In search of a single version of the truth

Finance functions have long pursued the often-elusive goal of finding a single version of the truth; as the future operating environment becomes more turbulent for businesses, this could become even more difficult to attain.

Using Planning Analytics to manage data could be the ideal solution to achieving this goal.

One source; multiple outcomes

Historical data is fact and is the starting point for scenario planning and, ultimately, company strategy.

Scenario planning employs past performance as the first indicator for predicting the future. The reality of that future will be fluid and is unlikely to follow historic trends, making a wide-ranging approach to scenario planning critical for the resulting strategy.

The strategic planning process will involve any number of uncertain variables and parameters and these influences will produce wide-ranging alternatives.

Comprehensive reports and fully-interactive dashboards help to focus thinking towards the most likely outcome(s) to filter into the strategic plan.


Using Planning Analytics shifts the balance of time spent from collecting and validating source data to creating value-added analysis in support of the business.

The parameters have shifted in terms of the data now used to make strategic decisions; whereas, previously, financial data was the sole focus, external factors such as drivers of sales and factors affecting margin are now taken into closer consideration.

For instance, scenario planning around contractor retention within the construction industry would require a combination of historic internal cost analysis and external information from contractor modelling to succeed. Planning Analytics provides the required multidimensional analysis to make this possible.

How, why, what?

Planning Analytics drives the how, why and what of the data set. Reports and dashboards show performance and allow multiple scenarios to be overlaid in order to predict likely outcomes.

Modelling company data is a key factor to successful analytics and requires robust design to enhance the end user experience within Workspace. In the context of a construction project, the interactive dashboard would enable analysis of the skilled labour required based on a range of day rates held in the core systems. Data visualisation shows a sliding cost analysis whilst accounting for additional factors which could impact on future margin. The user’s sector-specific knowledge can be factored in to allow for scenario planning using known depth of skills for available resource whilst accounting for additional costs that may accrue on top of the basic day rate.

Fast reaction

Assumptions change frequently and systems should be flexible enough to absorb that change and provide quick analysis to aid decision making and improve financial performance. Real-time forecasting is an integral element of Planning Analytics.

The elusive single truth may be a complex, shifting concept, but with Planning Analytics businesses have the best tool to help pin it down. To find out more, contact us.

Spitfire Analytics: 

We are a team of finance professionals who are experts in helping companies bring efficiency, speed and agility to their finance teams and planning processes.

As a team we have over 35 years of experience in licencing, designing, implementing and delivering systems to improve the planning, budgeting, forecasting and analysis processes.  We do this using IBM Planning Analytics (powered by TM1).

We currently offer a free health check of your planning system – regardless of the software you use.

Should you already have a project in mind, want to learn more about us and our services, or wish to arrange a health check; please contact us on 0161 464 3687 or email

Adam Whittick

I enjoy finding efficiencies in company processes and activities, both through implementing completely new systems and working on existing systems to increase efficiency and accuracy.


Spitfire have a depth of understanding not only in Cognos/TM1 technologies, but also in finance and accounting. It is this combination of expertise and their ability to get to the heart of business problems that has resulted in such confidence in their delivery and capabilities. The insight and value-add they have brought is evident.

- Peter Smith, Head of Solution Delivery, Edrington

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