Executive Briefings

An Introduction to Portfolio Planning

Most companies go through some form of portfolio planning, whether they use that term or not, says Eric Symon, principal with Digital Tempus. He defines it as a strategic effort to determine "what products you're going to sell to whom, and what businesses you're going to invest in." The model can help businesses to understand which products are growing in demand, and which need to be phased out.

A related concept, known as long-tail analysis, looks at all of the products that a given company is selling and categorizes them based on annual sales revenue. With such intelligence in hand, planners can decide which products to cut and which to keep. In the process, says Symon, companies can better understand and manage the complete lifecycles of their various product lines.

More companies are coming to realize the importance of integrating portfolio planning into their sales and operations planning (S&OP) processes. Typically, the exercise involves five distinct steps which track the process from initial portfolio planning all the way to achieving a complete understanding of how various factors affect the life of products. "In today's environment," Symon says, "growth is paramount. That makes portfolio planning very important."

Yet studies show that relatively few companies have done a good job of integrating portfolio planning with S&OP. Often companies limit their analyses to a single product attribute, such as revenue or volume. "Many others need to be considered," says Symon. Another shortcoming is the tendency of planners to be overly subjective. Digital Tempus encourages them "to make fact-based, data-driven decisions." In addition, Symon recommends, they need to avoid a "one-size-fits-all" approach to various customers, geographies and markets. "You need more of a precision approach," he says, "assessing the attributes that matter."

Successful analyses, Symon adds, are cross-functional in nature. Limiting the exercise to a single domain such as marketing "ignores the operational aspects and complexities of managing products in the portfolio."

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Keywords: Forecasting & Demand Planning, Business Intelligence & Analytics, Business Process Management, Collaboration & Integration, Customer Relationship Mgmt., Event Management, Product Lifecycle Management, SC Finance & Revenue Mgmt., SC Planning & Optimization, Supply Chain Visibility, Global Supply Chain Management, Supply Chain Analysis & Consulting, Quality & Metrics, Business Strategy Alignment, Long-Tail Analysis

A related concept, known as long-tail analysis, looks at all of the products that a given company is selling and categorizes them based on annual sales revenue. With such intelligence in hand, planners can decide which products to cut and which to keep. In the process, says Symon, companies can better understand and manage the complete lifecycles of their various product lines.

More companies are coming to realize the importance of integrating portfolio planning into their sales and operations planning (S&OP) processes. Typically, the exercise involves five distinct steps which track the process from initial portfolio planning all the way to achieving a complete understanding of how various factors affect the life of products. "In today's environment," Symon says, "growth is paramount. That makes portfolio planning very important."

Yet studies show that relatively few companies have done a good job of integrating portfolio planning with S&OP. Often companies limit their analyses to a single product attribute, such as revenue or volume. "Many others need to be considered," says Symon. Another shortcoming is the tendency of planners to be overly subjective. Digital Tempus encourages them "to make fact-based, data-driven decisions." In addition, Symon recommends, they need to avoid a "one-size-fits-all" approach to various customers, geographies and markets. "You need more of a precision approach," he says, "assessing the attributes that matter."

Successful analyses, Symon adds, are cross-functional in nature. Limiting the exercise to a single domain such as marketing "ignores the operational aspects and complexities of managing products in the portfolio."

To view video in its entirety, click here


Keywords: Forecasting & Demand Planning, Business Intelligence & Analytics, Business Process Management, Collaboration & Integration, Customer Relationship Mgmt., Event Management, Product Lifecycle Management, SC Finance & Revenue Mgmt., SC Planning & Optimization, Supply Chain Visibility, Global Supply Chain Management, Supply Chain Analysis & Consulting, Quality & Metrics, Business Strategy Alignment, Long-Tail Analysis