The State of Connected Planning

Welcome to the first-ever global survey on business planning

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of companies say that better planning technology produces better business outcomes.
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But only 15% execute on all of their plans.

The idea that business planning is important isn’t new. C-Suite and departmental leaders have long acknowledged that business planning is paramount for steering companies through complexities and achieving performance targets. The data to support these assertions, however, has been limited. 

Until now.

In our inaugural State of Connected Planning report, we surveyed over 1,000 planning professionals across 45 countries and 18 industries to uncover insight into how organizations accelerate business value through Connected Planning. 

What did we learn?

In short, we learned everything about planning. We learned what works for companies–and, equally important, what doesn’t. We saw what businesses value in their planning processes and their planning technology. We gathered feedback about the problems they face and collected their ideas about the future.

Tell me more about the research

Surveying over 1,000 companies across the globe, we commissioned the largest—and first of its kind—business planning survey to date. We walked away with firsthand insight into the tools that businesses are using, the technologies on their wish lists, and deep insight into how enterprises are tackling complex, multi-faceted planning processes.

And now we want to share that insight with you.

Across the world and across industries, data from our survey confirmed that the more successful the company, the more advanced its planning capabilities. Companies that are most successful are more conscious about their planning. They use more advanced planning tools. Their approaches to planning leave successful companies better able to put plans into action, incorporate market trends, and develop and track their plans.

Successful companies are also far more likely to use advanced, enterprise-level planning technology. Successful companies prioritize planning and make a concerted effort to connect business units across the enterprise. Above all, our research found that the most successful enterprises focus on aligning of people, processes, and data to produce better decision-making across the company.


Let's talk challenges

Increasing uncertainty and market volatility make it imperative that businesses operate with agile, data-driven planning that can be adjusted quickly and effectively. Although businesses recognize that successful planning requires an enterprise-scale solution, our research showed just how many companies still struggle to plan well.

For example, 81 percent of businesses report that they still use spreadsheets as a primary planning tool. Seventy-two percent of companies still rely on on-premises software, and 33 percent still use point solutions. As planning response time continues to inch closer to real time, nearly a third of organizations cited two main roadblocks to implementing an agile, data-driven approach:

Planners shared further challenges and frustrations, including:

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of businesses face two or more major obstacles to planning
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take weeks or longer to incorporate market changes
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plan quarterly or less

Key opportunities

Planning is an enterprise-level process—and executives across industries and geographies cite planning as an important aspect of every single business outcome in the survey. Our research indicates that there is a tremendous opportunity for businesses to plan more frequently, put more of their plans into action, and leverage planning technology that connects people, data, and plans.

Technology also remains an opportunity for today’s enterprises. Forty-six percent of organizations using point and on-premises solutions say that better technologies are necessary to accommodate current market conditions and 43 percent of executives say that a move to cloud-based technology would benefit their existing planning process.

By moving to cloud-based technology, businesses can automate and streamline tedious processes, which reduces human error, improves productivity, and provides stakeholders with increased visibility into performance. Further, it provides companies with an even greater opportunity: to adopt Connected Planning to drive more intelligent, collaborative, and dynamic decision-making in every area of the business.

What was the market reaction?

After releasing our survey, business leaders around the world were thrilled to share their thoughts on, and main takeaways from, the report. Check out their responses below.

There's a better way to plan

When surveyed, respondents around the world demonstrate that the business world is ripe for Connected Planning. They acknowledge that planning is crucial to achieving their business goals. They also acknowledge that traditional planning approaches are insufficient for moving confidently and intelligently into the future.

At Anaplan, we believe that Connected Planning is the solution. By connecting people, plans, and data across the enterprise, businesses have unprecedented power to make better, faster, and more intelligent decisions. Forward-thinking businesses are in an optimal position to capitalize on these changes by leveraging Connected Planning approaches and technology that gives them an enormous competitive edge—now and in the future.

We encourage you to explore the State of Connected Planning report in its entirety for more insight into how organizations are accelerating business value through planning.