As the marketplace for business planning software matures, it is being cleanly divided into two separate branches. The first addresses the needs of established companies that are looking to validate the performance of the company and gain insights into decisions for growth, acquisitions and business valuation. The second more directly meets the needs of entrepreneurs and small businesses that are seeking initial or additional funding, or otherwise need presentation pieces to demonstrate business performance.The tools for mature companies are now termed "business intelligence" or "corporate performance management" software, and the tools for small business go by the historical name of "business planning software." Both categories utilize historical data to make forward projections that are charted graphically for quick comprehension (often through a management "dashboard"), though business planning software contains more descriptive text.
Little has changed in planning software over the 25 years since it was first introduced. It generally is a compilation of sample plans and templates, financial statement generators, graphical charting capabilities, and a means to produce a final document and presentation.
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