Stakeholders must receive the required information at the appropriate time, so everyone can make the best possible business decisions. To create a good forecast, alignment with stakeholders needs and related business processes is critical.
Understand the data needed to support your forecast. Does the data provide the necessary insight? Is the data robust enough to meet the forecasting objectives? There is often a tendency to over-complicate forecasts because businesses are dealing with very challenging diseases. This can affect the accuracy and credibility of the final forecast. Tip: Don’t over complicate the model make sure you have the appropriate data, or you will be relying on guesswork.
Data strongly influences the forecasting methodology we recommend. The more complex the methodology, the greater the need for data and the more data challenges will be encountered. Tip: It’s important to understand the data available before finalising the forecasting methodology.
Think about the communication surrounding a forecast. What needs to be communicated? Who requires communication? When do they require communication? Tip: Think about how you communicate the forecast. Communicate in a clear and transparent way. Ensure all the different stakeholders have the information they want when they need it. Ensure what is communicated is relevant to the decision being made.
Managing the Politics
Stakeholders will want a certain number to ensure the outcome they are looking for. For example, a senior manager needs to have a high forecast number to justify an investment. The clinical team want to move ahead with a product in development and this investment requires a certain rate of return to make it happen. Or, the sales team want to ensure their targets are readily achievable. Tip: Build transparency into the forecast, so the risk associated with an ambitious forecast is clear.