Planning function of management at World.com is dependent on information and configuration of virtual resources. Because of the spans of time, distance, and authority, management cannot personally oversee all activities. For instance, it is impossible to evaluate personally the performance of call center operators spread over a widely diversified geographic area, management must rely on information from reports to evaluate the effectiveness of performance and determine whether adjustments are necessary. The necessity of achieving more efficient planning operations, making better management decisions, and developing more economical methods of distributing goods implies effective control. To be responsible for a variety of management activities, or to be given responsibility for a profit center, implies that the World.com manager must plan all the activities involved. But although planning implies integration, coordination, and direction of de- centralized activities through the systematic measurement, appraisal, and readjustment of performance, it does not mean centralization. World.com introduces very effective planning activities based on macro-and micro environmental analysis. For World.com planning is a multidimensional activity. It is diagnostic and prognostic. It examines past activities and proposes future improvements. It monitors present activities to assess a company's health. It must foresee future barriers and prepare to overcome them. Though realistic and concrete, planning must be concerned with hypothetical sales potentials and future goals. It deals with firm yardsticks and standards, yet requires flexibility. It has the responsibility of seeing that planning activities are carried out in accordance with adopted plans and programs, which in turn are changing. Planning is thus a learning situation in which the objective is to reach goals efficiently with a minimum of error. From knowledge gained through planning, management is better able to relate resources and programs to goals. Planning is intertwined with other functions of management including organizing, leading and control. Without a plan there is nothing to control, and without control, management plans probably cannot be realized. Inseparable components of management, both use many of the same tools, such as sales forecasts and budgets. The basis of effective planning is management intelligence, which is used to determine standards and assess position. Information on the past and future is available from accounting records, sales analyses, management research, sales forecasts, distribution, cost accounting, and simulation (Drucker, 2006).
World.com followed legal issues, ethics, and corporate social responsibility in its planning process. For example, information about the rate of turnover of inventory, the amounts and types of credit, the profitability of individual customers, and sales quotas and sales potentials, is protected against unauthorized access or abuse. Ethical principles involve equality of all customers and diversity policies applied to all processes and planning activities. Planning is complicated by the impact of external factors and the existence of multiple goals. Plans may be differentiated on the basis of their scope and importance. As with plans, for example, there are strategic, functional, and tactical planning. Strategic plans evaluate and adjust management objectives, directions, plans, and the total management. Functional plans relate to adjustments in the functional areas, such as sales management, that are also longer range and broad in scope. Tactical plans, more minor and immediate, adjust such matters as advertising schedules or package design. Social responsibility issues are fair treatment of community and true advertising messages developed by the company (Drucker, 2006).
The strategic planning at World.com is closely connected with its mission statement and objectives. The company based its planning on the following statement: “Worldcom's hallmark of quality has been recognized by our peers in the honors and awards they have bestowed on our partner-initiated programs around the world. But the most important reward is that our programs meet our client's goals” (world.com Home Page 2010). From a functional standpoint, the company refers to the tactical planning effort in terms of regulating such activities as advertising, relations development, and research. From a corporate standpoint, operational planning exists within the corporate system by bringing the management factors into balance with those of other functional areas, such as HR and finance. From an external standpoint, contingency planning refers to a corporation's adjustment to its changing external environment through factors in the PR. The very need for planning arises from the requirements of the operation to manage change effectively. The adjustment of corporate effort to meet the demands of the public, or the balancing of corporate resources with management potential, is the essence of control activity. Planning serves the end of redirecting and reshaping management effort in order to maximize a firm's impact and profitability. It is the area of corporate activity through which the resources and actions of a company make the most of changing management opportunities. It is also the means for overcoming deviations from objectives, goals, and standards, for resolving intersubsystem conflicts, and for achieving greater efficiency. A total planning system has two major components: a monitoring process and an adjustment process. Monitoring results from the generation of management intelligence and the use of criteria of management performance (Drucker, 2006). It is designed to search for symptoms that indicate that management operations must be directed, realigned, or rebuilt. Sometimes monitoring is performed through a management audit. Monitoring is conducted through the study of quotas, sales-perform- ance ratios, turnover ratios, investment and profit ratios, growth indicators, techniques of advertising measurement, and the evaluation of management personnel. It continuously gathers information about such aspects of management activity as costs, and the profitability of products, customers, and territories.