From roadblocks to bumps in the road: how businesses can overcome connected planning challenges

Guy Armstrong, Senior Vice President, Applications, at Oracle UK

Connected planning is quickly gaining momentum. Gone are the days of separate planning across departments – the future lies in building an integrated, cohesive strategy. Just like assembling a sports car, businesses need all the right parts to work in unison to ensure optimal performance.

Organisations are well versed in the issues posed by disconnected data and know that they should be breaking down siloes to make this connected planning dream a reality. But crafting this well-oiled machine is often easier said than done. Roadblocks to integrated planning take many forms – primarily across culture, data, project management, and skills.

So, how can businesses turn these roadblocks into small bumps in the road to connected planning success?

Absorb the culture shock

Moving to this more streamlined, collaborative style of planning can easily disrupt the status quo. Change is never easy and can be especially difficult when it comes to a task as large and complex as connected planning. It requires a shift in organisational culture, a renewed focus on collaboration, and a break away from siloed strategies and systems.

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, organisations 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.

Clean, visible, and usable data

Data is the driving force behind effective connected planning. When this data is siloed, hard to access or difficult to bring together, there is a high risk of error and untrustworthy reports. Integrating all sources and ensuring that all data is high-quality can be a challenge, but it’s critical to the success of connected planning. Quick decisions and actions can’t be trusted if they are based on poor data or solely historic information.

The answer is starting small, moving a few data sources to a centralised platform, and gradually adding more over time. This allows organisations 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 organisation 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.

Managing a connected planning project

Implementing new technology can always come with its fair share of technical challenges. Connected planning can be a significant investment – in systems, processes, and staff – and budget constraints can present a major challenge.

Businesses must prioritise 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.

Facing a connected planning skills gap

A lack of internal expertise can present a major roadblock to connected planning success. Implementing a new system can be challenging if you don’t have the right expertise in-house. Often responsibilities and processes differ within different business functions, and skillsets are kept within certain departments making it difficult to bring benefits to the entire organisation.

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 organisation working together, teams can collaborate more effectively and share information, ideas, and skills. This leads to better outcomes and more innovative solutions.

Overcoming these roadblocks may seem intimidating, but the rewards of connected planning are worth the challenge. Just like fine-tuning a car, it takes time and effort, but if done effectively, organisations will gain a well-oiled machine that’s faster, more agile, and more efficient. There will be bumps in the road and obstacles to overcome. But with the right approach and the right support, businesses can overcome these challenges and climb to the top of the podium.


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