In one of our recent blog posts, “Integrated Planning: Now’s the time”, we showed you why moving from a traditional planning approach to integrated planning is such an important element in achieving your business goals. We also showed you the benefits of an integrated planning approach. In this post, we’ll look at which factors you need to prepare for successful integrated planning.

The implementation of integrated business planning (IBP) is a not a small undertaking and often brings  significant changes for people, processes, and technologies. Here are five factors which will help you to successfully master the changeover:

Develop a plan with clearly defined goals

A clearly defined strategy is the be-all and end-all of your planning success. Make sure that you have a well-documented, strategic plan with very clear financial goals that is communicated throughout the organization.

Pay attention to meaningful financial goals that are tied to the company’s growth plan. The strategy should include how you can achieve your goal and which business areas and product categories you should focus on. The plan also includes which markets you want to target, and which customer segments will receive special attention. All this information helps the planning team to integrate the strategy into internal plans at an early stage.

Work closely between departments

Get the right skill sets sitting around the table. Planning decisions are most accurate when you have the most important information at your fingertips. Interdepartmental collaboration is the key to successful restructuring and the achievement of financial goals.

By involving different departments at an early stage, gaps and needs can be properly identified. It also makes sense to include customer and consumer feedback at this stage.

Incorporate current forecasts and prognoses

Forecasts give you a picture of future market developments. Place your planning on a solid foundation from a reliable forecast of the most important influencing variables of your organization’s plan. How is the procurement of materials, such as production and transport capacity, developing? Which product or service areas have the highest growth rates? These are just a few of the key drivers for your planning results that require a current forecast.

Establish common KPIs

Ensure transparent, measurable communication of the current situation and budget targets. Develop joint KPIs that can be used across departments. Also ensure that the definitions of these KPIs are aligned and understood by all stakeholders. This “good governance” enables you to align your actions with common goals. Confidence in the information is also improved and transparency is increased. By speaking the same language, you create “a single version of the truth” and thus ensure a much smoother planning process.

Use a professional planning tool

Support the planning process with a modern solution. Modern planning requires a planning tool integrated into your IT landscape that can support the individual steps in the planning process and guarantee that reliable plan values and real-time analysis can be called up at any time.

Modern EPM software, which can be used by multiple departments, promotes collaboration, ensures transparency and ensures success. Have a look at “EPM Software: Five Independent Market Studies” for a deeper dive into a large number of user reviews of enterprise performance management solutions.