As a long term practitioner of Product Portfolio Management (PPM), I was really interested to analyse the principles of Integrated Business Planning and compare it to the practises which I was familiar with. In the first place I must declare that in my career rather than labelling practices and processes, the modus operandi was to extend existing ways of working to become more holistic and drive higher overall business value. When looking at Integrated Business Planning, or IBP, I quickly recognised business processes which I had been operating for in excess of a decade.
The same problem from two different ends
The origins of Product Portfolio Planning lie in the desire to transform company strategy into an executable roadmap to deliver the corporate goals. In simple terms, it is about understanding the market opportunity and making decisions which maximally utilise the company’s ability to develop and market products. On the other hand, IBP was born from the world of Sales and Operations Planning (S&OP) which originated with the goal of balancing product sales and product manufacturing delivering the mantra of ‘one set of numbers’ – in other words, delivering operational excellence.
The collision between these two process philosophies is therefore natural once each has developed excellence in its original field of application: product sales performance is key intelligence for Portfolio Management whilst driving change in the selection of products is a key extension for S&OP.
The term, “Integrated Business Planning”, was originally coined by the consultants Oliver Wright who have a foundation in advising on S&OP. The aim of IBP is the integration of more company functions than S&OP, of particular relevance finance and product development, into a single regular planning cycle. The result being very similar to the regular cycles advocated in the portfolio management context.
A personal reflection
At Nokia in 2007 we implemented an organisational change which was characterised as an ‘integrated company’, the aim of which was to bring sales and operations into the same planning and decision making processes as product development. In reality this change had already started to happen ten years previously as operational excellence had developed as well as more structured product line management. Working in an integrated way had already become a way of life with functional decision taking a supporting role to the over-arching process driven, cross functional structures.
So overall it does not matter if the change to integrate a company into a common decision-making, shared-goal oriented organisation comes from S&OP or the Product Portfolio management end. Fundamentally, it makes sense for a company to operate as a single team which was our goal at All about the Product when we created our “Portgenie” Product Portfolio Management process framework.
In the end, so what?
You might accuse me of some bias, but my strongly held opinion is that there is no greater opportunity for medium and large scale businesses, than to look at how to jointly maximise product making and marketing capabilities in relation to market opportunities. Thus, I am really interested to hear the experiences of others in utilising IBP or PPM based approaches to deliver this benefit.