

Final Thoughts on What is System Planning?

A system plan is a planning tool that helps you understand your business and its parts. By creating a system plan, you can improve efficiency and effectiveness in your business. In addition, a system plan can help you identify potential problems and solve them. So, if you’re looking to improve your business, a system plan is the tool for you.

Do you want to learn more about What is System Planningt? Check out these Best Books on Task Management.

Meet Maurice, a staff editor at Bigger Investing. He’s an accomplished entrepreneur who owns multiple successful websites and a thriving merch shop. When he’s not busy with work, Maurice indulges in his passion for kayaking, climbing, and his family. As a savvy investor, Maurice loves putting his money to work and seeking out new opportunities. With his expertise and passion for finance, he’s dedicated to helping readers achieve their financial goals through Bigger Investing.

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  • News and product updates
  • Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management
  • IT Professionals

Transforming Supply Chains: Exploring Advanced AI-Powered Demand Forecasting and Demand Planning in Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management

  • By Denis Conway, Director of Supply Chain Growth
  • Beatriz Nebot Gracia, Product Manager, Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management
  • Collaboratio​n
  • Audience type
  • Supply chain


In the ever-changing landscape of contemporary business, effective supply chain management is paramount. Central to this complex system is the critical process of demand planning and forecasting, which profoundly impacts a company’s capacity to fulfil customer requirements, optimize inventory, and maintain a competitive edge. This article explores the significance of demand forecasting and how Microsoft seamlessly incorporates it into its new demand planning in Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management.

The Crucial Role of Demand Planning and Forecasting:

Precise demand planning and forecasting play a pivotal role in diverse facets of business operations, yielding advantages throughout the entire supply chain:

  • Accurate Inventory Management: Precise demand forecasting optimizes inventory levels, finding the balance between excess stock and stockouts.
  • Customer Satisfaction: Accurate forecasting ensures products are available in the right place at the right time, enhancing customer satisfaction and brand loyalty.
  • Cost Reduction: Effective demand forecasting minimizes holding costs for excess inventory and reduces costs associated with stockouts.
  • Resource Allocation: Anticipating demand aids in efficiently allocating resources, including labor, production capacity, and raw materials.
  • Improved Collaboration: Accurate forecasting fosters collaboration across the supply chain, enhancing coordination between suppliers, manufacturers, and retailers.
  • Long-term Planning: Strategic planning benefits from accurate forecasting, aiding businesses in adapting to changing market conditions and trends.
  • Competitive Advantage: Organizations responding effectively to market changes gain a competitive edge.

graphical user interface, application

Exploring a Range of Demand Forecasting Models:

Below is a concise examination of diverse forecasting models employed in general Supply Chain demand planning, accompanied by insights into their potential applications within a business context.

  • Delphi Method: In the tech industry, when forecasting the demand for a new product, experts from different fields like engineering, marketing, and finance may anonymously provide input through multiple rounds of questionnaires.
  • Market Research: A smartphone company might conduct extensive market research, including customer surveys and competitor analysis, to forecast demand for its next flagship device.
  • Prophet: In the retail sector, employ Prophet time series analysis for precise demand forecasting, enabling efficient inventory management, minimizing stockouts, and maximizing profitability.
  • Exponential Smoothing: A fashion retailer might use exponential smoothing to predict future sales based on the recent trend in sales for specific clothing items.
  • ARIMA: A beverage company could apply ARIMA models to forecast demand for a seasonal drinks during holidays.
  • Best Fit: In healthcare, ‘Best Fit’ involves selecting the optimum statistical model to capture dataset patterns. Applying best-fit time series analysis anticipates patient needs, optimizes resource management, and enhances operational effectiveness for improved outcomes and satisfaction.”
  • ETS (Error-Trend-Seasonality): Hospitality and Tourism, utilize ETS models to forecast hotel bookings and tourism trends, enabling businesses to optimize pricing strategies and allocate resources efficiently based on seasonal fluctuations.
  • Regression Analysis: An automobile manufacturer might use regression analysis to predict the impact of advertising spending on the demand for a particular car model.
  • Econometric Models: In the energy sector, econometric models could be employed to forecast electricity demand based on economic indicators such as GDP and population growth.
  • Neural Networks: An e-commerce platform might use neural networks to predict customer demand for various products by considering factors like browsing history, purchase patterns, and customer demographics.
  • Random Forest: A retail chain could employ a random forest model to forecast the demand for different product categories based on historical sales data and external factors like economic trends.
  • Expert Input: In the pharmaceutical industry, stakeholders may provide expert opinions to forecast the demand for a new medication, considering factors like regulatory approval, market acceptance, and healthcare trends.

These forecasting models offer diverse approaches, catering to various industries and scenarios.

Demand forecasting in Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management

In the context of demand planning in Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management, the efficiency of demand forecasting is bolstered by a robust suite of features. The system taps into the potential of built-in out-of-the-box AI-powered algorithms, integrates existing models, utilizes the capabilities of Custom Azure Machine Learning (AML), advanced forecasting models, forecasting profiles, and streamlined data hierarchy management to enhance the precision of demand planning. Through the seamless integration of these elements, the platform guarantees the accuracy of demand forecasts, facilitates the smooth identification and handling of outliers, and adeptly oversees various facets of the supply chain.

Built-in AI Algorithms:

Access to pre-configured and out-of-the-box AI-based models like Arima Prophet, ETS, and outlier removal without the need for additional configuration provides users with a powerful and user-friendly forecasting solution. This feature enables businesses to quickly leverage advanced forecasting techniques, enhancing the accuracy of predictions.

graphical user interface, chart, line chart

Advanced Forecasting Models:

The platform supports advanced forecasting methods such as ARIMA, ETS (Error-Trend-Seasonality), Prophet, and Best fit, ensuring a high degree of accuracy in demand forecasts. Leveraging the capabilities of custom Azure Machine Learning (AML), this flexibility empowers businesses to customize their forecasting strategies based on the distinct characteristics of their products and the dynamics of their market.

graphical user interface, application

Use your own Forecast Models

If you’ve created your own forecasting models or utilize Azure Machine Learning within Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management, you can leverage the collaborative editing features within the app to directly invoke your custom models. This allows you to seamlessly integrate your pre-built models alongside the out-of-the-box models provided, tailoring your forecast for optimal accuracy.

Forecasting Profiles:

Users can craft and manage forecasting profiles, streamlining calculations and facilitating the application of outlier removal techniques. This feature adds a layer of customization to the forecasting process, allowing organizations to adapt to specific business requirements and scenarios.

system in business planning

Outlier Detection and Removal/Handiling:

Detecting outliers in demand planning is a vital component of forecasting and supply chain management. The identification of outliers plays a key role in enhancing the precision of demand forecasts and ensuring the appropriate handling of anomalies. This process is streamlined through the intuitive Outlier Detection capabilities embedded in demand planning within Dynamics Supply Chain Management.Detecting and eliminating outliers is a pivotal stage in data preprocessing, essential for enhancing the accuracy and dependability of statistical analyses and machine learning models. Employ advanced methods, particularly the Interquartile Range (IQR) and Seasonal-Trend Decomposition using LOESS (STL), to skillfully pinpoint and preemptively manage outliers. This strategic approach contributes to improved precision and effectiveness in data analysis.

Outlier Removal/Handling Techniques:

  • Leverage sophisticated approaches, notably the Interquartile Range (IQR) and Seasonal-Trend Decomposition using LOESS (STL), to adeptly identify and proactively address outliers for enhanced precision and effectiveness in data analysis.


Data Hierarchy Management:

Efficient data hierarchy management is crucial for granular forecasting and optimizing supply chain operations. Demand planning in Microsoft Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management provides comprehensive hierarchy management across products, locations, and time:

  • Product Hierarchy: A retail electronics company organizes its product catalog with a hierarchical structure, starting broadly with categories like smartphones and laptops and becoming more granular with specific brands and models. This detailed hierarchy enables the company to forecast demand patterns at a specific product level, enhancing inventory management.

graphical user interface, application, PowerPoint

  • Location Hierarchy: The company optimizes distribution based on a location hierarchy that spans global, regional, and local levels. Understanding variations in demand by region helps in strategic decision-making for supply chain management, ensuring efficient allocation of inventory to meet the unique demands of each location.

graphical user interface, application

  • Time Hierarchy: Capturing seasonality and trends through time hierarchy management, the company analyzes daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly variations in demand. This temporal sensitivity enhances the accuracy of predictions, allowing the business to adjust inventory levels and marketing strategies to meet fluctuating consumer preferences throughout the year.

graphical user interface, text, application, email

Enhanced Integration with data:

Demand planning in Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management seamlessly integrates your data, further enhancing the capabilities of the demand forecasting solution:

graphical user interface, application, website

Virtual Entities:

The platform supports the extension or creation of custom entities within Microsoft Finance and Operations, enabling integration with additional data sources. This flexibility ensures that businesses can incorporate diverse datasets into their demand forecasting models.

Finance and Operations Integration:

The smooth export of planned data back into Microsoft Finance and Operations marks the culmination of the supply chain planning cycle. This closed-loop integration guarantees that the generated demand forecasts are directly incorporated into the broader finance and operations context, promoting consistency and accuracy throughout the organization. Users have the flexibility to plan across various instances of Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations at a higher level and selectively export specific parts of the plan to designated locations.

graphical user interface, application

Azure Data Explorer (ADX):

Efficient data storage, aggregation, and disaggregation in Azure Data Explorer optimize performance. This integration allows businesses to harness the power of Azure’s data capabilities for more robust forecasting and analytics.


Microsoft Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management’s demand planning feature provides a comprehensive solution for demand forecasting. This solution incorporates outlier detection, advanced forecasting models, seasonality analysis, and robust scenario planning capabilities. The integrated approach enables businesses to make well-informed decisions, adapt to changing conditions, and maintain a competitive edge in a dynamic market environment. Demand planning and forecasting are crucial aspects of effective supply chain management, enhancing agility, responsiveness, and competitiveness in today’s dynamic marketplace.

The article explores various forecasting models and demonstrates their real-world applications. Dynamics 365’s features, such as built-in AI algorithms, advanced forecasting models, forecasting profiles, outlier detection, and data hierarchy management, are highlighted as key elements that improve accuracy.

Additionally, the platform’s integration capabilities with Azure Data Explorer and Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management are emphasized, creating a closed-loop system that optimizes forecasting accuracy and extends its impact across the organization.

To navigate the complexities of supply chain management, businesses can strategically leverage Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management. This proactive approach allows them to adapt to future challenges, gain a competitive edge, and foster sustained success in the ever-evolving landscape of modern business.

Access the demand planning solution, Documentation, and Workshop:

To access the demand planning Application and learn more about its features, follow the provided links. Additionally, don’t miss the upcoming demand planning workshop in Denmark to dive deeper into this transformative tool.

Access the demand planning in Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management :

To install the latest version of the demand planning application, ensure that you are using Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management, and then visit the Power Platform Admin Center. Search for the Dynamics 365 demand planning Application and follow the installation process.

Click here to access: Demand planning in Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management

graphical user interface, text, application, email

Demand planning Documentation:

If you’re interested in learning more about our demand planning Application, we’ve prepared an extensive collection of highly informative documents for your review and easy access.

You can find them right here: Demand planning Documentation

graphical user interface, text, application

Demand planning – Demonstration Videos:

We’ve taken extra steps to create a series of informative demo videos that will not only guide you through the application but also showcase a multitude of features available in the demand planning Application.

Demand Planning Insights Videos:

  • Importing Data:
  • Creating Forecasts:
  • Planner viewing and working with Forecasts

Meet the Team: Onsite Workshop December 2023

The forthcoming demand planning Workshop, to be held at Microsoft’s facility in Lyngby, Denmark, is geared towards introducing the new demand planning application to both Customers and Partners. Furthermore, it will provide an in-depth exploration of the product’s features and capabilities.

The workshop will also cover various important topics, including:

  • Exploring the contents of the Public Preview October 21st and December update.
  • Engaging hands-on lab activities.
  • Participating in a user experience (UX) study or exercise.
  • Understanding how these developments align with the broader context of Supply Chain Planning.
  • An overview of Copilot for demand planning.
  • Customer insights and feedback.

Please note that a more detailed agenda will be provided to attendees as the workshop date approaches.

Date: 4th+ 5th December 2023

Duration: 2 days

Location: Lyngby, Denmark

Register here

Demand Planning Community – Yammer

Join our Yammer group to stay updated with monthly evaluations, scripts, and videos related to the demand Planning Application. Your journey to supply chain transformation begins here.

Preview Early Access – Demand Planning Application

Denis Conway headshot

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Cessna-maker Textron to cut 725 jobs as part of restructuring plan

Posted: November 28, 2023 | Last updated: November 29, 2023

(Reuters) -Business jet maker Textron said on Tuesday it would cut 725 jobs as part of its restructuring plan in an attempt to reduce operating expenses, sending its shares up more than 2% after the bell.

The company said it will downsize jobs in its Industrial, Bell and Textron Systems segments, and restructure specialized vehicles and Kautex segments due to lower demand for powersport products and fuel systems.

The restructuring, which is likely to be completed in the first half of 2024, is expected to save nearly $75 million annually, Textron said.

Major U.S. companies from Amazon.com to Wall Street heavyweights like Goldman Sachs have slashed thousands of jobs as they look cut costs amid worries over a slowing economy due to rising borrowing costs.

Textron's plan would result in a pre-tax special charge of $115 million to $135 million in the fourth quarter.

It also expects an asset impairment charge of $80 million to $90 million and severance-related costs of $35 million to $45 million.

The parent of Cessna business jets said charges related to restructuring and impairment would not impact its full-year financial outlook.

(Reporting by Abhinav Parmar in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)

Cessna employee Dwight Bennett works inside of a jet during a tour of the Cessna business jet assembly line at their manufacturing plant in Wichita, Kansas August 14, 2012. REUTERS/Jeff Tuttle/File Photo

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Textron to Cut 2% of Workforce in Restructuring

Industrial manufacturing company says it will reduce its workforce by about 725 positions in the face of weaker demand at its industrial segment.

Nov. 28, 2023 4:50 pm ET

system in business planning

Textron will cut about 2% of its global workforce as part of a restructuring plan, with layoffs concentrated in its Industrial, Bell and Textron Systems segments.

The Providence, R.I.-based industrial manufacturing company said in a regulatory filing Tuesday it would reduce its workforce by about 725 positions as it cuts expenses in the face of weaker demand at its Industrial segment.

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system in business planning



    system in business planning

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    Involve your employees up front by inviting them to join process-mapping teams. Keep managers and supervisors out of the process-mapping sessions, as they have a tendency to dominate the sessions with their own "expertise.". 2. Identify process start and end activities. For each process, clearly identify the start and end.

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    The Better Business Planning Process. The business plan process includes 6 steps as follows: Do Your Research. Strategize. Calculate Your Financial Forecast. Draft Your Plan. Revise & Proofread. Nail the Business Plan Presentation. We've provided more detail for each of these key business plan steps below.

  19. Strategic Planning: 5 Planning Steps, Process Guide [2023] • Asana

    Step 5: Revise and restructure as needed. At this point, you should have created and implemented your new strategic framework. The final step of the planning process is to monitor and manage your plan. Share your strategic plan —this isn't a document to hide away.

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  21. Business Systems Planning (BSP)

    Business systems planning (BSP) is a method of analyzing, defining, and designing the information architecture of organizations. It is a complex method dealing with interconnected data, processes, strategies, aims, and IT Business systems organizational departments. Understand issues and opportunities with current applications.

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    Embracing the concept of proprietary systems entails exploring a myriad of types that can be seamlessly integrated into a comprehensive business plan. These distinctive types are grounded in various elements, including software, hardware, and processes, each offering a unique set of advantages and possibilities.

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    Phase 1: In the 1960s, computerized business applications were introduced for the accounting and finance sector that provided faster and more accurate results than manual processes but were expensive and had limited functionality. This led to the development of dedicated solutions like manufacturing resource planning (MRP) and sales order processing.

  24. Business System Planning

    Business systems planning (BSP) is a method of analyzing, defining and designing the information architecture of organizations. It was introduced by IBM for internal use only in 1981, although initial work on BSP began during the early 1970s. BSP was later sold to organizations. It is a complex method dealing with interconnected data, processes, strategies, aims and organizational departments ...

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