How To Attain Effective Business Planning By 2020

Adam Peanna

Effective integrated business planning is a challenge for many organizations that are trying to manage business processes holistically despite the siloed approach they instilled to gain visibility and accountability on business users and systems.

Many organizations that have achieved best-in-class outcomes still suffer from a high degree of systems complexity. They have been left with a stagnant technology landscape that requires highly specialized users and produces business continuity risks due to limited solution skills, maintainability, supportability, and upgradability.

Many of these highly complex business processes have taken a long time to mature, and stakeholders still may not understand the reasons for specific processes and what value is delivered during each step of the process. This creates resistance to change intended to take advantage of new capabilities and technologies, such as machine learning, process automation, and scenario planning reliant on Big Data, and to shifting away from highly customized to highly configurable solutions.

Further concerns arise when the competition (emerging or existing) adopts new processes and technology that can leapfrog your organization’s outdated platform and progresses at a pace never before seen. Top talent is also drawn to newer platforms, whether for the modernized user experience, new capabilities, or personal value gained through expertise in new, evolving technology that increases employment value.

In my experience, business leadership must prioritize business planning as a guiding light to competitive advantage – and back it with the right resources, focus, and technology – so big problems can be solved by skilled individuals and routine tasks can largely be automated. It’s shocking to see how much time talented individuals spend manually gathering and distributing data and responding to rudimentary questions that could easily be visible to end users if they had access to current and concise data.

Furthermore, far too often, people who should be focused on planning are drawn into firefighting because their plan and assumptions are not executed due to technology disconnects between planning horizons. This leads to distractions and limits their time to investigate the root cause of a problem.

Finding the opportunities

Look within and outside your organization to find where opportunities lie to:

  1. Deliver the best experience for your customers, as ultimately, they are the key party at risk in the process and part of the reason that so much complexity exists. Get this right, and they will do your job by owning the demand plan and being much more understanding when things don’t go to plan. This planning must come from the customer, and there must be visibility to incentivize the customer to work collaboratively in the planning process.
  1. Remove offline, decentralized guesswork or areas where people waste time. I strongly believe if you have the right people, they will know where they add value and where they waste their time, which limits value. In addition, invest in innovation management capabilities to allow enterprise-wide ideas to be captured, reviewed, and implemented. This is where strong management helps paint the path of where to focus the employees’ newly gained time and capture and share the benefits to highlight the benefits of this repurposing.
  1. Consider the organization’s goals and pain points. For most customers, this is their biggest problem; unless they have a strong management team to challenge the norm and provide good support for the ups and downs, innovation and ambition will be constrained, and the organization will quickly revert to silos of activities and accountability, regardless of the flow on effect.

We are addressing the challenges of effective business planning with a collaborative enterprise approach incorporating customers, supply chain, finance, and suppliers to deliver long-lasting, innovative outcomes focused on the opportunities above.

Download the IDC report “Leveraging Your Intelligent Digital Supply Chain to find out how an end-to-end digital supply chain – from design and planning to manufacturing, logistics, and operations – addresses the operational pressures of tracing good across the supply chain to drive sustainable processes. 


Adam Peanna

About Adam Peanna

Adam Peanna is a Senior Extended Supply Chain Solution Specialist for SAP. He has over 20 years of supply chain experience covering both operational and technology roles across Integrated Business Planning and logistics execution including warehouse and transportation management. He has a deep background in supply chain problem solving including system and process implementations, team leadership and enterprise software. His current activities support the SAP extended supply chain strategy, leveraging the integrated SAP approach to supply chain and growing the successful network of SAP customers. Adam is also an active member with a number of supply chain community networks and completed studies to obtain a masters of supply chain management.