The Sales Forecasting solution employs visual analytics best practices to display and share sales forecasting outputs.
Adopting visual analytics best practices, ensures that the best visualisation is chosen to answer a specific question, whilst the interactivity of the solution encourages users to have a “conversation” with the data, gaining both high-level knowledge and in-depth insights .
The simplicity in the visuals conveys information quickly and efficiently, and through the use of row-level security, users will only browse the data they are allowed to see.
The Business Challenge
Research consistently shows that successful companies are leveraging Machine Learning to to minimise the uncertainty inherent to business planning. In fact, according to the recent State of Sales report published by Salesforce, high-performing sales teams are 4.1X more likely to use AI and machine learning applications than their peers.
However, many companies are still struggling with complex rule-based forecasting carried out on unwieldy Excel workbooks , which is slow, error-prone and unreliable. The time has come to move away from traditional Excel forecasting tools and begin realising the significant business value which can be successfully achieved, through the application of machine learning.
How many staff should I hire? How much stock should be ordered? How much revenue can be expected next month? All these questions show how central sales forecasting is to business planning. Without proper sales forecasting, many business decisions are based on unreliable estimates or instinct – which leads to many inefficiencies and missed opportunities.
Using the Sales Forecasting solution to create an accurate sales forecast can generate value in the following business areas/tasks, including:
- Staffing decisions: avoiding understaffing and overstaffing
- Cash-flow management: financial planning decisions based on data-driven estimates
- Inventory control: reducing shortages and waste
- Marketing opportunities: informing promotional campaigns, pricing, and product mix
Using this solution also solves the traditional Excel based forecasting:
- Single source of truth: the prediction algorithm is run centrally and written to database. This way, there is a single, reliable forecast for the entire business.
- Auditable and secure process: Any failure or error is much easier to spot and correct in a centrally managed solution. Within a cloud-based architecture, role-based access control (RBAC) security can be applied. This way, business users will only have access to the resources they are entitled to interact with (i.e. model development, cloud-environment administration, prediction visualisations)
- Unified and interactive reporting: Using automated reporting tools such as Power BI, opens a new world of possibilities. Using Power BI, predictions can be distributed to business users in automatically refreshed dashboards. These reports can include both high level indicators and detailed breakdowns to best inform day-to-day business decisions.