Business Planning Building Blocks
The Building Blocks for Business Planning
Data and dashboard and scorecards are building blocks that support valuable business planning practices. The execution of business strategy is often hampered by a lack of reliable information. In a 2013 report on business planning practices KPMG determined that “seven out of ten executives do not get the right information to make business decisions.”
Data provides a common business language, a set of definitions and agreed standards. Data organized through the use of corporate data models ranging from corporate to individual systems should adhere to a common set of standards. There should be robust controls of the master data and clear ownership demonstrated throughout the organization around data requirements. A system of controls and governance should be in place to ensure the quality, consistency and completeness of information resulting in data that is consistent where applicable across multiple business units.
Dashboards and Scorecards
A dashboard measurement system provides a simple, clear message about the strategy that all employees can understand and internalize in their everyday operations. Design an efficient system that includes automated dashboards and scorecards. Build alerts and early warnings into the system by setting limits so that material variances get flagged when you hit that limit. This eliminates the need for someone to sit down and sift through a monthly report that has 200 variances and try to determine which ones are important. You also get agreement among company leaders as to what are the most important measures.
A well-constructed dashboard provides the roadmap for achieving the company’s strategy. It decomposes high-level stretch targets into ambitious targets for the linked objective and measures on the dashboard. The organization can then define the strategic initiatives designed to close the planning gap between the stretch targets and the organization’s current performance. In this way, the organization provides the knowledge, tools and means to achieve the stretch targets. The dashboard helps the organization mobilize by focusing and aligning all of its resources and activities on the strategy for breakthrough performance. Employees are more willing to sign up to the stretch targets because they can see the linkages, integration and initiatives that make achievement possible.
The most important criterion for initiating the dashboard is that the initiating unit has a senior leader whose leadership and management style emphasizes communication, participation and employee initiative and innovation.
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