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October 2018, Vol. 6, No. 5

What-if business planning simulation at its predictive best

"What if?" is perhaps one of the more critical and, in some ways, daring games IT, operations, logistics and business managers can play. Performing well as a company today is largely a product of reliably guessing what will happen tomorrow. Knowing the future is also useful in evaluating upgrades to existing processes and implementing new technologies to game out the practical results of those changes. And to play out all of these what-if scenarios, savvy managers now have powerful analytics tools and methodologies, including planning simulation in business, at their disposal to make the guessing less daring but just as critical. Forecasting is not nearly enough In many industries, the practice of envisioning what the world of tomorrow might look like has long been called forecasting -- projecting next year's numbers based on this year's real numbers with some new hypothetical factors mixed in. For example, "What can sales reach if we increase our marketing budget by n dollars? Or how much can we reduce inventory if we implement...

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