One of the more vexing things to contend with in a business model is “version maintenance.” How many plan versions should we keep? How can we codify certain drivers that result in various premises? What if we want to compare one scenario against another…or numerous others? Spreadsheets are always the go-to for this type of work…but there are not enough tabs (not to mention formulas to keep track of) to accommodate all the permutations we imagine for our business modelling.
This is where OLAP technology can be especially helpful: we can demonstrate to ourselves how various scenarios generate different versions, all rooted in distinct assumptions. We can even consolidate all these assumptions into a single workbook, allowing us to work with these assumptions where the numbers exist or where actual calculations occur.
Recently, we’ve added a touch of fun concerning “version maintenance” as a business idea by intertwining it with—of all things!—Rugby World Cup data.
Now, in the context of the Rugby World Cup—which event is up quickly—the notion of version maintenance may seem unconventional, yet we believe that it proves quite insightful.
What we have done is create a Rugby World Cup model with an array of versions, predicting diverse outcomes for matches at different stages of the event. Some versions were established using technical assumptions, while others were born from people’s opinions.
We have ended up with a collection of 17+ distinct versions, each carrying its own set of assumptions. If I take a glance at the actual results, selecting any of these versions provides not only the winners of each game leading to the final but also the linked assumptions, directly tying the data to the predictions. This synthesis of technology and data can be incredibly advantageous when applied to business scenarios.
This technology’s ease and effectiveness are worth showcasing: By filling in a named assumption (for example, “Southern Hemisphere Winners”), we can automatically populate a central (OLAP) database; as a consequence, the updated assumption will appear dynamically on the reporting side as well. This data interaction, coupled with a (OLAP) formula, allows us to display this information wherever needed, side by side with the corresponding numbers. Furthermore, these calculations can work both ways—a change in one place reflecting instantly elsewhere, facilitating a powerful tool for the business (in this case, world cup winner predictions!).
A video that illustrates these concepts is available for your viewing. We will make available multiple videos, each delving into different versions and the variations they encompass. So, if you’re intrigued by the art of predicting Rugby World Cup outcomes—and how to create and maintain version outcomes for business purposes—we invite you to stay tuned!