Scenario planning and what-if analysis

World-class scenario planning software for the changing world of finance

Be ready for what's next

Today’s constantly shifting business landscape requires more from finance teams than ever before—sharper analysis, actionable insights, and forward-looking strategy.

Workday Adaptive Planning enables FP&A, operational, and executive teams to orchestrate data-driven decisions that help companies respond effectively to changing market conditions.

In today’s society you don’t have the time to turn a big ship slowly. You have to do it efficiently and effectively, and that’s where we see analytics within Workday Adaptive Planning as a true driving force.

Kent Nate, CFO, Bonneville International

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Scenario planning for every industry

Business and market dynamics are moving faster than ever before, impacting organizations of all sizes and industries. Unfortunately, legacy planning solutions and manual spreadsheets aren’t robust or fast enough to help organizations move successfully through changing circumstances.

They’re simply too slow and too cumbersome.

On the other hand, a powerful platform that automates manual tasks and enables multidimensional scenario planning and what-if analyses gives decision-makers the data-driven insights they need to make the right decision when it counts.


How do real companies benefit from scenario planning?

  • A healthcare organization uses multidimensional, driver-based modeling capabilities to make lightning-fast course corrections while managing changes in patient volumes, an increase in government regulations, and a decline in insurance reimbursement.
  • A manufacturer with plants in 65 countries serving 3,000 customers with 10,000 active SKUs is now able to forecast in multiple currencies at the SKU level, by item, customer, sales representative, region, market segment, location, and more. Managers have the ability to generate profit and loss statements and identify variances from plan and track key measurements and business indicators.
  • A mobile gaming company with offices around the world handles multi-currency consolidation and reporting and delivers forecasts on a global scale. Self-service reporting capabilities help executives run their own scenarios and generate insights.

From CFOs to CEOs to finance and operational managers, forward-thinking teams turn to innovative planning tools to transform static models into actionable, flexible, and robust plans for any likely scenario.


Control plan versions without losing sleep

Spreadsheet-based scenario planning poses significant challenges, not the least of which is version-control confusion. When you spend too much time emailing templates to solicit input from stakeholders and then have to manually clean and aggregate the results, you have little time left to extract insights and guide company strategy.

A centralized and accessible data source that automates aggregation can save time, generate broader alignment behind a course of action, and unite the organization around strategic decisions based on that shared data. With Workday Adaptive Planning, toggling between versions is as simple as a few clicks.

Watch a demo of what-if scenarios in action.

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Include key drivers in your scenario plans

Driver-based models that incorporate a wide array of financial and operational metrics—from subscribers and average selling price to productivity and utilization—enable organizations to run the holistic what-if analyses necessary to support critical and timely decisions. Sensitivity analysis of these key drivers allows finance to test the impact of various what-if scenarios and explore multiple courses of action.

Additionally, models ought to be flexible enough to combine high-level, top-down growth and margin-based targets with detailed bottom-up personnel rosters and pipeline forecasts—enabling planners to reconcile gaps and identify opportunities.

Re-forecast quickly and easily

A dynamic business environment requires the ability to re-forecast easily. If you’re only forecasting your business once a year with a budgeting process that took you months to execute, your plan will be out of date by the time it’s approved. Staying on top of your business requires a continuous picture of company health. A rolling forecast gives you the tools you need to keep assumptions up to date.

Automating the actuals import shortens forecast cycles and helps you run faster what-if scenarios. With the capacity to re-forecast easily, you can save time and decrease gaps between your assumptions and actual market conditions.


Executing your scenarios

A changing marketplace calls for active, continuous planning and monitoring of results. The ability to quickly and easily assess potential outcomes (best case, worst case, most likely case) is extremely valuable when variables are constantly changing.

This means monitoring actuals continuously so you can keep an eye on organizational financial health. It also means keeping track of your leading key performance indicators (e.g., pipeline, customer LTV, attrition) so you can identify trends and patterns and recommend course corrections when needed.

You need easy-to-use, flexible, and robust reporting that captures all of the above, and does so on a continuous basis. Transform your reporting processes from a monthly rote exercise to a dynamic driver of organizational change.


Enable smarter collaboration

Involving and engaging the broader organization in scenario planning and what-if analyses is critical in two ways:

  • Operators and stakeholders possess the latest information you need to enrich your models. It needs to be easy for them to provide you that data and collaborate in your models.
  • You need to be able to share and communicate your analyses quickly and in a digestible way stakeholders can understand.

A collaborative process doesn't have to be difficult. And when you work together from the same dataset, you'll improve stakeholder alignment and get buy-in faster.


Workday Adaptive Planning scenario planning and what-if analysis capabilities give you powerful insights that help decision-makers respond quickly and effectively to business challenges and opportunities. Improve business agility and thrive in a changing environment.

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