Stakeholders are individuals or groups who are affected by a project either directly or indirectly, as well as the ones with interests in a project and/or the ability of influencing its outcome in a positive or negative manner. For instance, stakeholders may include the locally affected individuals or communities and their informal and formal representatives, politicians, civil society organizations, various government authorities, academic community and religious leaders. The stake that each individual or group has in a business will vary. For example, some stakeholders may be directly affected by the impacts of the business. Others may be people who wish to provide their suggestions to the business. There are others who influence the business or project such as the political leaders and government regulators. Finally, there are other stakeholders who contribute positively to the business because of their stature or knowledge (International Finance Corporation).
Various business activities must be planned and strategic business planning is the roadmap for the things that needs to be done, when they need to be done and the people who are actually doing them. Stakeholders enhance simulation which involves the provision of functionality to support the integrated and operational business planning using multi-dimensional data structures. The functions include the creation of linear and dynamic business models, simulation and modeling of different scenarios and evaluation of these scenarios on the basis of risk management. Also, stakeholders analyze resource allocation, cross functional business planning and rolling forecasts as well as aligning these activities with the strategic targets of the business. Some stakeholders provide functionality for financial consolidation and value-based accounting such as assignments and allocations according to the set requirements (Read, Cedric, and Hans, 2003).
Some stakeholders are policymakers and supporters who promote innovation and technology development. They are normally involved in the commercialization process which is significant in business planning. Examples of the stakeholders who play this important role include academic institutions, government agencies and investors. Also, the stakeholders act as overseers who regulate guides and steers the process of business planning. These overseers also protect the interests of the people who are involved in the planning process. There are stakeholders who carry out research on various aspects that helps in business planning process. They include individuals and organizations whose research and inventions leads to development of processes, products, technologies and systems that boost the planning process. Any person or organization that is able to generate a concept for an innovation is included in this group of stake holders. In this case, these stakeholders are important because they enhance technology which is vital in the current world (Linking federal technology and the nation's public works infrastructure challenges: an executive report, 1995).
Various strategic decisions reflect the relative significance of stakeholders, expectations and impacts the decisions about application and supply various aspects. Normally, the final outcomes are improved by the engagement of stakeholders. For instance, the stakeholders’ open and collaborative processes have significant impacts on the final outcome, particularly in addressing problems on a local or regional scale, such as which projects will be pursued and how they will be monitored. Responsible leadership in a stakeholder society helps in creating social capital among the stakeholder which in turn leads into the more effective policy making loop as well as producing better governance. The engagement of stakeholders in governance during strategic planning improves access to information and creates an appropriate platform for future planning (Rami%u0301rez, 2010). For example, the significance of the roles of stakeholders was demonstrated when one citizen environmental group from Kentucky complained about the health hazards they claimed were being carried downstream from the processing facility of Global Chemical in Ashton. This complains influenced the finding of the solution to reducing the alleged hazards (Gopinath and Julie, 2010).
Stakeholders may have varying levels of responsibility, authority and participation. Their involvement can change over the course of the strategic business planning cycle. These stakeholders make their contributions to the efforts of having full responsibility for the business and its outcome. Similar to gatekeepers, stakeholders facilitates a business plan that they support and create barriers to programs that they do not support.