A strategic planning audit looks at what business goals an organisation is working towards across its entire structure. It is useful for businesses which require careful assessments – division by division and department by department – to work out how effectively strategies are working together, or not. Any organisation seeking a better stratagem for internal planning needs an audit to see where it currently is, at the most basic level. What needs to be included in a strategic planning audit?
The role of SWOT analysis
Many businesses make use of the SWOT analysis method, to identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to development. The idea behind auditing to improve strategic planning is to question whether what has been put together under a SWOT analysis remains the case or can be improved on.
Sometimes high-level planning decisions can be made on false working assumptions about a business. Only by auditing an entire organisation can you be sure that your analysis represents a true picture of where you are today. For example, you may have failed to identify a commercial threat from a competitor in your sector.
Equally, you might have overemphasised an operational strength because the situation has altered since you last studied it closely. Strategic planning audits are designed to stop such errors creeping into your analytic thinking and subsequent decision making.
What goes into strategic planning audits?
Along with SWOT analysis and the action points arising from it, there are plenty of other elements to a strategic planning audit:
- A mission statement: the set of guiding principles which a business sets out to follow to achieve success.
- SMART objectives: the sort of measurable instruments many organisations use to set and measure performance against agreed business goals.
- Competitor analysis: the sort of documentation that needs to be updated regularly in order to help organisations benchmark themselves against other operators in their field.
- Customer profiling: the type of analysis which allows you to make informed decisions about the way in which you bring products and services to your particular market sector.
- Your policy framework: an overview of the sort of procedural definitions that your organisation has in place to ensure good working practices are followed on a daily basis.
- Forecasting models: a predictive measure which allows your organisation to plan for future eventualities that may be beyond your control, such as demographic changes or industry-related downturns.
- Target areas: the geographical areas or sectors of the economy that you don't currently operate in but aspire to in order to grow your market share.
Once you have gathered all of these criteria together within your audit process, you are in a much better position to plan at a strategic level. The right software can greatly assist you to manage your data and make smart business decisions. To find out more about our Clearview Performance and Strategy Suite, click here.