Why Your Business Needs Scenario Planning

The What, The How and Why Your Business Needs It

Let’s provide some context to scenario planning. There is no denying that we live in an ever-changing world. With new technologies emerging almost every day, the way businesses operate can be in a constant state of flux. And with the UK entering uncharted territory, there is a lot of uncertainty floating around at the moment.

Whenever you face high levels of uncertainty, you need to be creative as you navigate the waters. But you also need to be prepared and have an idea of how you would handle certain challenges before you find yourself in the middle of them. This is where something called scenario planning can be really helpful – and it can mean all the difference between success and failure in the future. But what is it, and does it have a place in your IT strategy?

What is Scenario Planning?

In the simplest terms, scenario planning is all about predicting the future. It’s a way of thinking that allows businesses to form an idea of what future scenarios they may face, how these would affect their objectives and brainstorm possible ways they would cope with these. It’s often a starting point for developing strategies for business growth, development and resilience. Scenario planning helps to ensure that your business will survive and thrive.

In an ideal world, scenario planning should be used to create a variety of different scenarios for different future landscapes, rather than focusing in on just one. You can then develop your strategies, products and services in a more flexible way, able to adapt to the ever-changing world. As part of the process, you will be able to make better decisions about what to do within the business, both now and when problems or changes occur. A business that engages in scenario planning knows what it needs. It is also aware of which decisions will work to its advantage. 

How Does it Work?

Essentially, scenario planning works by brainstorming lots of ideas. It’s an in-depth look at all the opportunities and threats associated with your business. Asking what could happen in the future? And then working out what the best response to these answers would look like. That’s the short version. The long version is that it’s an extensive planning process all businesses should go through as a way of future-proofing their operations, allowing them to be flexible and meet the challenges of a changing playing field as they come. It can be difficult to visualise, so here’s an example of how your business might want to approach scenario planning. Here are eight steps broken down into three phases:

Phase 1 – Analysis

  • Step 1: Brainstorm visions of the future
  • Step 2: Investigate trends, using relevant tools needed to monitor your chosen areas
  • Step 3: Choose the driving forces for those scenarios

Phase 2 – Development

  • Step 4: Make a scenario template
  • Step 5: Develop those scenarios
  • Step 6: Present the scenarios

Phase 3 – Reflection & Action

  • Step 7: Evaluate each scenario in detail
  • Step 8: Formulate and develop policy recommendations based on each scenario

Depending on the number of scenarios you’re planning for or how complicated they are, this process may take anything from a few hours to a couple of days. It may involve just one person, your entire team or external service providers to help create the strategies you need. We encourage you to consider multiple scenarios in your planning sessions, so you can create a comprehensive corporate strategy for all likely future scenarios.

Why is Scenario Planning an Important Part of IT Strategy?

Basically, because there are fewer things in the world that change faster than technology. And unlike other areas of business, you probably can’t afford to fall behind. Understanding what changes could be on the horizon, how the technology landscape is likely to change and what your business might need to invest in for the future is crucial. It’s a great way to ensure you always stay ahead of the competition. Not to mention, more profitable as a result.

It’s also somewhat built-in to what an IT strategy is. For example, backups and redundancy are both key elements of any good IT strategy – and these feature heavily in scenario planning. It’s about working out what scenarios could occur that might threaten your IT infrastructure. You can then put plans in place to deal with those threats should they happen.

And finally, scenario planning helps you to understand where you want your business to go, what you need to do to get there and what barriers you might face along the way. It essentially gives you a roadmap for your IT needs. It enables you to plan for upgrades, costs and downtime well in advance and keep your business running smoothly, no matter what happens.

At Indigo IT, we love scenario planning. We keep a keen eye on the technology space as a matter of course so we’re up to date on the latest trends, tools and developments. We can support you in creating accurate scenario plans. As well as assist you in developing the solutions that go alongside each scenario for your business.

If you would like to know more about our IT scenario planning service, all you need to do is get in touch with us today and book your free consultation.