How integrated business planning can improve your competitive edge.

A competitive advantage is closely associated with timely action. Many scenarios come to mind – tennis matches, games of chess, and bargains in marketplaces. As the economic recovery gains momentum across the region, enterprise leaders are attempting to track consumer sentiments, industry trends, and various other data points vital to their success. Traditional business planning can no longer rise to the modern standards required to deliver a tangible competitive advantage. However, integrated business planning (IBP) offers a compelling alternative. Essentially, it is a cross-functional discipline that combines the plans of separate business units into a single coordinated strategy.This approach promotes increased transparency and up-to-date relevance, leading to improved quality and visibility of data, leading to various ways to increase value.


Here are the best practices for implementing IBP effectively, considering its impact on people, processes, and the technology ecosystem.

Know your end game.

A road map, by definition, has a destination. However, a vague destination can lead to a road to nowhere in business planning. Before embarking on this journey, stakeholders should consider where they want to be, what they want to be doing, and how they wish to accomplish it. The phrase “clearly defined strategy” is a cliché, but clichés are clichés for a reason.


In order to successfully restructure and achieve the organization’s financial objectives, it is imperative to gather all relevant domain experts. Collaboration should take place early and often since it offers the potential to identify any gaps in requirements that can be addressed more efficiently at the start of the change management process. Consider the future. Forecasts don’t have to be nebulous and speculative. Many industry developments are well-telegraphed and thus allow planners to develop strategies to align with small and large upheavals. When an organization has as many domain experts on hand as possible during the planning process, it will be better positioned to be aware of approaching crises and produce reliable forecasts. As such, accurate views will inform everything from supply chain management and warehousing to technology procurement and employee leave schedules.

Measure, measure, measure.

Clear and transparent communication of all aspects of a business, its current operations, budgets, and goals is essential in an IBP environment. A compelling set of cross-department KPIs will enable all stakeholders to see the road ahead and align their actions with the organization’s goals. Having a unified language that everyone understands also leads to greater confidence in data since all decision-makers receive the same comprehensive understanding of the organization.

Leverage technology.

With all of the best intentions, it may not be possible to create rich, unified views of business performance with aging legacy technology systems. Modern enterprise performance management solutions are ideal for delivering integrated business planning. Multiple departments can incorporate the software into their workflow, providing collaboration and transparency, resulting in a culture change that benefits operational efficiency, planning accuracy, productivity, and other business metrics.