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IBM adds AI-fueled forecasting to Planning Analytics platform

IBM added a new layer to its Planning Analytics portfolio Wednesday with the release of Planning Analytics On Demand. The new offering is intended for SMBs and enterprises seeking to migrate individual departments from manual budgeting and forecasting processes to an automated, AI-powered process.  

Many organizations, large and small, still rely on manual processes using spreadsheets for budgeting and forecasting, including demand planning, salary planning, merchandise planning and more. When performed manually, this process can take days or even weeks. Enterprise planning systems such as Planning Analytics On Demand promise to bring that time down to hours.  

IBM’s existing Planning Analytics powered by TM1 enables a collaborative planning process in which data is connected to a central hub, with workflow approvals and review.  

“Where we see Planning Analytics On Demand coming in is an extension to that,” says David Marmer, vice president of Offering Management for Planning Analytics at IBM. “While it’s become a mission-critical system for our clients, it can also sometimes be a barrier for new departments to onboard them or evaluate new use cases that they might want to go to because it’s managed by their systems team, who would then have to go through that process.”  

Among the AI-powered capabilities of the offering is the ability to ingest existing Excel spreadsheets used for planning and use them to build a collaborative model and generate dynamic dashboards.  

“The other area that we generally see with AI is the ability to identify variances in plans and things like that that may come from exogenous data,” Marmer says.  

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