In November, if you are like most companies, you are busy planning for next year. Making sound business plans means starting with solid data. Your ERP holds a wealth of information that can be used to create more effective business plans. Whether you use Acumatica or Sage software, BizNet is an excellent business intelligence solution that can help you create the reports you need for better planning.
Why Use Business Intelligence Data in Business Plans?
Business plans reflect both current thinking and future goals. Many plans, however, tend to be too lofty, too forward-thinking, and too unattainable. They aren’t grounded in solid data or in reasonable, achievable goals.
That’s where BI data comes into the picture. Business intelligence data is reality. It’s based in present-day facts, and reflects the current business information available from multiple sources in your company.
When you use BI data as the springboard for your business plans, your plans are automatically grounded in reality. You can then base projections on your current position. You can track growth through several cycles and note seasonal trends, if any, as well as any adjustments you may need to take with previous plans and projects. At the end of the business planning cycle, a plan based on solid BI data tends to be more achievable and realistic than one based on market projections or your leadership team’s best guesswork.
Create Reasonable What-If Scenarios
Another benefit of using business intelligence data for business planning is creating reasonable “what if” scenarios. “What if” scenarios are a basic business planning method. If A or B happens, companies project C or D as outcomes and so on.
With business intelligence data behind the scenes, you can create realistic “what if” scenarios based on current trends. A sales trend can be extrapolated and continued up or down, with projections made on scenarios A or B. Other trends, including manufacturing, shipping times, customers’ orders, and more can also be worked into “what-if” scenarios based on actual data models.
Ranking and Organizing Data
Before using your business intelligence data for business planning, it’s helpful to both organize and rank your data to ensure you’re working with the most important data elements. Once you rank these elements, you can reduce them down to the most critical factors affecting business performance. Then you can work with a reasonable number of scenes and factors for projections.
Business Planning as a Team Sport
Lastly, business plans based on business intelligence data tend to be more collaborative than those created without it. That’s because BI systems, like many other data systems that integrate several departments’ worth of data into one system, break down the silo mentality. Collaboration becomes easier since no one has a vested interest or a stake in safeguarding their information. Teamwork becomes the order of the day, resulting in more powerful and productive planning sessions.
Give Yourself Plenty of Time
It’s never too early to start your plans for the next quarter or business cycle. Whether you’re on an annual, biannual, or quarterly calendar, you need to give yourself enough time to work on your business plans. Pulling data doesn’t take long, but understanding and using it can take longer than anticipated.
Don’t rush your business planning cycle. A rushed cycle leads to the lofty, unattainable plans that only de-motivate and demoralize teams. Instead, focus on the positive results gained from thoughtful business planning based on business intelligence data. You’ll get the most benefit from your business intelligence data and create plans you can achieve.