February 11, 2021 By Keri Olson 2 min read


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As business conditions remain uncertain in 2021, modern organizations must thoughtfully consider how they will adapt. Unpredictable events like the COVID-19 pandemic and its associated economic turbulence have reshaped business landscapes in a way that underscores the importance for organizations to build plans that will withstand all types of disruption.

In reality, many organizations were caught flat footed by the COVID-19 pandemic. With economic and regulatory environments changing overnight, many organizations did not have the processes or technologies in place to respond quickly enough to survive. In a world defined by such high uncertainty, it has become clear that a manual, scattershot, or siloed approach to planning and analysis is no longer sufficient.

To successfully plan for resilience, organizations must find ways to pivot and adapt quickly. This requires a high level of agility based on continuous planning utilizing smarter, data-driven insights. In order to perform continuous planning, organizations must orchestrate a convergence of the elements that make up the entire analytics journey, from data prep and exploration all the way through to reporting and dashboarding. Organizations must invest in a new holistic approach that brings together planning, analytics, and governance, risk and compliance (GRC).

When organizations take an integrated approach to planning, analytics and GRC, all of their data can be leveraged toward creating a feedback loop that informs present and future operations. Business leaders can then automate tedious and labor-intensive tasks like data collection, aggregation, and cleansing through the use of AI. This empowers them to spend more time on value-added work and enables them to make better informed business decisions. Leaders will start to see shifts on the horizon, allowing them to make predictive, data-driven pivots before those shifts even occur.

Four key components of this new integrated planning approach can be represented as the four A’s:


Smarter organizations will automate data exploration and visualization for faster, more flexible analysis. They will conduct “what-if” scenarios to see the impact on decisions before making them. They will also work to integrate their departmental data, allowing them to access high quality data culled from across the entire organization, breaking down planning silos.


A unified governance approach enables AI-powered and self-service data discovery, visualization, and reporting, with risk and compliance efforts integrated into the same environment. This reduces bias and uncovers patterns buried deep within the data. The better your data and predictive capabilities are, the greater your forecast reliability will be.


Bringing all of these components together generates massive year over year cost savings at the operational level, resulting in the achievement of a stronger strategic position.


Leaders across the organization can participate in planning and analysis from wherever they sit, both organizationally and geographically, with appropriate governance controls.

As you consider how your organization will emerge from these turbulent times and work to establish a clear vision to withstand future disruption, please join us for a “Plan for Business Resilience” virtual event. On Wednesday, March 17, IBM subject matter experts and industry leaders will share powerful insights on managing disruption from the perspectives of financial planning, business continuity, workforce re-entry, and supply chain optimization.

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Learn more about IBM’s suite of tools for emerging with resilience: IBM Planning Analytics with WatsonIBM Cognos Analytics, and IBM OpenPages with Watson.

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