How to overcome connected planning challenges

Business planning
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Disparate department-by-department planning has fast become a thing of the past. A connected, integrated approach is being used by more businesses than ever before. But, for the system to function effectively each component must cooperate, just like any well-oiled machine.

Organizations are aware of the issues that disconnected data can cause. They know that siloes must be dismantled if they want operations to thrive in the current business climate. However, there are obstacles in the way of connected planning, such as change aversion, data visibility issues, and a workforce lacking in the necessary expertise. So, how can companies overcome these obstacles and make connected planning a reality?

Facing the unfamiliar: navigating culture shock

Changing to this more efficient, collaborative planning method can quickly upset the status quo. Change is never simple, and it may be particularly challenging when it comes to a process as significant and intricate as connected planning. It necessitates a change in corporate culture, a fresh emphasis on teamwork, and a break from compartmentalized systems and methods.

To overcome resistance, communication is key. Whether that’s making the benefits of this new way of working crystal clear, involving employees in the change process to promote buy-in, or providing training to soothe concerns, an active dialogue is vital. In ensuring everyone is on board and leading by example, organizations can smooth implementation and use it as an opportunity to evolve company culture.

For instance, by encouraging cross-functional teams to work together everyone can then work towards the same goal, reducing misalignment and confusion. This creates a more engaged, productive, and efficient workforce across every level and department, driving active participation with everyone on the same page.

Guy Armstrong

Guy Armstrong is Senior Vice President of Applications, at Oracle UK.

Forging a reliable hub: establishing centralized data trustworthiness

Data is the engine that propels efficient connected planning. There is a considerable risk of mistakes and unreliable reports when this data is segregated, difficult to access, or difficult to combine. The success of connected planning depends on the ability to integrate all sources and ensure that all data is of a high quality. If decisions and actions are based only on outdated data, they cannot be trusted. The answer is starting small, moving a few data sources to a centralized platform, and gradually adding more over time. This allows organizations to establish robust data governance policies, invest in data quality tools, and regularly clean and maintain data – ensuring BAU operations continue smoothly during the transition to connected planning. A data integration specialist can prove invaluable in this process to ensure that everything is set up properly before internal colleagues take the reins.

Building this enhanced visibility step-by-step and creating a single source of truth gives the entire organization access to a complete picture of business operations and strategy. Teams can then make better-informed choices and trust their data, reacting to changes in real-time instead of relying on long-term forecasting.

The process of implementing new technologies can occasionally provide some technical difficulties. Budget restraints can be a significant barrier to connected planning because it can often require a sizable investment in employees, systems, and processes.

Businesses must prioritize effectively, selecting which initiatives and business priorities are most important or critical for immediate results. Phased implementation helps to ease budgetary concerns, and working with a trusted vendor or consultant can help to manage the project successfully. These connected planning partners can provide support and guidance throughout the implementation process and help to deliver this within budget.

Addressing the skills gap in connected planning

Success in connected planning might be seriously hampered by a lack of internal competence. Limited internal expertise can make it difficult to implement a new system, with separate corporate functions often having different roles, procedures, and skill sets, making it challenging to benefit the entire organization.

To overcome this, better internal and external collaboration is needed. Consider working with a vendor or consultant who can provide the expertise to get the ball rolling, or upskilling existing employees to become experts in connected planning. With all parts of the organization working together, teams can collaborate more effectively and share information, ideas, and skills. This leads to better outcomes and more innovative solutions.

Although these challenges might seem overwhelming, connected planning is worth the money and work in the long run. People and procedures may need some time to adapt to any organizational change, but if done well, firms will have access to quicker, more adaptable, and more effective technologies. Roadblocks and difficulties may lie ahead, but with the appropriate plan and assistance, businesses can overcome these difficulties and reach new heights.

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Guy Armstrong is Senior Vice President of Applications, at Oracle UK.