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February 6, 2024

Scenario Planning: Out With the Old and In with Machine Learning

Prompted by recent advancements in artificial intelligence, organizations across all industries are interested in machine learning to enhance current processes, eliminate manual inputs, and reduce redundancies.  

Forecasting and scenario planning, however, have been pioneers in utilizing AI to manage risks and streamline work by eliminating inefficiencies. 

Machine Learning, Scenario Planning, and Rolling Forecasts

In the realm of intelligent planning, organizations frequently inquire about transforming static planning into dynamic, rolling forecasts. This is unsurprising as companies aim to expand their financial planning and analysis (FP&A) planning practices to other business areas such as HR and sales. However, the challenge lies in updating and incorporating information from multiple departments. 

This is where Workday Adaptive Planning's machine learning capabilities can be leveraged to take intelligent planning to the entire organization by using historical data.

Machine learning helps you find a confident way to plan for every contingency by allowing organizations to: 

  • Replace static annual plans with rolling forecasts and constant budget updates 
  • Weigh different courses of action before deciding the best path 
  • Create in-depth what-if scenarios and models so you can see the impact of each decision  
  • Align your assumptions with current market conditions 
  • Use historical data to see where you have been and what the best course of action is for the future of your organization  
“In ML, practitioners talk about the “3 Vs” of data needed to drive positive outcomes: sufficient volume, velocity, and variety. Workday has all three.” - Sayan Chakraborty, Executive Vice President, Product and Technology at Workday  

Our Approach to Machine Learning for Forecasting 

Workday's approach to Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning sets them apart from other enterprise software companies globally. Workday Adaptive Planning focuses on delivering intelligent planning for a dynamic world driven by four core beliefs:

  1. Machine learning embedded within the platform
    It makes it possible for organizations to adapt capabilities without hiring a data scientist. A seamless approach to the overall platform makes it easier for users to leverage. 

  2. Machine learning that elevates strategic thinking
    Allows you to augment the forecast and make it more accurate and efficient. 

  3. Machine learning that empowers users
    More transparency, fewer manual tasks, and increased time back in the users' hands to do more value-added activities. 

  4. Responsible machine learning
    We care about a solution that promotes fairness and trust. This is what we call responsible machine learning. 

Intelligent Planning with Workday Adaptive Planning: How Does It Work?

Workday Adaptive Planning facilitates smarter forecasts using deep learning technology. Users can swiftly generate predictive time series-based forecasts by leveraging historical data and incorporating external factors. 

Once a baseline forecast is developed, the system takes the emotional quotient, or human factor, to begin the planning process by exception. Planning by exception versus rule reduces what is considered a cumbersome and time-consuming process. 

Why Use Machine Learning for Scenario Planning? 

In case you aren’t already convinced, when you take a step back from forecasting manually and move towards smarter forecasts, you gain: 

  • Enhanced insights which lead to better judgment and faster decisions.
  • Increased accuracy for identifying data errors and anomalies.
  • Speed in automating repetitive tasks, allowing stakeholders to focus on strategic work.
  • User-friendly integration of intelligent planning capabilities into the Workday Adaptive Planning platform, maintaining ease of use.

 The Bottom Line 

With platforms like Workday Adaptive Planning, organizations can unlock the full potential of their data. Envision a future where planning and analysis have no bounds, with a platform that automates time-consuming tasks, scales along with your business, and facilitates quick, informed decision-making. Anticipate a changing world, become a first mover, and adapt swiftly.

Want to delve deeper into machine learning, artificial intelligence, and the future of scenario planning? Register for our upcoming webinar to discover how automation can modernize your best practices.


 Editors Note: This post was originally published in May 2023 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

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