Custom Version Best Practices: Sales Forecasting and Planning Models
I'd love to hear how you've successfully implemented custom versions in your organization. Please share your experiences or any resources you know of that outline best practices!
I've seen two common approaches in the models I've worked in:
Most common: Custom versions are a dimension in nearly every module. Most of the work is done in the forecast version then the data is bulk-copied into other versions as needed.
Example: the FY24 plan is in the "forecast" version until it is finalized and FY23 actualizes, then it is bulk copied into the "plan" version.
Less common (my preference): Most modules don't have versions as a dimension. New versions are created using a custom snapshot of all the relevant inputs/outputs. Only reporting and scenario analysis modules have versions as a dimension.
One thing I've struggled with, regardless of the way custom versions are implemented, is sending data to other models. Using the example above, as of Dec-23 our planning models have the FY24 plan in the "forecast" version but the FY23 plan in the "plan" version. This is problematic because other models are expecting to receive all of this data in the "plan" version. There are plenty of ways to create workarounds for this, but I'd love to figure out a custom version architecture/workflow that doesn't require this type of workaround. Does anyone have any clever ways to address this type of issue?