Scenario planning as a business methodology involves the evaluation of available scenarios with a final settle down on one specific option. In employing scenario planning, possible decision outcomes and their results are exploited through a simulated process. The organization then narrows down to one definite line of action that would probably occasion the occurrence of one scenario.
Microsoft Company performed a scenario planning tailored towards addressing the learning problem gap through application of Microsoft software. The first stage in the scenario planning case involved identification of uncertainties on the question. The question in this case was the manner in which learners could employ Microsoft applications for their learning necessities. Next, Microsoft Business Division consulted representatives at the office and windows department. The process entailed identification of extreme possibilities considering various uncertainties in the system. In the Microsoft case, uncertainties included continuous changes in technology. Finally, the case ended in implementation of the agreed solution which was derived from the possibilities.
Necessity for scenario planning
Scenario planning is an invaluable tool for prudent and effective management. Ordinarily, companies are motivated by the need to earn profits. In order to maximize on profits and minimize costs, it is advisable that companies undertake comprehensive scenario planning whereby the possible alternatives are considered in a detailed approach.
A case for scenario planning could be put forward in the context of related advantages it accrues. The fact that it brings out the opportunities for the firm and the mode of pursuit gives it a substantive justification. The firm can be able to exploit a litany of options and settle for what best secures the company interests.
Difference of scenario planning and strategic planning
Scenario planning differs from strategic planning. In the former, the firm examines a simulated set of possibilities. Usually, the intention is that the decision made is informed and in the best interests of the company. In addition, scenario planning evaluates possibilities and settles on one. However, for the latter, the objective is to position the company strategically in pursuit of a set objective. In that vein, the company dispenses with the need to consider possibilities. Rather, its decisions are made, not in appreciation of the expected outcomes, but in pursuit of an objective. Further, strategic planning does not narrow down into eliminating possible options. It involves one definite option that firm strategists consider essential for purposes of strategic positioning.
Difficulty in practising scenario planning by sequential oriented Westerners
Scenario planning does not conform to the sequence systems of occurrences. That is the plan does not necessarily outline a definite course of action to be pursued. However, sequential oriented Westerners are obsessed with sequences. They usually want to comply with definite set paths in the execution of policies and plans. The absence of sequence system creates problems for this class of persons. Consequently, they find practising scenario planning difficult.
Scenario planning is a perfect methodology that would enable companies to evaluate available alternatives complete with their expected returns. It is through that approach that the companies would make informed and comprehensive decisions in their own interests. The application should involve a comprehensive simulation of expected possibilities without bias on any specific course of action.
Chermack, T. (2011). Scenario Planning in Organizations: How to Create, Use, and Assess Scenarios. New York: Berrett-Koehler Publishers.
Griffin, R. W. (2012). Management. New York: Cengage Learning.
Kirsch, K. (2007). A Review of Scenario Planning Literature. New York: GRIN Verlag.
Rasmus, D. W. (2008, October 12). Scenario planning and the future of education. Retrieved October 22, 2012, from Microsoft: http://www.microsoft.com/education/highered/whitepapers/scenario/ScenarioPlanning.aspx
Williams, C. (2010). Management. New York: Cengage Learning.