"Sales forecasting, medium-term business planning, budgeting and account profitability should not be separate exercises."
Prophecy enables all these in one, shared, system.
- Choose for yourself the variables in your database - as many or as few as you require. Each database can be configured with your company's sales periods and hierarchy levels for products and customers.
- Include budgets or forecasts with actuals.
- Use Diary notes to help remember why things happened, even two or more years after the event!
- Formulae are totally flexible. Not only can you change volume, price, customer support etc. to calculate profit, but you can also change profit and have the system (automatically, and in real time) recast the required volume or support (or any other profitability variable) needed to hit that profit target.
- Plan customer strategies down to any level your organisation requires
- Work at any level in the product and customer hierarchies that is convenient. If you change the forecast at any level of your product or customer hierarchy, Prophecy will apply the changes automatically both up and down the hierarchies saving you hours of manual effort.
- Goal-seeking functions save days of spreadsheet work at budget time. You can force the result of a bottom-up profit forecast to the required top-down profit requirement. Prophecy will recalculate all the products and customers in the system to make them add up to the new top-line figures.
- Concentrate on the added-value parts of forecasting. Prophecy automates database maintenance, reading of actuals and standard costs, adding new products and customers etc.. It's reporting / forecast update screens are immensely flexible, work in a similar way to Excel pivot tables and allow you to focus on just the data you need for the job in hand whilst also being able to zoom out or in for different views of the overall data. Read more about how Prophecy frees up time for the value-added aspects of forecasting here.
All the reporting and graphing feature you would expect!
- Easy-to-use Windows menus and dialog boxes allow you to freely create and customise as many different views of your data as you require. You decide exactly what you want to see and how you want to see it.
- You can save the reports you create for replay at any later time, refreshed of course with the latest data. Or 'publish' them to your network for other users to use or adapt.
Functionality not seen in comparable systems
- "Prophecy Advisor" is a built-in agent which analyses your forecasts while you're forecasting. It advises you automatically of possible risks it identifies compared to previous history, statistical forecasts and recent running rates. It also writes a summary report for you on the current forecast, showing risks, changes versus last forecast, change versus last year and budgets. The idea is to clarify and challenge your own interpretation and to save time communicating it.
- "Forecast Versions View" stores all the forecasts and diaries you create throughout the year. At any stage during forecasting you can pop up the "Versions View" to review or graph how your forecast has changed through time.
- Accuracy Analysis is available instantly and to all users. It can report on accuracy at any combination of product and customer detail and over any time horizon. With alternative systems this is usually done manually or in a spreadsheet because of the sheer number crunching involved. Regular analysis of accuracy is the only way you can identify forecasting mistakes and start learning from them.
- "Intelligent Backsolving" applies when you change any total. The system pro rates forecasts over all the dependent time periods, products and customers, and up and down the product and customer hierarchies. So you can 'force' a forecast or budget to a predefined total, allocate the sale of a product across selected customers, or across selected pack sizes of a brand.
- "Active Cells" means that absolutely every cell in a Prophecy report, including totals, percent comparisons and variances, can be freely changed. Prophecy takes care of recalculating all of the dependent cells transparently and in real time, based on the business rules contained in the database. (Of course, you can only change data to which you have been given security rights to change!)
Statistical Forecasting - three alternate approaches
- On Demand: Instantly generate a statistical forecast for the item at the current
cursor position in your report. Useful for 'sanity checking' the forecast.
You can copy the statistical forecast over to 'live' if required. Includes
an 'expert commentary' window which assess the statistical forecast for reliability.
- Forecast Wizard mode: Choose from approximately 40 different statistical variations on a cell by cell basis.
- Batch mode: Generate forecasts for hundreds of products and customers in one go, using a simple 8 step wizard.
- On Demand: Instantly generate a statistical forecast for the item at the current cursor position in your report. Useful for 'sanity checking' the forecast. You can copy the statistical forecast over to 'live' if required. Includes an 'expert commentary' window which assess the statistical forecast for reliability.
- Trend Indicator. Forecast graphics include a User-Defined Moving Average line which dynamically redraws as you change the forecasts.
Visual forecasting. Drag and drop the forecast graph
lines with your mouse to 'paint a forecast'. (N.b. These power-user features
can also be disabled by the database manager on a per-user basis!)
- Context sensitive diary. You can record what causes the peaks and troughs in sales, or your forecast rationales. Prophecy retains qualitative data that might otherwise be lost - the "why" as well as the "what". This is invaluable information to assist judgemental forecasting / management intervention.
- Better forecasts enhance profits in many ways : lower inventory levels, fewer stock shortages, less frequent line changes and overtime working, improved customer service levels and more economic purchasing. Improving short term forecasts will also enhance your own credibility throughout the organisation. After all, who will take seriously your long terms plans if you cannot accurately forecast next month's sales?
- And there are other, less tangible benefits through improving your forecasting accuracy. The feeling of 'control' it provides helps you focus more time and resource on strategic / medium to long term planning and less on short-termist, tactical activities.
- Forecasting methodologies typically fall somewhere along a spectrum from pure statistical 'black box' approaches to judgmental, 'finger in the wind' methods. Prophecy supports the entire spectrum, with special emphasis on the judgemental end. The rationale for this is explained elsewhere on this site. ( Especially here!)
Easy to use!
- Prophecy was written for business people. It is very easy to learn and use. Anyone who uses a spreadsheet can master Prophecy in a day.
- There is comprehensive context sensitive help available at the press of a key.
- If you are currently using spreadsheets to forecast or model volume sales and / or profitability by account, Prophecy will give you significant productivity benefits and analytical insights into your markets.
- Users of older forecasting or planning systems will find Prophecy's ease of use, speed and graphical approaches particularly attractive, and will find the focus of the functionality set offered hard to beat.
- Up to 15 levels of product and account hierarchy
- All descriptions of facts, periods, product levels etc. are user defined. As if the system had been written specially for you!
- There is no limit on the number of history years, forecast years, sales periods or saved forecasts per year.
- You can define variables using formulae (e.g. Volume x Price = Value) all the way through to Profit, if you need to. Each variable can be forecasted by the user, or recalculated transparently by the system, as the other facts change. This applies when working backwards from profit targets too.
Easy to implement and manage!
- Prophecy comes with comprehensive and user-friendly Database Management software to create and maintain your forecasting system. The Prophecy Database Manager has a comprehensive on-line help system and is supported by a 230 page reference guide.
- All Prophecy needs to load data is a very simple input file for actuals, budgets etc.. Everything else is managed by the Prophecy Database Manager. You can also read in product and customer hierarchies this way, or create them in the Database Manager.
- Within a single network,
all users 'hit' the same network
database. There is no need for distributed 'sub-cubes' for each forecaster,
and therefore no duplication of data or complex data distribution / re-consolidation
- Database management tasks can be encapsulated into Prophecy Scripts. Scripts can be launched either from the Prophecy Database Manager or by simply double-clicking on a Windows shortcut icon.
- Read more about how Prophecy addresses the
aspects of sales forecasting systems here.
- Prophecy was written from the ground upwards in Microsoft C++ to provide the fastest response times and quality of user interface. It runs on all Windows desktop and server platforms, fully supports multiple concurrent user access and stores its data either in SQL Server database tables or, for smaller databases, its own, proprietary database format.
Comprehensive security features
- Forecast data is highly sensitive. The Prophecy database manager controls whether a user can change, view but not change, or not even see specified variable, products or customers.
- Security can be assigned by individual financial variables : for example, change forecast, view actuals, not view profits. Security can be further defined on a Customer by Customer or Product by Product basis.
- The Prophecy database is updated and consolidated in real time. No manual consolidation is required, ever. Any number of users with relevant security can access the very latest data at any time.
The bottom line:
Prophecy elegantly supports sales teams and produces actionable results. It evolved from hands on, day-to-day sales forecasting and planning at major companies.
Get maximum value from your knowledge of the marketplace - with Prophecy!
Please contact Peter Boulton, our Managing Director, if you would like more information or to arrange a demonstration.
Speak to an expert now. Call :+44 (0)1494 785574
Telephone 01494 785574 (UK) to talk to a Prophecy expert now!