Integration of a text mining approach in the strategic planning process of small and medium-sized enterprises

Publication Date14 May 2018
AuthorClaudia Vásquez Rojas,Eduardo Roldán Reyes,Fernando Aguirre y Hernández,Guillermo Cortés Robles
SubjectInformation & knowledge management,Information systems,Data management systems,Knowledge management,Knowledge sharing,Management science & operations,Supply chain management,Supply chain information systems,Logistics,Quality management/systems
Integration of a text mining
approach in the strategic planning
process of small and
medium-sized enterprises
Claudia Vásquez Rojas, Eduardo Roldán Reyes,
Fernando Aguirre y Hernández and Guillermo Cortés Robles
División de Estudios de Posgrado e Investigación,
TecNM/Instituto Tecnológico de Orizaba, Orizaba, Mexico
Purpose Strategic planning (SP) enables enterprises to plan management and operations activities
efficiently in the medium and large term. During its implementation, many processes and methods are
manually applied and may be time consuming. The purpose of this paper is to introduce an automatic method
to define strategic plans by using text mining (TM) algorithms within a generic SP model especially suited for
small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
Design/methodology/approach Textual feedbacks were collected through a SWOT matrix during the
implementation of a SP model in a company dedicated to the local distribution of food. A four-step TM
process (performing acquisition, pre-processing, processing, and validation tasks) is applied via a framework
developed under the cloud computer paradigm in order to determine the strategic plans.
Findings The use of categorization and clustering algorithms show that unstructured textual information
produced during the SP can be efficiently processed and capitalized. Collected evidence reveals the potential
to enhance the strategic plans creation with less effort and time, improving the relevance, and producing new
technological resources accessible to SMEs.
Originality/value An innovative framework especially suited for the SMEs based on the synergy
assumption of the coupling between TM and a generic SP model.
Keywords Strategic planning, Text mining, Text classification, Text clustering,
Small- and medium-sized enterprises, Food distribution
Paper type Research paper
1. Introduction
Business process management (BPM) is one of the major areas in the enterprise information
systems field, which has been mainly supported by the development of decision support
systems, and business intelligence (BI) (Turban et al., 2011). BPM aims to improve the
organization performance by applying a set of processes, methodologies, and strategies in
two main industrial areas: planning and operations. According to the BPMs philosophy, the
strategic planning (SP) must be one of the first steps toward the optimal performance of the
organizations. This process assists companies in converting strategies and objectives into
plans, by monitoring continuously its performance. Basically, the SP is a discipline where a
team of organization leaders shapes a future and plans some actions in order to reach it by
using the following methods:
the SWOT matrix (strategies, weakness, opportunities, and threads) which performs
a global diagnostic taking into account environmental factors: strengths/weakness
are focus in internal and, opportunities/threads toward external; and Industrial Management & Data
Vol. 118 No. 4, 2018
pp. 745-764
© Emerald PublishingLimited
DOI 10.1108/IMDS-01-2017-0029
Received 23 January 2017
Revised 16 May 2017
3 August 2017
11 September 2017
Accepted 28 September 2017
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:
This research work was supported by a faculty research grant from the Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y
Tecnología (Conacyt) of Mexico, and the Tecnológico Nacional de México (5392.14-P). The authors also
thank for supporting this work.
TM approach
in the SP
process of
the balanced scorecard (BSC) is a performance indicator scheme extensively used in
industry and business to monitor the organizational performance against the
planning goals.
During the process of the SP, two other general domain methods are used in order to
capitalize the explicit knowledge; both are manually applied:
The brainstorming technique, which is useful for managing the ideas generated
by a group of agents. It is generally applied to produce the elements of the
SWOT matrix.
The affinity diagram, which is useful to classify information into categories,
according to the nature of the elements or some other criteria. This method has
proved to be quite functional to classify the elements of the SWOT matrix in topics
related to the strategic areas of an organization. Subsequently, the strategic plans can
be formulated based on the resulting information.
At this point, it is important to underline the complexity of the SP process, which is
highly influenced by the nature of the information produced by the planning team.
Thus, SP must deal with a high volume of unstructured text-form information.
Additionally, an estimated 80 percent of total corporate information is represented in
textual data formats (Ur-Rahman and Harding, 2012). Nevertheless, there is a lack of
approaches to automatically process the SP information. Furthermore, while new
powerful and sophisticated tools for text processing and natural language processing
have been recently developed, many of the SP processes still manually applied (Gupta and
Lehal, 2009). Thus, we intend to contribute to the field of the SP with a new SP generic
model, particularly suited for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and the
incorporation of a text mining (TM) framework that allows to process the information
necessary to produce strategic plans. The implementation of TM methods may be applied
in order to automatize and reduce the information processing time during the generation
of strategic plans. The application of TM in a SP generic model presented in this paper is
an attempt to deal with this problem, which has been poorly addressed in the SP domain.
An application is developed under the cloud computing paradigm and integrated into a
generic model for the SP. The objective of the system is to support organizational leaders
when creating strategic plans.
The rest of the paper is structured as follows. Section 2 addresses the theoretical
backgrounds of a generic model for the SP, the TM process, and the related work. Section 3
highlights the general characteristics of the proposed system. In Section 4, an
implementation of the approach in a real industry case is described and it is discussed in
Section 5. Finally, the general conclusions are mentioned in Section 6.
2. Theoretical background
2.1 A generic model for the SP process in SMEs
In the literature, two main types of SP models can be distinguished: quantitative and
qualitative ones. The quantitative makes emphasis in describing SP models from a
mathematical point of view. Some of these includes optimization tasks solved with mixed
integer linear programming or genetic algorithms in different application domains such as
financial (Catalá et al., 2013), supply chain networks (Badri et al., 2013; Bashiri et al., 2012;
Subulan et al., 2014), or power sector planning (Yuan et al., 2014). In contrast, the qualitative
models are rather focused in describing managerial methodologies concerned with the
identification of strategic elements (i.e. vision, mission, objectives, and strategic plans) in
order to assist leaders to efficiently conduct their organizations. A recent literature review
on these SP models can be consulted in Hijji (2014). Although some of these models have a

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