The history of business planning goes back to as early as the 18th century, when the Sumerian civilization recorded livestock trading in clay tablets.
Since then, business planning processes have been evolving continuously. In fact, since the 20th century, business planning has become an integral part of the operations of business enterprises.
In a highly dynamic modern business environment, traditional business planning is being quickly replaced by integrated business planning.
But what is integrated business planning? Why is it so important in present times? How do you optimize business planning? Read on for the crucial facets of Integrated Business Planning (IBP).
Modern Era: Integrated Business Planning
Integrated business planning (IBP) is described as a well-defined process that aligns a company's business objectives with its crucial operational functions across marketing, finance, supply chain, and other departments.
IBP often acts as the bridge between operational strategy and on-ground execution. IBP is normally preceded by Sales and Operations Planning (S & OP) in most organizations, which is a multi-departmental process for defining the demand and then ensuring that adequate supply to meet the demand is available.
In a nutshell, IBP is a strategy that connects planning aspects for aligning operations in every department with an entity's financial resources.
For example, companies must strike a balance between the fickle supply chains and evolving customer tastes to align them with their razor-thin margins. Any lag can lead to competitors snatching away customers.
If a company moves ahead without business planning, it might be able to retain customers but with a further reduced profit margin. Hence, having advanced IBP is extremely important for modern businesses looking to outsmart competition.
Why you need Integrated Business Planning Software now
The highly dynamic nature of the modern business environment necessitates a fluid IBP that is responsive to the evolving situation in the market. Keeping up with these tasks manually is virtually impossible; therefore, many businesses are migrating their IBP operations to the latest Integrated Business Planning software platforms.
These IBP platforms usher in transparency and flexibility in operations by bringing together business data from multiple sources. These platforms ensure that the planning processes are seamlessly integrated across different departments.
Upper management is, therefore, able to align teams across multiple departments, ensuring that business goals are met based on available skills, resources, and production capabilities.
This helps create accountability for results by ensuring that the impact of each team’s performance is visible across the board.
With these basics of integrated business planning in mind, have a look at the numerous benefits your organization can gain by migrating to a next-gen integrated business planning platform.
Relevance: Access to Real-Time Data
IBP software empowers teams to collect data from multiple sources in real-time and present it in a concise form for the concerned individual or team.
- The latest IBP platforms integrate with the existing tech stack and help eliminate data transfer and data consolidation errors, leading to improved accuracy
- Many IBP software packages come with a scheduling option; herein, you can schedule the data imports for autonomy from the IT department and easy access to real-time, accurate data
- This functionality ensures that even huge amounts of data are transferred efficiently without any need for heavy investments in expensive IT infrastructure
Therefore, IBP platforms offer a cost-effective solution to empower businesses with real-time data access.
Accuracy: Minimize Human Error
Human error is amongst the most common problems faced by companies during data collection and analysis. Accuracy related issues often plague data-centric operations in an enterprise. This is where IBP software comes to your rescue.
- With IBP software, you can bypass outdated data flows and boost operational efficiency through automated data collection for a quicker and more efficient decision-making process
- These software solutions allow your teams to focus on their core operations instead of misplacing time and effort on importing, exporting, or collating data collected from multiple sources
- These cloud-based solutions are compatible with multiple software stacks enabling seamless processes between teams and functions
Flexibility: Move Beyond Spreadsheets
While spreadsheets have been in use for several decades now, they are insufficient in the highly competitive modern market scenarios. Companies demand and deserve the best solutions for their business planning requirements.
Enterprises need their business planning and analytics to adapt to the uncertain economy; this is where IBP software bestows an excellent solution.
- Integrated business planning platforms offer an enhanced degree of flexibility in functioning, allowing for a higher degree of customization.
- You enjoy the freedom of creating customized solutions from scratch, which is not possible with spreadsheets.
- With an IBP platform, you can extract data from any given source with a few clicks. Moreover, you get the flexibility of creating automated workflows quickly.
- You are able to scale your workflows per the changes in data usage patterns. All these factors make a considerable impact on your financial forecasts.
Impact: Business Strategy Redefined
IBP software solutions empower end-to-end planning and execution capabilities for all types of enterprises. This helps the organizations accurately plan and achieve their short-term, medium-term, and long-term goals.
- The latest IBP software platforms offer a wealth of modern, intuitive, yet powerful features to ease the business planning process
- You obtain insights on all possible outcomes of events through what-if analysis
- IBP platforms help management evaluate alternatives to ensure the achievement of desired targets
IBP platforms ensure that the path from operational planning to execution is seamless.
Efficient: Impressive Time Savings
Timely decision-making is of paramount importance when it comes to business planning. Any delay in making crucial decisions can have unwanted outcomes for the organization.
- IBP software solutions offer an incredible value proposition for businesses looking to be more efficient in their decision-making processes.
- These platforms are powered to automatically import data from all apps used by your business, such as CRM, Billing, ERP, HR, and BI.
- You are, therefore, able to spend more time analyzing data and drawing insights rather than collecting data.
- Powered by features like autocomplete formulas and Excel-like syntax, IBP solutions allow you to not only create different models but also get them up and running within a few hours. This allows you to start analyzing data quickly, allowing for a faster decision-making process.
- To ensure that all your data is updated in real-time across all business apps, IBP software allows you to share metrics with your teams with a few clicks. This eliminates the need for creating models from scratch every time.
- Moreover, you get access to powerful tools that empower seamless workflow collaboration between teams from different departments, eliminating any chances of disjointed files.
Teamwork: Align Your Teams
Eliminating any impediments that might hamper the alignment between your teams must always be your priority.
- With IBP software, you are able to break down the different silos of information and provide a single source of information for all the teams across different departments.
- With IBP platforms, you are able to ensure that every team member can understand the rationale behind the data being shared.
- This allows you to quickly hire new analysts and bring them to speed.
- Many of these software solutions allow you to create different models efficiently with an Excel-like syntax.
- Moreover, the chances of error are reduced as you are able to see the result in real-time as you model with the incredible power of formula preview.
Performance: Deliver Better Results
It is extremely important for companies to operate at maximum efficiency to deliver the desired results to maintain their competitive edge.
- Integrated business planning software allows you to deliver better results much more efficiently.
- You are able to optimize the usage of your resources to deliver the desired results in a time-bound efficient manner.
- Instead of spending time on manual data collection, your teams can spend their time analyzing data for informed decision-making.
- IBP software allows your team members to reduce dependency on email and use customized boards for sharing inputs and collaborating as a united team. This empowers you to collect all the feedback and deliver the analysis in one place, eliminating any chances of ambiguity.
- Moreover, as a true team player, you can tag your colleagues and leave comments guiding them through any difficulties faced.
- Availability of information in real-time ensures that any corrective actions required can be taken and executed quickly.
Predict and Plan: Avoid Unpleasant Surprises
To spot the opportunities available and risks involved, businesses must be able to easily forecast future scenarios. This will help eliminate any ambiguity in the decision-making process.
- With the help of integrated business planning software, you can run multiple 'what-if' scenarios quickly to determine the important factors that affect your business performance.
- You are not only able to alter the assumptions for a defined scenario with these tools but are also able to compare multiple scenarios in whichever way you require including graphs, line charts, or bar diagrams.
- IBP platforms allow the usage of multiple workflows to gather data from numerous sources. As you can collect data from multiple sources in one place, it ensures that all the predictions are accurate and nuanced.
- With the in-built distribution planning feature, you can determine a decision's impact on your profits almost immediately.
Modern enterprises that are open to integrating IBP software in their decision-making process can improve their operational efficiency effortlessly. They have access to information from all departments in a concise form to enable the determination of financial targets.
Seamless integration of IBP ensures increased trust within inter-departmental teams, allowing for an improved decision-making process.
Pigment offers customized business planning solutions that are easily integrated with existing software stacks being used in the business.
At Pigment, we believe in business strategy as a work of art. Ready to take the leap? Book a demo today.