Aligning corporate planning and business intelligence: a combined maturity model

Frederik Marx1, Gerrit Lahrmann1, Robert Winter1

Abstract. Striving for planning effectiveness and efficiency, corporate planning is subject to change. On the one hand, changed business requirements demand necessary adjustments. On the other hand, new planning applications promise to facilitate corporate planning. To support an aligned development of corporate planning and business intelligence (BI), an integrated maturity model is needed. Such a maturity model not only supports the assessment of strengths and weaknesses of a company's own efforts, but also provides an outlook on future developments in both domains. As current corporate planning maturity models do not address BI and existing BI maturity models lack a corporate planning functional perspective, this paper presents an integrated corporate planning and BI maturity model.

Corporate planning typically consists of four major planning subsystems: strategic planning, long-term planning, operational planning, and forecasting [22, 25]. According to empirical studies, these subsystems change nearly every year regarding the planning content, models, and processes [3]. Corporate planners are striving for more efficiency in their field of work by reducing the partially large planning efforts and therefore modifying the subsystems. Furthermore, effectiveness is a major change driver: Changing context variables like economic situations, business models, technology development, and innovations in corporate planning itself demand adjustments of corporate planning in business practice [1, 21]. As corporate planning is heavily dependent on information technology (IT)-based planning applications, these are subject to change as well [28, 35]. Furthermore, software vendors are pushing new planning applications into the market, driven by new technology possibilities and improved user interfaces and self-administrable applications [28, 35]. In this situation, corporate planners need orientation from functional corporate planning development and also from new BI possibilities. In addiUniversity of St. Gallen, Institute of Information Management, St. Gallen, Switzerland, {frederik.marx, gerrit.lahrmann, robert.winter}

Maturity describes a “state of being complete. section 4. In contrast to natural sciences. Research method According to March & Smith [26]. this paper has the goal to bridge those gaps by outlining a combined corporate planning and BI maturity model. internal BI departments have to be aware of future corporate planning developments in order to support an adequate BI infrastructure. After setting the methodical foundations (cf. We end with an evaluation of the aligned maturity model by using seven case studies (cf. 35]. archetypal levels of maturity of a certain domain and can be used for organizational assessment and organizational development. 9]. section 3). As the overall goal of this work is to draft an aligned corporate planning and BI maturity model. Each dimension is further specified and described by a number of elements or activities (or measures) at each maturity level [9. models. Such a model promises to assist aligned business and IT development. design research is defined to “produce and apply knowledge of tasks in order to create effective artefacts” that “serve human purposes”. Each level has its own distinguishing descriptor that provides a clear indication of the intent of the level and a detailed description or summary of its characteristics. Maturity models are used to guide this transformation process.2 tion. Maturity models are an established means to identify strengths and weaknesses of certain domains of an organization. section 4. 29]. Following the design science paradigm of information systems research [20. 26]. perfect or ready” [33]. Dimensions are specific capability areas structuring the field of interest. Typically. Subsequently.1) and allocating planning applications on maturity levels (cf.2). an evolutionary transformation path from an initial to a target stage needs to be progressed [12]. Design research is therefore considered as a problem-oriented approach that aims for building and evaluating innovative artefacts which can take the form of “constructs. section 6). They consist of multiple. In order to reach a desired state of maturity. and implementations” [26]. a maturity model consists of several levels (also called stages) of maturity and a number of structuring dimensions. which are basically instantiations of the general design sci- . Several procedure models have been developed that support the construction of maturity models [4. we describe what corporate planning and BI entail (cf. design research intend to advance existing capability limitations [20]. section 5) and a final discussion of our results (cf. we focus on the maturity model itself by identifying maturity models of planning (cf. Our literature analysis shows that corporate planning maturity models do not or rarely address BI [16. methods. which aim for developing and verifying theories that explain and predict behavioural aspects of the reality. this paper adheres to the design research paradigm [20. Existing BI maturity models lack a corporate planning functional perspective [24]. section 2). 12].

27]. A bottom-up approach first defines dimensions and characteristics representing maturity and then descriptions are derived from it. 29]. the corresponding characteristics are determined. To populate the meta-model. As this paper represents research in progress. The maturity model in this paper is constructed by using the procedure model by De Bruin et al. 2 . we focus on the construction of the maturity model itself. In a second step. Finally. Fig. Following. Stages are seen as successful patterns of organizational design. due to their internal logic and integrity [34].2 We use an existing life-cycle model of organizations as underlying meta-model [31]. [9]) As we have already outlined the scope of the maturity model in the introduction of this paper. [9]. we are focusing on the design and population phase of maturity model construction. Fig 1).3 ence research process [26. we identify and describe relevant subsystems of corporate planning and corresponding BI applications. A top-down approach at first specifies the maturity levels and their descriptions. 1: Constructional process (adapted from De Bruin et al. As a result of their superior organizational perspective. neglecting the assessment model and the maintenance in this first iteration. For testing. we first provide an overview of corporate planning by outlining relevant planning subsystems. [9] (c. we deploy the model within this article. Corporate planning and BI: an overview In this section.f. By means of a literature analysis. Organizational life-cycle models are a form of maturity models which describe the development of organizations by discrete stages and characteristics such as corporate strategy and organizational structure [31]. we use seven qualitative case interviews evaluating the models at large organizations. we identify corresponding BI applications. we use the result of the literature analysis by mapping corporate planning subsystems and BI application to the maturity levels as proposed by IS design models [37]. 16. These define the solution space for the maturity model to be constructed. According to Yin [39] case studies are an established means for explorative analysis and validation. they not only influence the subsequent design of but also align corporate planning and BI [10. Then we design and populate the model by using an analytical top-down approach as proposed by De Bruin et al.

Operational planning. planning. Forecast. Furthermore. e. but also on the long-term development of the company. including trend analysis and regression. it is heavily based on advanced forecasting tools. also called action planning. and staffing multiplied with standard prices or costs into one master plan or master budget. production. The latter prompt the management to look at risks and opportunities not anticipated in the budget [8]. The crafting of strategy calls for a specific strategy process and strategic instruments. it integrates the quantities of the functional part-plans of sales. planning is integrative. With the strategic management approach. Forecasts are predictions of the development of real-world phenomena related to the corporation. Addressing those different targets. i. the balanced scorecard (BSC). Therefore. Long-term planning has been traditionally focused on financials [16]. opportunities. and operational figures are used for comparisons. and strategies. etc. Strategic planning is input for operational planning. On business unit level. focuses on integration and operational effectiveness as it coordinates the company`s next year activities [11]. In the planning system. Fig.g. 18]. On a corporate level. weakness. fig 2) depicts the planning subsystems and their relationships. on (qualitative) content and innovations rather than on financials/budgets. planning in research and practice has developed different subsystems: operational planning/budgeting. Its focus shifts to visions. 2 Corporate planning subsystems (adapted from Frezatti et al [13]) . strength. business portfolio approaches.4 Corporate planning subsystems The planning system should support the systematic thinking and designing of the future of a corporation and its major business units by defining goals in terms of strategies and plans [23]. they are used as input for the planning process or as a complement to the operational budget [11]. forecasting. 23]. and threat (SWOT) analysis. on the exploration of alternative futures rather than on extrapolation of historical business data [18]. Long-term planning broadens the focus of the management attention not only on short-term goals. long-term planning shifts to strategic planning emphasizing strategic thinking and adaptation to the environment [5]. A key characteristic of operational planning is the top-down or bottom-up budgeting process once per year.e. [13] by a forecasting function as described above. and long-term/strategic planning [5. Longterm planning often has a scope of three to five years. procurement. The following functional map (cf. missions. as it sets aligned goals in order to coordinate the company's different activities and resource allocation [19. It extends the work of Frezatti et al. [5]. it integrates the budgets of the business units into one corporate budget [6].

Sometimes. The focus is on analytical applications. simulations. and analyzing data to help business users to make better decision” [36]. Often. Vendor example IBM Cognos Balanced Scorecard Oracle PeopleSoft Scorecard SAP Strategy Management Financial planning application Consolidation application IBM Cognos Planning IBM Cognos TM1 Oracle's PeopleSoft Planning and Budgeting SAP Integrated planning SAP BO Planning and Consolidation. Often. OLAP is interesting for corporate planning as it allows aggregation and even some moderate levels of financial consolidation of data along the corporate organizational and product hierarchies and some calculations. as this has been established in the field of corporate management [3. 3: Relevant BI applications . Consolidation applications are preliminarily designed for financial consolidation according to legal requirements and for management consolidation. the development of IT leads to an evolution of IS-based managerial decision support systems (DSS) [7]. 28. IBM Cognos Controller. the data warehouse centric architecture has been established. 32. Examples of standard software from three leading vendors are provided [14]. As we aim at the identification of real-world designs in the field of corporate planning. consolidation applications are also used for data loading and the aggregation of planning values. In addition to applications. Oracle Enterprise One SAP ERP Source system ERP Fig. Enterprise resource planning systems (ERP) are important data sources for corporate management. Usually. they are based on OLAP databases. we outline the relevant BI applications as identified in the literature [2. They are used to support transactions along business processes. 36]. Following Watson. Category Type Strategic planning application Concept oriented analytical application Description Strategic planning solutions especially address strategy formulation and visualization and the subsequent defining and tracking of strategic initiatives. Financial planning applications provide tools for the flexible development of planning models and offer planning functionalities like allocation. as a subset of the DW) serves as data integrator from diverse source system and as data provider and storage for the following analytical applications. 35]. The DW (and data marts. and analytical applications [32. The latter are incorporating business logic (models and workflows) and are specific for some planning subsystems [2. integration infrastructure. From the support of transactional processing and reporting (transaction processing systems). 28. for decentralized and centralized calculation of planning figures. ERP also offers specific modules supporting integrated operational planning. This leads to widespread accepted reference architecture models of BI. these planning applications support the planning workflow from data loading up to reconciliation. incorporating source systems. 3 shows the portfolio of BI applications available. but we also provide relevant integration systems and source systems. Spreadsheet applications. are highly used in corporate planning. Oracle Hyperion Oracle PeopleSoft Consolidation SAP Business Consolidation Microsoft's (MS) Excel Spreadsheet application Generic analytcial application OLAP application IBM Cognos BI OLAP Oracle OLAP SAB Business Explorer Analyzer Integration system DW IBM's DB2 Oracle's 11g database SAB BW (Business Warehouse). 35]. we focus on standard software components. “business intelligence is a broad category of applications. such as DWs and enterprise application integration systems. distribution. which are necessary to enable the communication and information sharing between the applications [32]. In terms of integration systems. the corporate IS landscape also encompasses integration infrastructure. technologies and processes for gathering. 35]. but today ERP focus more on transactions processing than on planning. such as contribution margins. In terms of analytics. Thereby. oriented towards the IS pyramid. the user-friendliness and the low initial costs The central feature of OLAP applications is multidimensional data modeling. The following Fig. Advantages of spreadsheet solutions are the high degree of modeling flexibility. storing. The descriptions are derived from the literature [2. the support of corporate management with IS has been an ongoing topic.5 BI application types Since the 1960s. and scenarios. They support quantitative data and allow linking corporate strategy KPIs to divisional strategy KPIs and also to KPIs of strategic initiatives and projects. they include BSC approaches for cascading strategic targets. accessing. 28]. we follow the differentiation proposed by Baars and Kemper [22] and distinguish between generic and concept-oriented applications.

[4] – on the reuse of (the few) existing planning maturity models [15.g. But to be effective and efficient. Therefore. the annual budget is generated by a bottom-up process. Out of top-down targets. The operational planning system is complemented by a forecast. As mentioned above. size and diversification) and corporate strategy (e. Long-term and strategic planning is done informally by top management. Level 2: Corporate operational planning: The company is in its first growth phase exploring its success potentials and markets. corporate strategy is focused on shaping its success potential in terms of technology and markets. The allocations are based on results of corporate planning contingency research [17. organizational structure. predicting the development for the current year and allowing reactions to meet the budget. 38]. We select the model of Pümpin and Prange as it is based on further maturity models of organizational development and provides the needed perspectives of corporate strategy and organizational structure [31]. 38]. As the company is small and the leadership is centred on the company’s founder. we describe the maturity levels according to corporate strategy. First. and also to derive a consistent maturity model. 16]. there is no need for a formal planning system. . and the planning system: Level 1: Informal planning: The company is in its pioneering phase. Therefore.g. we choose a life-cycle model of organizations. In a second step. the planning system consists of an integrated operational planning. We map the planning subsystems and their characteristics according to the requirements of the stages. these corporate planning subsystems need to be tailored to each other and to the contingencies of the company [1]. growth or cost-orientation) [17.6 Design and population of the maturity model We now focus on the model construction itself. as these instruments have been developed in literature and business practice in historical order [5]. In the following. we follow the top-down process of maturity model construction. As empirical analyses show. but also focusing on operational effectiveness. To integrate these contingencies and subsystems. we allocate the identified BI applications to the maturity levels. The diversification is still low. and – as proposed by Becker et al. the design of corporate planning systems is mainly influenced by the organizational structure (e. Meta-model and corporate planning maturity levels The sequence of the outlined corporate planning subsystems reveals a first glance at corporate planning maturity. we specify the metamodel and populate the maturity levels from a planning perspective by outlining characteristics of the different dimensions. The structure is driven by specialization and oriented along the value chain. The increasing size demands a formalization of corporate management.

Corporate planning shifts from pure financial planning to a balanced planning of financial and qualitative information: Next to the annual budget and forecast. Management is decentralized with much autonomy and full responsibility: operational planning and strategy development is done on a divisional level. Supporting the forward-looking shift. As corporate managers and planners have to learn to balance resources between divisions in the long run. Formal corporate strategic planning is missing. by using BSC dimensions. The corporate centre is staffed minimally and has its focus on financial planning and control: Annual budgets are the main focus of the corporate planning process complemented by a financial forecast. The corporate centre also sponsors and launches certain strategic initiatives. strategic planning and operational planning are integrated in a company-wide planning framework. acquisitions) and develops matrix structures that demand cross-divisional coordination. and capital expenditure. The corporate centre reserves the right to selectively reduce the autonomy of divisions as financial pressure increases.g. Both instruments shift from fixed to rolling planning horizons. Corporate strategic planning is done by integrating or setting targets for divisional strategic business plans. the planning system is supplemented by financial-oriented long-term and cash-flow planning. are implemented as well.7 Level 3: Corporate financial planning: The company is in its second growth phase.g. Strategic thinking is well spread all over the company. The longterm planning is focused on three to five years and sets objectives for the annual budget of the divisions. balanced in terms of financial and qualitative information. This especially addresses a shift from operational planning and complementing forecast to a single rolling operational planning. budgeting. Driven by planning efficiency and in order to compensate problems which are associated with a complete central framework. e. forecast and strategic planning use rolling horizons. .g. In order to align the different strategic initiatives within the company. Other strategic instruments. scenarios and simulations. The increasing size and diversification leads to divisional group structures. there is a formalized strategic planning with a horizon of three to five years as complement to or instead of financial long-term planning. The strategic planning sets multidimensional targets for the annual budget. Level 5: Corporate strategic management: The company manages hundreds of different evolving and also declining businesses. Divisions may develop their own strategic planning system. which consists of a long. Level 4: Corporate strategic planning becomes necessary as the company shifts from internal growth to external growth (e. the corporate centre only requests a reduced set of key performance indicators (KPIs). Divisions are responsible for strategic planning. but the corporate centre reserves the right to ensure that divisional strategic plans are sound and fit in with the corporate development.and a short-term integrated strategic planning process. e.

which is used for the necessary advanced forecasting. Corporate financial planning is associated with larger divisional enterprises. The results of the mapping are described below: Informal planning is characterized by a small enterprise size and the lack of a formal planning system. Corporate strategic management: This level needs a company-wide integrated framework for strategic planning on long. Operational planning is done in a decentralized way. companies use their existing financial consolidation application to aggregate planning data. They need more modelling up front. seven explorative case studies of corporate planning systems of large enterprises have been carried out (see also next section). and portfolio planning are still mainly realized outside of enterprise tools.and short-term levels. 35]. At the corporate level. long-term planning. and reconciliation of divisional planning data. This solution is also used for target communication. using spreadsheets and other desktop applications. and MS PowerPoint. As shown by the empirical groundwork. ERP solutions usually provide an integrated model especially designed for the operational planning of functional organizations. Even if there is a need for full strategy formulation support. the focus is normally only on tools for strategy visualization. Alternatively.g. the maturity model needs to differentiate between central and decentralized planning applications to reflect the corporate planning applications landscape properly. corporate planning is only supported by the use of spreadsheet solutions. 28. and portfolio cash-flow planning. financially planning applications providing and integrated planning model. The planning and forecasting of divisions and subdivisions is prepared in a decentralized way. SWOT analyses. this section allocates the identified BI applications to the maturity levels using an analytical and an empirical approach. Corporate operational planning is realized by using ERP solutions or financialoriented planning applications. e. the allocation is done by mapping the capabilities of the applications with the requirements of the maturity levels and by integrating results of the existing knowledge base [3. either using MS Excel or – in the case of larger divisions – by individual decentralized financial planning applications or ERP solutions. MS Word. but are recommended if operational planning is heavily oriented around financials. In order to refine the analytical results. Quantitative information.8 Support of maturity levels Outlined the maturity levels and their planning subsystems. there is usually a financial planning solution. Analytically. In order to avoid initial costs associated with dedicated planning solutions. This demands a solution which integrates the strength of financial planning applications and of . Divisions may use their own strategic planning application. data loading. managing strategic initiatives and BSC. aggregation. Strategic planning is done informally at the corporate level. Forecasts are usually prepared outside the dedicated planning applications using spreadsheet solutions. Corporate strategic planning adds a specific strategic planning solution to the applications used at the level of corporate financial planning. Therefore.

These group the sub-dimensions of corporate strategy. maturity models need to be tested and evaluated with regard to content completeness and accuracy. corporate planning. decentralized and central applications. forecasting. Strategic initiatives should be based on the same data model as financial planning. operational planning. the combined model can be considered to be comprehensive. Therefore. quantitative data should also be handled along the company hierarchies.9 strategic planning applications. as it addresses all relevant dimensions of corporate planning as identified by our literature research. We differentiate the dimensions of corporate (planning) contingencies. corporate structure. strategic planning. Fig. The following figure 1 provides an overview of the combined maturity model. and it also adds BI dimensions. it enhances them with regard to corporate characteristics (strategy and structure). we follow an analytical and empirical evaluation strategy [30]. BI Corporate planning Corporate contingencies . it should support the envisaged business and IT alignment. 4 Combined maturity model Test and evaluation As prescribed by the development process and also by the design science research [29]. As proposed by design science research. so that strategic planning and tracking of cross divisional initiatives become fully integrated with the organizational structure. Next to financial aggregation. Furthermore. Analytically. and BI.

it can be assumed that the combined maturity model measures corporate planning systems and corresponding BI of further companies as well. The interviewquestionnaire contained qualitative. Besides these aspects. the cases have been sent back for verification and completion of open questions.10 In order to confirm the maturity model empirically. the presented combined maturity model needs further testing. corporate planning. Due to model simplicity. the maturity model is also subject to further refinement and evaluation. we conducted qualitative case interviews with seven large European companies each lasting about 120 minutes. the . and usage of BI. Along with the development and the empirical testing of the assessment. Nevertheless. As maturity models are an established means for organizational assessment and planned organizational development. interview partners from corporate management accounting with responsibility for the BI systems were selected to capture the required holistic view on corporate planning and BI. e. 5. Fig. The next step of research will be the design of a corresponding assessment instrument. a questionnaire. as it will help to further refine the combined maturity model and increase the scientific rigor of the artefact.g. e. Conclusion and outlook Corporate planning is subject to change.g. Addressing a complex reality. As a result. In each case. we developed a combined maturity model integrating both domains. After a first interview session. 5 Case comparison The cases confirm the model. additional contextual factors. organizational structure. the used meta-model assumed a linear development of corporations and focused on only two contextual dimensions. from business and BI perspective as well. we have been able to identify the assumed maturity levels. as each case can be matched to one of the maturity levels. The derived model promises to support the aligned development of corporate planning and BI. open questions structured considering corporate strategy. In consequence. future research should be devoted to the contextual and BI aspects of the model. The characteristics of the examined cases are presented in Fig.

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