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May 09, 2016
An all-inclusive strategic planning cycle
By: Cherie Oswald

Strategic planning for a company’s operating departments is usually a fairly straightforward activity. Their missions, goals, and strategies usually center on driving revenue and improving efficiencies. However, strategic planning for nonoperating departments such as information services, facilities, human resources, accounting, research, legal, and insurance can be challenging. These departments must both maintain their expertise and levels of professional services to the company and support the various operational strategies of the company as a whole.  

Consider any popular restaurant chain. Although the company’s product is making and serving food, the company’s success in selling and making that product depends on the locations and types of structures built to perform those services. The restaurants themselves are considered the operating portion of the company, yet the real estate and facilities departments are major partners in the nonoperating part of the company. If, for example, the restaurant and facilities planners neglected to properly afford egress at an important intersection, this could materially affect the restaurant’s success. As the restaurants address their future needs during their annual strategic planning cycle, so too must the nonoperating parts of the company so that they can provide strategic support to the operating units.  

As a manager of a nonoperating department, there are important considerations your department should address when deciding your strategic priorities. The first step is to determine the baseline future needs of your department. It is critical to recognize how your nonoperating department contributes to the company’s overall strategic success, as well as the success of the operating departments. In doing so, you will be able to plan for, request, and protect needed resources. It is also important to identify the strategic priorities of both the operating departments and your company so that you can determine the effect those priorities may have on your department. Often the effects of such strategies will be in conflict with the demands being placed on your department, and it will be up to you to balance the priorities of your department with those demands. By achieving a balance of priorities, you can enable not only your department’s success but the success of the strategic priorities for the operating departments and the company as a whole.  

Do you trust that your nonoperating department really knows how to approach strategic planning? Do the company’s nonoperating departments recognize their strategic role in the company? The Accenture Academy course Developing Strategic Priorities for Nonoperating Departments will demonstrate significant facts about how to improve the strategic planning of your nonoperating departments to the benefit of the entire company. It will also help you become knowledgeable about how to make strategic planning work for all departments in your company.

About Accenture Academy

Accenture Academy offers proven, cost-effective learning solutions for a more versatile workforce and a more agile organization. We provide a flexible learning approach that helps your people be more versatile and your entire organization be more agile in the marketplace. Curriculum includes Supply Chain Management, Finance, Procurement, Analytics, Leadership & Management and Specialty Skills.

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