In order to gain a really good understanding of how well a marketing campaign or other activity is performing, it is necessary first to have formed an estimate of how it was expected to perform. In many direct to consumer businesses, this could mean building a forecast of daily sales – for other businesses, the timescales could be longer. Of course, individual daily sales will never be exactly the same as what was expected, but nevertheless, the cumulative total after a representative period will give the business a good idea of how the activity is performing. If the reality is markedly different from what was expected, then the business will have to take a view as to whether the difference is purely down to timing, or whether the final response will be better or worse than what was originally planned.
Compas can help organisations to decide between these two possibilities, and can make it easy for them to adjust their plans accordingly. Because Compas is a driver-based planning tool, if a change is made to any aspects of the plan, Compas does all the hard work of updating the projections of future orders, revenues, costs etc. and incorporating them into the overall company forecast.
Because the planned and actual data is stored in the same database, it is a simple task to merge actuals to date with planned data going forward, to provide a best view of the forecast at all times. The previous day’s sales data is processed overnight and automatically generates a revised view of possible future performance, for the organisation to accept, modify or reject as it chooses.
By contrast, if the plan has been built in a spreadsheet then not only is it unlikely to go down to the lowest level of detail, but also, comparing it with actual sales figures requires copying data from the sales reporting system into the spreadsheet, which is time-consuming, laborious and prone to error. Furthermore, any changes that are required to the various forecasts are likely to be difficult to make and even harder to share with all the departments that have an interest in knowing (such as Finance, Customer Service, Logistics etc.).