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October 22, 2020 Release Special Announcement

Update to Forecast and Demand Plan Tab Structures

On Thursday, October 22nd, we are releasing a new demand planning page and tab structure. This change is necessary to better support a number of customer requests to improve the demand planning user experience and to introduce new analytic capabilities and charting.

The premise of DemandCaster demand planning is to support a flexible user experience to allow customers to build their own hierarchicies and then pivot the views in any combination of these hierarchical levels. The underlying schema to support this flexibility is the PCL - a unique combination of a product, customers, and location. This PCL entity tracks all the interrelated data against it such as sales history, history used for forecasting, open sales orders, forecasts, user defined demand, promotions, what-ifs, pricing, costing, and other elements. These varying data sets are spread across different data tables that are called, aggregated, and updated with each unique view created by users. This includes the vast array of calculations which in the demand plan views are not stored but rather calculated on demand with each refresh of the view. As you can imagine, the bigger the PCL count the longer it takes to generate the view. If a view contains multiple data entities from many different tables, the generation will take longer because multiple calls need to be made impacting the time it takes to aggregate and calculated the specific user specific view.

As a result of this and with the desire to add even more to the demand planning process, we made the necessary technical decision to reorganize the forecast and demand planning views where a unique page with a dedicated hierarchy will have 3 distinct tabs, to start, that are designed to support a typical planning workflow. 

Tab 1: Statistics Tab

The first tab will be the “Statistics” tab. The “Statistics” tab will contain all the metrics related to the specific node in addition to the context of its hierarchy. The statistics tab is designed to identify exceptions within each level of the hierarchy and its direct children. Users can use the statistics to identify where there are issues to allow further review and possible demand plan editing. With this change we will be introducing a new editing capability called stacked grids. This view will allow users to view up to 100 child nodes within a parent thereby allowing for easy demand plan editing. If the number of entities exceed 100, applying a filter may be applied to reduce the count.

Tab 2: Plan Tab

From the “Statistics” tab users can proceed to the “Plan” tab. The “Plan” tab is where users can view the details of the plan for a specific node. There is an enormous amount of data in this view since it pulls the history, forecast, user defined plan, in addition to other data entities. The objective here is to make it easy to view and update the plan. With this dedicated tab we will be able to introduce extended editing capabilities. For example, with this release we will introduce the concept of locking demand plan edits. Locking demand plan edits allows users to prevent an edit from being changed via an other related edit.

Tab 3: Waterfall Tab

The third tab will be the “Waterfall.” This tab will soon contain 12 months of statistical forecast plans, demand plans, and budget plans to facilitate a host of new demand plan and forecast analytics and charting. It currently contains the demand plan data and actual data. This is the area where we have the largest number of customer requests and is what precipitated this structural change.

In the coming months this change will make it easier to add the capability to apply filters within a page hierarchy so a user can view and edit a subset of data. For example, a filter can be added to the customer level to only view one or a few customers a sales person is responsible for. This will further increase the speed and responsiveness of the app by limiting the amount of data pushed to the browser. We will also be adding other editing capabilities that will make it even easier to update plans as required and will look to add customization within a tab.

Please note that this change will replace any custom tabs that you have created within a page. We do understand that this is an inconvenience but hope you understand the technical rationale behind this change. In the next few days we are open to answer any questions you have and we are happy to meet to discuss further. 

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