Is there such a thing as “Business Planning” for Federal Organizations?

“Business Planning” isn’t a term you often hear used within the Federal sector.

And yet, a Business Planning approach, especially one that balances private sector best practices with the realities of Federal operations, is essential to helping Federal entities plan, budget, execute, and manage more effectively.

Business Planning is not a replacement for strategic planning, financial management, project management, or budgeting.

Instead, Business Planning links key aspects of strategy, operations, and budget together in a unique and powerful way.

The opportunity to apply Business Planning solutions in the Federal sector has been highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Federal entities must have methods and tools to rapidly answer questions such as:

  • How should operations be adjusted to respond to emerging priorities?
  • What is the best way to strategically apply funding from CARES?
  • How can you best plan to resume full operations?
  • How can Managers be empowered to efficiently track and project resources across funding sources?
  • What scenarios may need to be considered if FY21/FY22 operational budgets are flat or sharply reduced?

Even in more typical times, when Federal leaders are focused on a rhythm of planning and executing toward long-term goals, strategies, and priorities, a Business Planning approach can drive breakthroughs in performance and execution.

So, what is Business Planning?

This diagram illustrates constraints leaders must balance when planning.

Business Planning is a methodology through which strategic, operational, and budgetary elements are linked.  It works like this:

  1. Each year, leaders at the Office/Branch levels develop detailed operational proposals and budget requests.  These requests, which can also be thought of as draft Business Plans, are rolled-up to an executive view.
  2. Executives review and evaluate all draft Business Plans in the context of strategic priorities and budgetary constraints. 
  3. Executives approve elements of the Business Plans, to include specific initiatives, and allocate annual budgets back to the Office/Branches. 
  4. The result is an integrated Business Plan across the enterprise addressing operations and budget that can be tracked, monitored, and adjusted throughout the year.  

The Plan 4 Technology and Plan 4 Healthcare teams are experts at teaching Federal organizations how to adopt Business Planning methods. Our 4Cast solution is a SaaS tool already in use in the Federal sector with thousands of users.  It’s a modern Business Planning system that will impove planning, decision making, and financial performance while reducing manual effort.

4Cast can be rapidly deployed in Federal organizations to conduct detailed operational planning, to establish budget targets, and to track resource utilization at enterprise, regional, and unit levels.  When implemented in tandem with a true “Business Planning” methodology, 4Cast has the capability to transform Federal entities by instilling long-term strategic alignment, accountability, and financial stability.

Plan4 is trusted partner ready help Federal organizations sustain and thrive as they emerge from the COVID-19 crisis and look to the future. Contact us today at or Request a Demo to discuss how we can use Business Planning and 4Cast to transform your planning and results.

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