Do you feel like you don’t have the information you need to forecast where your business is going? Does your current reporting system leave you feeling frustrated because you can’t ‘see’ your data in a way that gives you the answers you need to make informed business decisions?
How you decide to do your forecasting can have a major impact on your business’ bottom line, so let’s take a look at what forecasting is, and how you can do it effectively.
Business forecasting is a method of predicting future business activities based on the data a business collects. It is used to determine future trends in a whole range of activities such as sales performance, finances, customer behaviour and supply chain management.
At a minimum, it should be done on a quarterly basis, and it's an important part of managing your business.
The wrong way to forecast
Many organisations start with a spreadsheet-based approach for their forecasting and budgeting predictions.
The trouble is though, software like Excel was never designed to be a primary business intelligence (BI) tool, and if you’re using it as a comprehensive solution, you’re probably one of those frustrated business owners who longs for a more dynamic platform.
In a spreadsheet-based environment, extracting data from different departments, consolidating it, and summarising it in a way that helps management make sound decisions is very time consuming and inefficient.
This kind of ad-hoc system also:
● Makes it hard to consolidate data
● Relies on IT departments to compile reports
● Allows for very little data discovery
● Is prone to errors
● And doesn’t scale well
The right way to forecast
A much better way to carry out forecasting and make data-driven decisions is to use modern platforms like Microsoft’s Cortana Intelligence Suite.
It’s a fully managed, cloud-based advanced analytics suite that lets you create solutions that deliver deeper insights and predictive results for data-driven decision making.
When you use tools such as the Cortana Intelligence Suite, you can process your data in a way that is fast, reliable and scalable. This allows you to make accurate plans, budgets and forecasts, which give you the information you need to operate your business more efficiently.
Making the change
If you still rely on Excel or other spreadsheet software to do your budgets and forecasts then it’s time to upgrade to a better, more dynamic system.
A modern advanced analytics solution can make the process of forecasting, managing and budgeting for your business easier and less time-consuming. Cloud-based systems like those offered by Microsoft have quickly become the standard for all areas of business finance.
They allow greater scalability, better security, more accurate predictions and are extremely cost-effective.
To find out more about how AgileBI can help you use Advanced Analytics to improve your business forecasting click here and to register your interest to attend our complimentary executive briefing sessions, click the button below.