Escaping the Budgeting Blues: Rolling Forecasts with IBM Planning Analytics

Escaping the Budgeting Blues Rolling Forecasts with IBM Planning Analytics

Written by Heather L. Cole, September 1st 2023

Budgeting – the word alone can send shivers down the spines of even the bravest financial warriors. It's like a necessary evil, a financial straitjacket that stifles our creative dreams of abundance. In this blog, we're diving into the reasons why budgeting can be a real buzzkill and exploring a financial superhero - rolling forecasts, here to save the day with a little help from IBM Planning Analytics!

The Scarcity Mindset of Budgeting

Picture this: traditional budgets are like the Grinches of the financial world, setting a "maximum spend" for departments and a "minimum earn" requirement, making us feel like we're always one step away from bankruptcy. While we need benchmarks, budgeting can sometimes feel like having a budget babysitter watching our every financial move.

(Reference: Annual Budgeting is for the Birds)

The Excel Nightmare

And oh, the horror of using Excel for budgeting! It's like trying to build a sandcastle in a windstorm. Here's the lowdown on why Excel can be a real party-pooper:

  1. Siloed Data: Excel budgeting often results in data islands, where different departments use their own spreadsheets, creating a maze of disconnected plans.
  2. Human Error: Fat-fingered numbers can easily sabotage our formulas, leading to financial fiascos that are harder to spot than Waldo in a crowd.
  3. Endless Changes: Executives have a knack for demanding last-minute changes. Updating Excel sheets with these tweaks is like trying to juggle flaming torches – it's bound to end in chaos.
  4. Lack of Agility:   Excel budgets are as flexible as a brick wall - they can't adapt to the ever-changing business landscape.

A Better Way: Rolling Forecasts

But fret not, for there's a shining knight in financial armor - rolling forecasts. But what's this magical solution all about?

What is a Rolling Forecast?  

Rolling forecasts are the agile acrobats of financial planning. They keep things fresh by continuously planning with a set number of periods. For example, if your forecast covers 12 months, as each month ends, another month magically appears, ensuring you're always peering 12 months into the future. Rolling forecasts can be like a box of chocolates - you can have 12, 18, 24, or even 36 months! (Rolling Forecast According to Gartner)

 Why Use Rolling Forecasts vs. Traditional Budgeting? 

The deal-breaker with rolling forecasts? They're nothing like traditional budgeting:

  1. No Countdown:   Traditional budgets create an annual countdown, making us feel like we're stuck in a financial time warp. Rolling forecasts are the cool kids - they're a living document, no more annual budget dread!
  2. Accuracy:   Traditional budgets often become relics before they're even finished. Rolling forecasts allow for quick fixes, preventing financial fiascos from piling up.
  3. Agility:   Rolling forecasts can adapt to the ever-changing business landscape, like a chameleon changing colors. Your outlook is continuously updated, giving you the power to make informed decisions faster.
  4. Driver-Based:   Rolling forecasts aren't stuck in the past; they use key business drivers like market share and customer satisfaction to improve forecasting accuracy.

IBM Planning Analytics: Your Financial Superhero

But here's the real game-changer - IBM Planning Analytics. It's like giving your financial planning a superpower boost! With IBM Planning Analytics:

  • Interconnected Components:   All the components of your plan are interconnected. No more scattered spreadsheets; it's like having a financial control center at your fingertips.
  • Dynamic Adaptability:   Easily change components to meet your dynamic business needs. Just as having the right gear is essential to finish an Ironman, having the right tool is crucial for a successful rolling forecast.

Challenges of Rolling Forecasts  

Rolling forecasts aren't without their hurdles. Some organizations resist change because they're stuck in the quarterly earnings rat race. And yes, transitioning to rolling forecasts can require a bit of a financial facelift.

Is Rolling Forecasting Right for Your Organization?  

Ask yourself:

  • Is your organization stuck in a time warp when change is needed?
  • Have budget targets been missed, and the reasons are shrouded in mystery?
  • Does your budgeting process feel like an episode of "Survivor," with siloed departments and unclear ownership?
  • Are budget discussions more about financial mysteries than business operations?
  • Does the annual budget process feel like a never-ending episode of "Groundhog Day"?

If you nodded along, rolling forecasts might be your financial superhero, and IBM Planning Analytics is your trusty sidekick.

Join Our Event on October 19th.

The Pain of Outgrowing Excel Midmarket CFOs Discover Relief with IBM Planning Analytics

Ready to learn more about the financial superhero known as rolling forecasts and how IBM Planning Analytics can help you conquer Excel's clutches? Join us for our event: "The Pain of Outgrowing Excel: Midmarket CFOs Discover Relief with IBM Planning Analytics."

Date: Thursday, October 19th, 2023
Time: 1:00 – 2:30 PM Eastern

In this event, we'll uncover the secrets of breaking free from Excel's grip and embracing a world of financial freedom with rolling forecasts and IBM Planning Analytics. Don't let Excel rain on your financial parade. Register now to secure your spot and set your financial plans free:


Budgeting may have its woes, but it's not all doom and gloom. Rolling forecasts are here to save the day, offering flexibility, agility, and the power to adapt to the ever-changing financial landscape. With IBM Planning Analytics by your side, you're not just escaping the budgeting blues; you're soaring to new financial heights! So, let's bid farewell to budgeting blues and welcome the future of finance with open arms – it's time to roll with the forecasts and let IBM Planning Analytics light your financial path!

For more insight on some of what we are discussing in our upcoming Webinar, check out another recent Lodestar blog - Unleashing Profits with Strategic Analytics: Introducing the PROFIT Framework.

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