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Success With Real-time Scenario Management

Blog: Jim Sinur

Complexity and uncertainty are becoming hurdles for organizations everywhere. The rate of increase for faster decisions and appropriate actions is accelerating. Look at what has happened recently in the banking sector. Withdrawals accelerated in a short period and greatly exceeded reserves in several situations. While this is still playing out, other sectors must apply the lessons we have learned. Keeping a real-time pulse on business targets and emerging patterns/trends is a crucial takeaway, but reevaluating the business contexts (aka scenarios) is also the key to success. Real-time dashboards and more proactive scenario management are important pairs to manage. Even though applied separately, they deliver benefits; combining them will become a key to long-term success.

Real-time Dashboards are data visualization tool that provides up-to-date status on goal attainment and out-of-bounds behaviors. These dashboards allow for easy understanding and digestion of current situations. They enable users to identify trends, patterns, or anomalies. Organizations often use real-time dashboards to monitor and track their operations, the effect of their tactics, and the shifting business contexts. Frequently financial performance is monitored in real-time, allowing businesses to make informed decisions and take immediate action when necessary. However, these results and tolerances are often tuned for expected or normal business contexts/scenarios, making them vulnerable if external conditions shift away from optimization. It is where scenario management needs to be in tune with the real-time world.

Scenario Management is a strategic planning and decision-making process that involves creating and evaluating different hypothetical situations or scenarios to be prepared for all scenarios. These scenarios are likely based on factors such as market trends, economic conditions, geopolitical activity, technological advancements, and other external and internal factors affecting an organization’s future performance. Scenario management aims to help organizations prepare for future events and develop contingency plans to mitigate risks or take advantage of opportunities. Organizations can make more informed decisions and actions in future challenging situations by exploring multiple scenarios. It typically involves a team of experts developing and evaluating strategies and their potential outcomes. Mature organizations update these scenarios regularly.

The Convergence of real-time dashboards and more frequent scenario management is becoming a trend and a desired competency in successful organizations. Not only can an organization’s operations keep a fine edge on their optimizations, but they can also sense emerging risks and opportunities and act on them timelier than in previous eras. For example, a financial institution can use real-time dashboards to monitor their stock price and combine it with scenario management to simulate market conditions and their impact on their stock prices. As a result, it can help the institution make informed investment decisions and hedge risks. Similarly, a manufacturing company can use real-time dashboards to monitor their production lines and combine them with scenario management to simulate different supply chain disruptions and their impact on production output and downstream customers. As a result, it can help the company develop contingency plans and adjust production schedules to minimize disruptions. Combining real-time dashboards with scenario planning can provide organizations with a comprehensive tool for monitoring m planning and decision-making.

Best Practices for Convergence would include the following:

· Define Your Objectives: Start by Defining your goals and objectives using real-time dashboards within expected and unexpected scenarios. What are the key metrics, KPIS, and tolerances you want to track?

· Identify Key Data Sources: Real-time dashboards rely on accurate and up-to-date data, so it’s essential to identify your data sources and ensure they are reliable and consistent. It may involve integrating data from multiple systems or platforms.

· Develop Scenarios: Work with your team to develop a range of scenarios based on various factors, such as market trends, economic conditions, and other external and internal factors that could impact your organization’s performance

· Test Your Scenarios: Use historical data to test your scenarios using various algorithm approaches to identify impacts on metrics and KPIs.

· Create Visualizations: Use visualization tools and algorithms to display KPIs and metrics. It should help evaluate the impact of different scenarios in real-time. Outliers should be practiced as well.

· Use Automation: Consider automating data updates and scenario testing processes to make adjustments as needed.

· Review and Adjust: Regularly review your real-time dashboards, scenarios, and potential outliers (black swans). It will help organizations stay on top of changing conditions. In addition, the frequency of adjustments should accelerate over time.

Net: Net:

The tried-and-true approach is “Make a Decision and Take Action; otherwise, You’ll Fail By Default” I’d add, “You Better Consider Many Contexts Bolstered by the Latest Data, Learnings, and Predictions” before your act. Not just “fire, ready, aim,” but “ready, aim, fire” The organizations that practice the convergence described above will survive, thrive, and capitalize in the shifting contexts.

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