The UK has been hypnotised into a state of uncertainty, with many becoming increasingly worried about the numerous headlines announcing the threat to the UK economy in the run up to Brexit. Changes in consumer dynamics and the onslaught of technological change have also caused further disruption for UK businesses. Suffice to say that change is unrelenting and doesn’t wait for anyone. But it doesn’t have to signal disaster. What’s essential for all businesses, as we navigate our way through this uncertainty, is to have a plan, and the ability to shift it as change occurs.
Our recent State of Connected Planning study revealed that only one in four companies believe they are equipped to make such updates quickly. There are therefore a huge number of businesses out there whose plans don’t accurately reflect the current market that they are working in. They are by definition, behind the market. To continue to move forward and be disruptive, businesses need to be ahead of trends or at least able to adapt as they happen. Spreadsheets simply aren’t agile enough to enable that. On the other hand, enterprise planning platforms work with real-time data, making the business much more capable of responding to change as it happens. So, how can businesses catch up with the world around them, and even get ahead?
Prioritise planning throughout the organisation
In today’s highly competitive market, many companies point to “Rate of growth” as the metric that best measures a company’s health and potential. But how do high growth businesses consistently grow and exceed expectations?
Our study suggests that high growth companies recognise the value of robust planning as they strive to create and sustain their rate of growth and keep up with the pace of change. What’s more, our study showed that aggressively growing companies plan more frequently, rely less on spreadsheets, and put more of their plans into action than companies with stable or no growth. Rather than seeing planning as an abstract idea, growing companies plan with far greater frequency and are much quicker to incorporate market data into their plans. That external insight is crucial to plot your route to success.
Furthermore, our study showed that to sustain an aggressive rate of growth, businesses need to keep their employees aligned on business goals and stay actively attuned to changes in the market, so they can better anticipate future trends. By connecting departments across the business with planning tools, each team can better ensure their plans are in tune with external as well as internal changes and businesses can ensure that every department is better aligned to wider business goals.
Make the most of advanced technology
Technology is critical to the health and competitiveness of a business. And while 82% of executives in our study say that their organisation needs to plan more frequently than they did five years ago, only 23% feel equipped to incorporate market changes into their plans within a few days.
Consider using advanced analytics, which includes predictive analytics and spans to artificial intelligence and machine learning, to help produce more accurate forecasts based on current internal and external risk factors. While conventional planning models are static, only changing as and when people realise a change needs to be made, adding advanced analytics into the mix can transform planning across all industries. By the time a planner is able to identify, plan and respond to external events, it’s often too late and the next problem has already started to surface, locking you into a downward spiral. By integrating advanced analytics such as machine learning into a platform, planners can dramatically reduce the time to decision making by more quickly identifying potential disruptions and better forecasting the impact on the wider business.
There is a growing awareness that planning is crucial to achieving business goals. That said, traditional planning approaches have become redundant, unable to respond quickly enough to market demands. The development of new technologies has allowed planning to become truly connected. The only way companies can keep up with the current pace of change is if they have the ability to gather data and respond in real-time.