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What-if business planning simulation at its predictive best
This article is part of the Business Information issue of October 2018, Vol. 6, No. 5
"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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Features in this issue
From Tableau to Google, vendors increasingly incorporate augmented and automated analytics tools into their software to speed analytics work and open it up to more users.
They don't own the same depth of data science skills, but automated predictive analytics tools hatch a new breed of 'data scientists' who can produce actionable predictive models.
To ensure that advanced analytics applications are relevant to business operations, data scientists are collaborating with workers who are experts on business data.
News in this issue
The rise of augmented analytics empowers businesses to find correlations in data that might very well be the critical difference in operational efficiency and cost savings.
Columns in this issue
The University of California, San Diego implemented an SAP HANA platform that uses advanced analytics and machine learning to run operations and help students graduate on time.
Simulating timely and accurate business scenarios can be an essential competitive weapon for predicting the performance, pitfalls and benefits of strategic initiatives.