Forecasting is a critical topic for many companies these days. No big surprise: the volatility and the speed in the world requires organizations to stay agile. About four years ago, my team and I started working with several customers and thought-leaders (David Axson, Steve Morlidge) to collect best practices for forecasting in these turbulent times. The results of the countless hours of talking, brainstorming, analyzing and reading are captured in the IBM Cognos ‘Best Practices in Rolling Forecasts’ workshop. This workshop ended up being way more successful than any one of us would have ever imagined. I have personally delivered over 100 of these events in the past three years.
THE WORKSHOP FORMAT
Forecasting is a complex topic and we were able to collect a full library worth of experiences. But simplicity rules and we selected the most interesting aspects
to fill the agenda for a half-day workshop. That creates more focus and the attendees leave with just enough ideas to drive change in their organizations and without feeling overwhelmed. The overall focus is on the business process and not software. While we share a lot of best practices, the workshops are very interactive. We usually have extended and very fruitful discussions amongst the participants. Many attendees stay after the official event ends to continue their idea exchange. This is one of my favorite parts. There are always many things to learn.
BEST PRACTICES AND MORE
So, what do we cover? A lot! The focus is clearly on proven practices that were identified by our customers. But it is also important to look beyond those things. We therefore injected some thought-provoking ideas from our thought-leaders. And each workshop we run typically provides new ideas, stories and experiences that we leverage to enhance the materials. It would be too much detail to cover in this post but here are some of the things we discuss:
- Is a rolling forecast right for your organization?
- What’s the right time horizon? 90-day? Four quarter? Six quarter? Three year?
- How often should you update the forecast?
- How do you use a rolling forecast as an early alert of threats and opportunities?
- What is the role of scenarios?
- What role can driver-based modeling and tools play in the forecast process?
- How do you sell the need for a rolling forecast?
- What does the business case look like?
- How can you measure the efficiency and effectiveness of your process?
IT’S YOUR TURN NOW!
If you are considering to make changes to your forecasting processes or if you are working in the IT department supporting Finance, you should join one of these workshops. It is a great opportunity to meet other finance & IT professionals and to get solid ideas. Believe it or not, but we have had several customers attend multiple events. They simply liked the interaction with the other professionals so much and they felt that they got a lot of value out of each workshop. Check out my events page to find out about upcoming dates or simply drop me a note. Hope to see you soon!