3 min read

Planning as a team sport with Connected Planning

Nitesh Arora

Senior Director, Product Marketing and Strategy

This is the final article in a three-part blog series that discusses how to democratize business planning with enterprise-wide planning technologies. You can find part one here and part two here.

Well-known author and public speaker Malcolm Gladwell hosts a podcast called Revisionist History. In one episode, he explains the dynamics of weak- and strong-link networks by using two sports as an analogy: American soccer and basketball.

Exceptional soccer teams without a star player often win over average teams that have a star player. In soccer, the entire team is as strong as its weakest player and thus characterizes a weak-link sport. Basketball fares differently: teams with one or two MVPs generally win more than teams with equal-skill players—basketball represents a strong-link sport.

In many ways, business planning is a weak-link activity: To be truly exceptional, agile, and effective, it needs to connect people, plans, and data throughout the entire organization—not rely on the efforts of one or two to carry the team. It requires participation from and enhancement to every edge of the enterprise.

In part one of this blog series, I explored how Connected Planning technology democratizes the planning process with three guiding principles for building a foundation for success. Part two of the series dug deeper into the first principle and how business leaders can foster a decision-making culture.

This final installment shines a spotlight on the remaining two principles: planning as a team sport and anticipating the effects of change.

The dream doesn’t work unless the team works

When business environments evolve, enterprise planning becomes more complex. Although incorporating the right data at the right time is certainly critical, it can also make collaborating effectively that much more difficult.

Like soccer, enterprise planning relies on the efforts of each individual to reach its short- and long-term goals. When it comes to business planning, planning as a team sport is a necessity: a single superstar can create a vulnerability and a bottleneck that’s easily prevented through better collaboration.

This is where a cloud-based planning platform like Anaplan, with multi-device capabilities and a personalized user experience, becomes critical in developing and managing a more conversational planning process throughout the enterprise. For example, in the Anaplan platform, users can build customized and connected plans, and they can design personalized views and execute tasks quickly and easily through collaboration in the user interface.

The mobile capabilities of the platform go even further to enable planners to view, analyze, collaborate, and contribute in real-time and on the go—driving continuous planning capabilities and highly impactful results anytime, anywhere. Immediate access to data, mixed with an intelligently designed user experience, can equip even the largest of enterprises with the granular level of insight they need for effective cross-functional conversations.

To encourage a team-sport approach to planning, business leaders can evaluate existing processes and tools to see where barriers exist between teams and to encourage a more conversational experience with the right technology. Defining the process and bringing the right contributors and stakeholders in with a platform that enables automatic real-time data flows can help remove barriers and elevate the conversation throughout the organization.

Change your planning by planning for change

Change is constant and business leaders need to not only become familiar, but comfortable with anticipating the effects of change. Rather than ignore or work against it, leaders can look for ways to improve planning and adapt their processes in lockstep with market dynamics. As more data flows into the planning process at faster rates and via multi-device capabilities, planning from every area of the enterprise is the new reality for decision-makers.

Enterprise planning technology is becoming increasingly agile and UX-driven, which means that leaders can rely on its capabilities to ensure that the plans feeding the decision-making process remain cognizant to change and agile in response.

Building a culture steeped in knowledge-sharing and data-driven communication can also help businesses adjusting to change. Fostering a highly collaborative planning environment can provide businesses with the ability to react nimbly to unexpected changes, have fewer unforeseen changes, and access better-informed insights.

As a result, people can plan more frequently, leverage the right technology, and make decisions based on the most up-to-date information, redefining planning from “what-if” to “what’s next.”

Are you ready to take your planning and decision-making process on the go? Updating plans, evaluating metrics, and making decisions on the fly has never been easier.


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