Integrated Business Planning aligns people, process and technology

03 July 2023 6 min. read

The holistic approach to operations offered by Integrated Business Planning enables CEOs and managers to have greater visibility of the performance of all functions, and that agility is vital in 2023, write Kirsty Braines of Oliver Wight, and Michael Judd from Board International.

In an increasingly complex world, with the list of threats and opportunities rapidly growing, how can CEOs gain value from a more straightforward – but not simplistic – and streamlined approach to managing people and processes?

The answer is Integrated Business Planning (IBP), which management consulting firm Oliver Wight has been championing for decades. Now, in the uncertain and volatile post-pandemic world, its time has truly come.

Integrated Business Planning aligns people, process and technology

Indeed, Integrated Business Planning has emerged as a transformative approach in 2023 that enables organisations to gain a holistic view of their operations as a single entity – including its portfolio, supply chain, and customers – rather than disparate functions. Further, it aligns every function around a well-defined strategy to drive success.

Put another way, by re-tooling processes in a more joined-up way and arming leaders with real-time data, Integrated Business Planning generates a deeper understanding of an organisation’s performance, what it is capable of, and how to achieve that optimal level.

The method helps management plan for agility in the short term by having greater visibility into operations while staying true to clear, value-enhancing objectives over longer horizons.

However, without the data, processing power, and analysis from the systems, the direction of travel may be altered, meaning the desired destination is never reached.

To make it even simpler for CEOs to take advantage of this solution, Oliver Wight has built a strategic alliance with Board International to provide an end-to-end service. The new version has been designed jointly to offer management teams the sharpest IBP architecture and a system to ensure leaders can immediately extract every bit of value from an integrated approach.

Implementing IBP requires a thorough analysis of the organisation’s current processes, defining the desired state, and developing a roadmap for transformation. Board’s planning, forecasting, and analysis technology can be tailored to the organisation’s specific needs, providing real-time insights into the impact of different scenarios, enabling better decision-making.

“Integrated Business Planning enables organisations to gain a holistic view of their operations as a single entity rather than disparate functions.”

A new chapter for Integrated Business Planning

Effective IBP requires aligning three key elements: people and behaviours, processes, and technology. It begins with having a clear vision and the right people in the organisation who understand their roles in achieving enterprise objectives.

A clear strategic vision and the right talent possessing the necessary skills and motivation form the foundation for effective IBP implementation. Streamlined processes that efficiently drive performance across local and corporate objectives are equally vital. The processes should be designed to run efficiently and effectively, with correct inputs and outputs.

But true synergy is achieved when technology amplifies the potential of people and processes, empowering organisations to adapt swiftly to market dynamics. Technology plays a crucial role in monitoring and manipulating processes, generating and analysing data, and providing a reliable foundation for aligning functional plans and financial projections.

The partnership between Oliver Wight and Board brings together expertise in people, process, and technology. Oliver Wight excels in people and process design, while Board provides a planning and analysis technology platform that complements and enhances the integrated approach.

By leveraging Board’s capabilities, organisations can bridge the gap between their desire to implement Integrated Business Planning and the existing systems’ functionalities.

Tools for today

In an ever-transforming business landscape, CEOs must address the present challenges, plan for the future, and align their organisation’s strategies accordingly. External factors such as geopolitical events, economic fluctuations, and unexpected crises can disrupt even the most well-laid plans.

Here’s where an agile and adaptive approach to IBP allows business leaders to understand the current situation, make informed decisions for the next steps, and align their long-term objectives with ongoing operational plans.

Finance departments especially face continuous change and the need to adapt to new working methods. Integrating financial planning with IBP enables finance teams to play a more evaluating role, bringing their skills to support decision-making. By aligning teams around a common set of assumptions and numbers, organisations can make better-informed decisions with a clear understanding of their financial implications.

Organisations can navigate through uncertain times, seize opportunities, and minimise risks by aligning the organisation’s strategic objectives with ongoing operational plans.

And now, Board’s technology and Oliver Wight’s change management expertise together offer value-creation options, aid quicker ROI, greater flexibility, better information accuracy and speed-of-data. For example, dislocations to the supply chain – caused by the pandemic, delays to container traffic, or high energy costs – may be short-term, long-lasting, or permanent. Recalculating as a situation unfolds enhances management’s ability to adapt to long or short-term impacts.

Ultimately, IBP provides tools and insights for decision-making and scenario planning, allowing organisations to adapt to changing circumstances effectively. If you, as a CEO, are seeking a way to improve your business’ performance, Integrated Business Planning is a great place to start.

Integrated Business Planning aligns process, technology and people

The benefits

Integrated Business Planning is a strategic planning process that combines all business aspects, from sales and operations to marketing and finance, to create a single, integrated plan. IBP is designed to help businesses make better decisions, improve efficiency, and increase profitability.

There are many benefits to implementing IBP, including:

  • Improved decision-making: IBP provides organisations with a more holistic view of their operations, allowing them to make better decisions about things like product development, pricing, and marketing.
  • Increased efficiency: IBP helps organisations to streamline their operations and reduce waste.
  • Improved profitability: IBP enables organisations to identify and exploit new opportunities and to reduce costs.
  • Increased agility: IBP helps organisations respond faster to changes in the market.
  • Improved collaboration: IBP requires organisations to collaborate across different departments, which breaks down bias to enhance communication and understanding.

About the authors: Kirsty Braines is CEO of award-winning consultancy firm Oliver Wight, Michael Judd is Senior Director Solutions at Board International.