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Tour of ForecastWorkbench Orders Analysis

ForecastWorkbench Orders Analysis helps users analyze the drivers of historical product demand.

  • With Orders Analysis Multi-View Reports Workflow, they can easily slice and dice (or pivot) while visualizing product sales trends, who is buying, product orders performance, and more.
  • The Orders Analysis Product Comparisons tool compares stats for products, product families, and product lines against each other. Users can also view the percent mix of products within their respective product families.
  • The Orders Analysis Quarter Tracking tool tracks orders against quarterly goals and compares normalized "trajectories" against those from previous quarters. You can better judge whether orders for the current fiscal quarter will meet target.

The sub applications within Orders Analysis are shown in the Orders Analysis menu on your subdomain's homepage, as shown here:




Orders Analysis Multi-View Reports Workflow

Orders Analysis Multi-View Report Workflow enables you to view your orders data along different dimensions or "slices." The workflow begins with your selection of the timerange for the analysis. The time selection form is followed by a main query selection form. Within the workflow, the main query can then be followed by up to two "drilldown" queries. Each drilldown successively adds the previous query to the new query. The user can go back to the first query or to any drilldown query any time during the workflow.


Example of Multi-View Reports Workflow


Let's use the ForecastWorkbench demo to show an example of the workflow. In this example the user chooses to analyze over the period from M10 FY2012 to M06 FY2016. 


After selecting the analysis timerange, the user is directed to the first or main query form. The user is asked to select the product lines he/she is interested in (the user can multi-select all product lines or just a single product line). In this example, the user selects all product lines: Servers, Software and Storage.


The choices available in the field "Field" depend on the orders transaction fields that are uploaded to ForecastWorkbench. The "Product" field is a mandatory upload field, and the user can add five additional fields that are optional. Within Demand Analytix, Products are mapped by the user into Product Families. In turn, Product Families are mapped within Product Lines. This allows the user to view reports at the Product, Product Family, and Product Line levels. In the demo, three optional fields have been uploaded: Customer, Customer_Type, and Region, adding more choices and greater analysis fidelity.



The fields that are available for the Stats selection include: Bookings, Order Quantity, Price, Price Percent Discount, Gross Margin, Percent Gross Margin, Distinct Count Per Period, and Bookings Divided by Distinct Count. Gross Margin and Percent Gross Margin are available only if product costs are loaded into ForecastWorkbench. 



The user selects All Product Lines (Servers, Software, and Storage) along with the Field "Product_Line" and Stat "Bookings." He/she then chooses to view the "stats per interval" (e.g. bookings per month), as opposed to viewing cumulative stats. After pressing Submit, he/she is redirected to a table showing the bookings for each product line in each period. Within the table, the Total bookings is shown during the entire time range (on the right hand side), as well as the Total  bookings for all product lines in each period along the bottom row.

The Print View enables the user to print the results shown in the table and download a CSV file.



The user can then easily plot the results. He/she has a choice between line, stacked area, and pie charts. In this example, the stacked area chart is chosen. The user observes that the Servers product line is growing fast, but overall bookings have leveled since the Storage product line has been declining.

Within the chart view, the user can download an image or pdf of the chart:



The user then returns to the first selection form to select the Field "Customers" and the Stat "Distinct Count Per Period Stat" to easily see the number of customers placing orders each month. The result shows that for all product lines combined, the number of customers per period increased dramatically during the first half of the report time range; however, the number leveled off and even declined in the last several periods. 



The user then takes advantage of Multi-Flow Reporting's ability to decompose customers into "new" customers and "repeat" customers. Multi-flow Reporting enables the user to automatically plot the breakdown as shown below. It can be seen that the number of new customers per month averaged around 6 during the first three quarters of FY 2015, but started declining steadily for some reason in the last quarter.




The good news, however, is that the average bookings per customer seems to still be increasing, offsetting the decline in customers per period. This is seen by going back to the first selection form and selecting "Customer" in the field "Field" and "Bookings Divided by Distinct Count Per Period" in the field "Stats" :



The user then wants to "drill-down" to the Servers product family level to get a next level of detail. In this example, the user proceeds to the Drill Down form. He/she selects the Servers product line, then "Product_Family" in the "Fields" field and "Bookings in the "Stat" field. 



The user presses Submit and gets redirected to the datatables view that shows Bookings for each of the product families within Servers:



The charts shows how remarkably fast the VSS server family is growing. The Thinserver family has been cannibalized by it; however, the large and growing demand for VSS more than offsets Thinserver's decline. The old Towerserver product family is on its last legs and needs to be discontinued soon.



The user next decides to go back to the drill-down selection to view Percent Gross Margin. He/she can instantly see a chart of the profitability performance of each of the product families within the Servers product line. VSS has the highest percent gross margin by far.:



The user then chooses to drill down even further. Using the Double Drill Down form, he/she chooses to drill-down on the VSS product family, which is the fastest and newest product family within the Servers product line. In this example, the user selects the Customer field and Distinct Count Per Period in the Stats field.



The VSS product family is red hot, and the number of customers ordering it in each period is growing fast since its introduction. It is making up for the decline in Storage product line customers.:



In addition, since the Region field is available, the user can drill-down on the VSS product family to see the bookings composition by Region:



The user then chooses to plot the results using a pie chart, which shows the breakdown per region in the last period (F2016-M06) of the timerange. The bookings for VSS seem to be well spread across the NA regions. However, NA Govt orders seem to be lagging.:





Orders Analysis Product Comparisons


By using the Orders Analysis Product Comparisons capability, the user can quick identify:

  • whether the order quantity or bookings of a product, product family, or product line "correlate" with that of a different product, product family, or product line.
  • the percentage "attach-rate" of products or product family versus a different product, product family, or product line
  • the percentage composition of products within their respective product family, or percentage composition of product families within their respective product line

The Product Comparisons flow begins with the selection of a "Primary Variable" and "Secondary Variable." The Secondary Variable's bookings or order quantity is reported as a percent of the Primary Variable.


In this example, using ForecastWorkbench's demo, the product line "Servers" is chosen as the Primary Variable and All Families within that product line are chosen as secondary variables. Note that the Secondary Variable has a multi-selection capability.



The calculation results in datatable that can be viewed in absolute order quantity (or bookings) or by percent of Secondary Variables versus Primary Variable. This next picture shows the Percent chart. It reflects the mix shift of bookings between the different product families within the Server product line over the past roughly three years. Note that the Towerserver family had its hey day in 2013, followed by Thinserver which peaked (as a percent of overall Servers bookings) in 2014. The VSS product family, which is the newest Servers product family, has quickly grown and cannibalized into Thinserver.


The user can also toggle into the absolute Bookings view to see a chart of Bookings. It is obvious from this chart that the VSS family has increased the demo company's overall Server revenues dramatically.



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Demand Analytix helps companies develop product, marketing, and sales strategies that drive and shape product demand to meet and exceed financial goals. We do this through our consulting practice, professional services, and Business Analytics applications, which include Third Party software and our ForecastWorkbenchTM SaaS (Software-as-a-Service).

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