Yesterday I was keynote speaker at the University of Portland’s "Introduction 2 Venture" event. They had asked me to talk about entrepreneurship from a personal point of view, which I took to mean stories of Palo Alto Software, Borland International, business plan consulting, etc.
During the Q&A somebody asked me what I thought about the future of business planning and business plan software. Interesting question, one that I’ve lived with for many years.
The critical point here is that business planning process makes businesses better. I think the future of business planning is steadily less emphasis on the plan as document and more emphasis on the planning process as management. Business planning does get easier with every new version of Business Plan Pro (disclosure: my work, I’m biased) and what I see is that as it does, people do more of it. As I wrote earlier today in Invention is the Mother of Necessity, as software makes some tasks easier, we demand more of them.
As time goes on, more people are going to use planning as process to manage their businesses better. More will see the power of regular plan review, regular plan-vs.-actual analysis, regular milestones management, and using it all to manage teams and priorities. As this happens it will improve the quality of business planning software as well as of business planning. We’ll all start to look at built-in plan-vs.-actual analysis, regular plan reviews, and software that makes that happen.