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The role of data analytics in the Sales and Operational Planning

In the upcoming series of blogs, we will show how Data Analytics can improve the business processes. This will be demonstrated using a number of case studies. However, before going into case studies, we must agree on the definition of Data Analytics.

We like to define Data Analytics as a process of inspecting, cleansing, transforming, and modeling data with the goal of discovering useful information, suggesting conclusions, and supporting decision-making. Now that we have a mutual understanding of Data Analytics we can start looking at this week’s blog on the role of Data Analytics in Sales & Operational Planning (S&OP).


Data & Analytics in the S&OP

S&OP is a process where decision-making management regularly meets and reviews projections for demand, supply, and the resulting financial impact. In other words, S&OP is a decision-making process that makes certain that tactical plans in every business area are in line with the overall view of the company’s business plan. Especially in large companies with multiple business units and large data files, S&OP becomes crucial to ensure the scope, scale and speed of the business operations.

Our Data Analytics delivers the insight, reporting capability and drill-down analysis required for intelligent decision-making throughout the company in direct support of the S&OP process. The requirements are:

  • greater visibility of the demand and supply across the enterprise,
  • improved inventory management and planning,
  • increased accuracy in budget forecasting, and
  • enhanced product lifecycle management process.

And is established by the development of:

  • portals and dashboards,
  • report viewing and creation (both standard recurring reports and ad hoc reports) and
  • advanced data exploration.

In more detail: a dashboard should provide participants in the S&OP process with easy access to specific data and reports that need to be reviewed and evaluated. Typically, a Demand, Supply and KPI dashboard is requested in which we support the evaluation of specific S&OP metrics, such as forecast volatility, demand consumption, forecast accuracy, supply chain liabilities, inventory management and financial evaluations.


Custom tailored expressions provides additional benefits beyond traditional S&OP methodologies by giving even greater insights into data-driven decisions. We do this by linking multiple data tables showing the relationship between different business units, calculating weighted forecast accuracy and forecast bias targets, extensive filtering options and implementing different aggregation levels in the calculation of the KPIs. Furthermore, advanced functionality such as the ability to drill down on important data elements enables users to perform a more detailed analysis of key business drivers!

For more information about the role of data & analytics in the Sales and Operational Planning, feel free to contact Maarten Corver (, Data & Analytics Consultant at Devoteam Netherlands.