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What is integrated business planning and why is it critical for your business?

Updated: Aug 30, 2023

Traditional business planning often focuses only on a part of the business - with considerable lag; in these inflationary times a 'whole of business' view is essential – integrated business planning offers a solution, in real time.

Integrated business planning (IBP) is a real-time process for translating desired business outcomes into clear financial and operational resource requirements, with the overarching objective of maximising profit, optimising cash flow and tax planning, while minimising risk.

It is a data-driven and continuous process that enables managers to make informed decisions, anticipate changes in the market, and respond quickly to market opportunities and challenges.

In this introduction, we will briefly discuss some of the benefits of IBP by contrasting it with the traditional planning approaches you may be familiar with.

With the help of real-time IBP, managers can streamline their processes, increase efficiency, and make better use of their resources to achieve their goals.

Contrasting IBP with traditional planning methods

Comprehensive view: Managers are now equipped with a comprehensive view of their operations, enabling them to make informed decisions that drive success. Traditional planning methods often focus on a single function or department, leading to silos and limited visibility into the overall performance of an organisation.

Real-time data: Managers access real-time data and updated forecasts, enabling them to respond quickly to changes and capitalise on opportunities. Traditional planning methods are often based on outdated data and rely on manual processes, significantly reducing their timeliness, accuracy and usefulness.

Improved coordination: IBP promotes coordination between different functions within an organisation, reducing silos and improving the alignment of strategies. Traditional planning methods often result in limited coordination and a lack of alignment, reducing the effectiveness of planning efforts.

Better risk management: By providing managers with a single source of truth for their operations, IBP reduces the risk of financial surprises, reducing the risk of missed opportunities and enabling managers to capitalise on new opportunities. Traditional planning methods often result in a lack of visibility into risks, reducing their effectiveness in managing risk.

Increased efficiency: Managers maximise the use of their resources and achieve their goals more efficiently. Traditional planning methods often result in duplication, lack of coordination and wasted resources, significantly limiting their effectiveness in driving success.

Enhanced collaboration: IBP promotes collaboration between different functions within an organisation, enabling managers to work together to achieve their goals. Traditional planning methods often result in limited collaboration, reducing the effectiveness of planning efforts and the alignment of strategies.

Improved accuracy: Integrated business planning provides managers with real-time data and accurate forecasting, enabling them to make informed decisions and achieve their goals with greater accuracy. As mentioned earlier, traditional planning methods are often based on outdated data and manual processes, reducing their accuracy and effectiveness.


In conclusion, integrated business planning is a comprehensive approach to strategy and resource management that provides managers with a unified view of their operations and goals.

By leveraging real-time data, updated forecasts, and improved collaboration, IBP helps managers make informed decisions, respond quickly to changes, and maximise their resources.

Benefits include sharper risk management, increased efficiency, and improved accuracy, making IBP an indispensable tool for today's managers aiming to reach their financial and operational goals.

Ultimately, IBP provides managers with a clear path to success, enabling them to make strategic decisions, drive growth, and achieve their full potential.


Transform your business. Transform your future.

At Smart Union, we help our clients transform their business, through insightful planning, budgeting, reporting and analysis.

Using best-of-breed planning and analytics solutions, we help managers align their operational plans with their strategic goals, empowering teams to become collaborative, insight-driven, and adaptable.

We leverage strong technical capabilities and a deep understanding of our clients’ business environment to create a robust framework for assessing and managing performance toward clear objectives.

Our analysis, recommendations and consultative approach provide our clients with an actionable appraisal of business performance and areas of key focus, in as close to real-time as possible.

We partner bold leaders. Transforming business through insight and technology. Transforming the future.

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