This article is based on Kevin Hsu’s article 3 Ways to Optimize Your Business Plan with Business Intelligence posted on June 8, 2016. The article focuses in the three areas described below.
Make Plans Based in Reality (and past performance)
This area is about the data for supporting the business plan. It proposes the use of data in conjunction with a sensitivity analysis performed on assumption of future scenarios. Although the author of the article only recommends the use of current data, I consider that historical data should be included as well. Therefore, I complemented the heading by adding the part and past performance. In business intelligence, historical data plays an important role. It provides trends which are necessary for the prediction of future performance. Or, doesn’t the planning team want to know, for a specific area, if they are going on the right direction? The planning team should not afford the luxury of not knowing this information in the business plan.
Make your data Understandable and Communicate it real-time
This area addresses the optimization of the business plan by means of putting current, historical and forecasted data in a business intelligence software. As mentioned in the previous section, historical data should also be included. The ultimate goal of business intelligence is to convert data into information for decision making. How is it done? By collecting, filtering and aggregating data so that it can be analyzed in charts, graphs, dashboards to discover hidden opportunities or risks/threats that the business must avoid, mitigate or deal with.
Get the Planning out of the Silos
The outcome of a decision in one department may have a negative impact in a different department. This area deals with collaboration and communication. It states that the business intelligence software should be used in such a way to create an iterative and collaborative process on real and forecasted data that engages, with the management team, throughout the organization. The outcome, management buy-in and therefore a business plan everyone agrees and is committed to.