What is the importance of an organization’s functional areas to the strategic management process and why must the functional areas be integrated during the four phases of strategic management?

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A business's functional areas are the departments, teams or divisions (depending upon the company's management structure) that oversee and implement the major functional areas of business in a company. Most businesses share the major functional areas in common. Some functional areas are marketing, accounting, customer service, and human resources. There may be other functional areas such as, but not restricted to, international business and research and development.

Strategic management planning comprises the four (sometimes stated as five) steps involved in developing a strategic business or product plan. A strategic management plan relies upon research data to analyze the market and competitive environments for the business or product. This analysis is used to develop a strategic plan of approach for progress toward the company or product goal and objective. The plan developed is then implemented and launched in a community or larger market. The implementation is evaluated for strengths, weaknesses, successes and failures. After evaluation, the strategic management process starts all over again to incorporate observations into a revised strategic plan to be implemented and launched in its turn. 

It is easy to see that if any of the functional areas, for example accounting and marketing, are left out of the strategic management planning process and not integrated, then the efforts of the company are bound to fail because integral functions of running a business and of successfully introducing a company or a product into a community or a larger or more specialized market are bound to fail. For example, if the accounting functional area is not integrated into the strategic management plan, the cost of the plan may or may not be within the budget thus may or may not be possible.

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