Nowadays, the dynamic business environment demands companies to be always one step ahead to stay competitive. It is not enough to be just good at what you are offering, you need to consider more factors than ever before. Fortunately, businesses have a trustworthy ally in the face of their data, which can help them define the current reality, enlighten why things happen as they do, and predict what the future may look like. In the following article, we are going to discuss two different types of solutions that can help you grow your business with the power of data analytics – Connected Planning and Business Intelligence.
Difference between Connected Planning and Business Intelligence solutions
Business models describe what products and/or services the business plans to produce and how it intends to do it, including what costs will be incurred while the business plan outlines the goals of the company and how it will achieve them. Strategic business planning is one of the most common areas where the combination of modelling and planning can provide a higher value for the organization. Connected Planning solutions combine forecasting of different scenarios with actions that should be taken in case they occur. Good planning can save companies resources and reduce risks as it provides them with guidance on what steps they need to take to achieve a specific goal or make a profit.
On the other hand, Business Intelligence (BI) includes “the applications, infrastructure and tools, and best practices that enable access to and analysis of information to improve and optimize decisions and performance.” BI solutions extract valuable insights from vast unstructured data and transform them into meaningful information. Using the provided insights to make strategic decisions, companies can optimize operational efficiency and enhance productivity.
Although both Connected Planning and Business Intelligence solutions can provide you with data analytics, they are designed to satisfy quite different needs and purposes. The functionalities of systems for Connected Planning make them extremely useful when it comes to budgeting, business planning, and forecasting. Based on data, they can create and analyze several potential scenarios – such as baseline, conservative and aggressive, revenue growth, price changes or market expansion and show their financial impact. In contrast, BI about improving the organization as a whole by transforming its data into insights of their business processes. The data analytics BI provides, can then be used by the organization to make strategic business decisions that improve productivity, increase revenue and accelerate growth. BI encompasses a wide variety of tools that enable companies to extract data from both internal and external sources, transform it for analysis and create reports, dashboards and other data visualizations to help decision-makers take the best course of action.
Is One of Them Better?
Now that we have a basic understanding of the differences between Connected Planning and Business Intelligence solutions, we can be tempted to ask, which one can bring the most value to the organization? However, as Connected Planning and Business Intelligence solutions are made for different purposes, the answer often will depend on the current needs and growth stage of the organization. Furthermore, in many cases combining both types of solutions will bring the best results.
For instance, one of our clients, a multinational medical device company, needed our help with optimizing their whole sales process from gathering the information from their sales representatives to calculating their sales bonuses. They were receiving many ununified reports from their sales representatives that had to be consolidated in a single Excel report. The process was both manually intensive and time-consuming, resulting in delays in their reporting, planning and paying off the sales representatives and business opportunities were missed.
In order to help them, we combine the power of BI, using Qlik Sense and Qlik NPrinting and Connected Planning, using Anaplan. We created a Qlik Sense application with no need for manual data entry, which allows measuring and monitoring the performance of the different members, such as sales agents and area managers. In the past, collecting all the data and preparing the reports took weeks, while the fully automated application it takes seconds. Besides, the application is reloaded daily, always ensuring up to date information and decreasing the chances if missing business opportunities. Moreover, it has options for adjusting the level of access, ensuring the right people can always view the information.
As a next step, our team prepared several specific metrics that are needed to calculate the sales incentives seamlessly. With the help of Qlik NPrinting, export the metrics in a format that suits the needs of Anaplan without any manual adjustments needed. Then, we used the unified data to build a sales incentive model in Anaplan (if you want to know more about how exactly we did it, please refer to the following Case Study). We implemented various complex functions in the model to ensure that the compensation plans are standardized across all regions and geographies the company operates. The model also covered different types of incentives. Thus, currently, our client can easily export them, make reports of the rankings of the various sales representatives, and make managerial decisions regarding their bonuses.
Thanks to the combined power of Qlik and Anaplan, the entire sales process became more efficient and transparent. There was no more delay in reporting or paying of the bonuses and the sales team felt more motivated and performed better.
There will never be only one data solution, which will satisfy all needs. If we have CRM, it does not mean we do not need BI, if we have BI, it does not mean we do not need Connected planning solutions or the other way around. For companies to achieve the best data analytics results, they will often need to rely on several solutions, which should not be viewed as just another expense but an investment for the company’s growth.
How B EYE Can Help You
At B EYE, we empower business users by transforming the data deluge into meaningful insights. We have proven track records in helping Fortune 500 companies discover new opportunities and implement data-driven strategies. We are partners with the world’s leading platforms for Business Intelligence and Connected Planning – Qlik and Anaplan to help you unleash the power of your data.
Aiming to empower our clients to evolve their businesses, we work closely with them to build customized solutions, helping them achieve efficiency and reach the best outcomes.