Dynamic Forecast Tool

This project was initiated by the group controlling department to harmonize and improve the process of sales budgeting and forecasting among the local organizations. They wanted to change from a yearly to a rolling forecast, merge four forecast types (operating forecast, “best forecast”, budget and business plan) into one application.

Features of around ten legacy country-specific planning solutions – all having different levels (characteristics) of data entry – and two other forecast tools needed to be covered by one single new tool, which is flexible and dynamic enough so that it satisfies the needs of all countries.

Having the system on HANA made it possible to use the SAP Planning Application Kit and implement planning functions in-memory using SQL-Script. I have implemented a framework of base classes to simplify development and debugging of new planning function types and got my colleagues up to speed quickly for SQL-Script development this way.

The frontend is based on Analysis for Office, which I have extended by a custom Excel Add-In programmed in VSTO .NET to provide a seamless user interface integration directly into the Office menu ribbon, and convenient parameter dialogs for the planning functions. The add-in automatically checks for updates to simplify roll-out of new features.

The tool has been constantly enhanced, and today provides about 30 planning functions automating sophisticated calculations like seasonal distribution of a yearly forecast to the months, calculation of the roof tile accessory forecast, or semi-automated consolidation of intercompany sales quantities and automatic calculation of intercompany prices.