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Setting Up the Forecast Definition

Forecasts in Oracle CRM On Demand automate the generation of sales forecasts according to the settings that you define. Forecasts are generated automatically on either a weekly or monthly basis. Each generated forecast is saved to the archive, providing a historical record that you can refer to and analyze.

Every forecast is a snapshot of information about revenue and potential revenue for the quarter. Forecasts enable sales professionals and managers to track their quarterly sales performance against planned quotas, actual closed revenue, and expected revenue, given the current status of their sales opportunities.

Participants in forecasts are chosen by role. Your company's reporting structure, and the roles you choose for the forecast participants must be set up so that the participants roll up to one top-level user. Typically this top-level user is a company vice-president or chief executive officer (CEO).

When you generate a forecast, Oracle CRM On Demand alerts employees that the forecast has been created and is ready for review by posting an alert on My Homepage for each participant for two days. To extend the period during which the alert appears, update the Expiration Date field for that alert. For information on alerts, see Publishing Company-Wide Alerts.

Determining the Forecast Type

Your company can base its forecasts on any of the following: opportunities, products, accounts, or contacts. There are four types of forecasts:

  • Opportunity product
  • Opportunity revenue
  • Account revenue
  • Contact revenue

Your company can generate multiple forecast types on the specified forecast dates set for forecast generation. When you select the forecast settings for your company, you determine which forecast types your entire company uses.

NOTE: Each forecast type requires sales employees to take certain actions. Make sure to communicate which types of forecast you will be using before your sales employees begin creating opportunity, account, and contact records.

Opportunity Product Forecasts

Opportunity product forecasts report on the products linked to an opportunity. The forecast numbers for the opportunity product forecasts are calculated from the Quantity, Revenue, and Expected Revenue fields on all products that are owned by a forecast participant and have revenue that is scheduled to be recognized during the forecast period. The revenue for a product can be reported at one time, or it can be reported during several periods.

Opportunity product forecasts require sales representatives to link products to their opportunity records. Sales representatives must also fill in the quantity, purchase price, and the start and close date to indicate which products they want to include in their forecasts.

To be included in the forecast, an opportunity product record must:

  • Have a close date during the forecast period
  • Be owned by a forecast participant

Some additional information must be provided for a record's values to contribute to your company's forecast revenue. For detailed information, see About Opportunities and Forecasts.

Set up an opportunity product forecast if your company wants to forecast one-time or recurring revenue that is based on products.

Opportunity Revenue Forecast

Opportunity revenue forecasts report on the revenue noted in the opportunity records. The forecast numbers are calculated from the Revenue and Expected Revenue fields on all opportunity records where the following conditions apply:

  • The opportunity has a close date during the forecast period
  • One of the following is true:
    • The opportunity is owned by a forecast participant
    • A forecast participant is a member of the opportunity team and has a share of the opportunity revenue that is greater than zero percent (that is, the value in the Split % field on the Opportunity Team page is greater than zero).

      NOTE: For revenue on an opportunity to be shared among team members, the Enable Opportunity Revenue Split check box must be selected on the company profile.

Opportunity revenue forecasts require sales representatives to fill in the opportunity Revenue and Close Date fields to indicate which opportunities they want to include in their forecasts. Any linked products are ignored in the forecast.

Some additional information must be provided for a record's values to contribute to your company's forecast revenue. For detailed information, see About Opportunities and Forecasts.

Set up an opportunity revenue forecast if you want to forecast total opportunity revenue, regardless of how much revenue comes from individual products.

Account and Contact Revenue Forecasts

Account revenue and contact revenue forecasts report on the revenue listed on revenue records that are linked to account or contact records. The forecast numbers are calculated from the Revenue and Expected Revenue fields for the records that meet the criteria for inclusion in the forecast. To be included in the forecast, an account or contact revenue record must meet the following conditions:

  • The record must be owned by a forecast participant.
  • The record must have a status of Open, Pending, or Closed.
  • The record must have the Forecast field selected.
  • The record cannot be linked to an opportunity.
  • The record must have revenue that is scheduled to be recognized during the forecast period.

The revenue for an account or contact can be reported at one time, or it can be set up to recur over time. Account revenue and contact revenue forecasts require users to link revenues to their account or contact records. Users must also update the Start/Close date, Status, and Forecast fields on the revenue record to indicate which products they want to include in their forecasts.

Some additional information must be provided for a record's values to contribute to your company's forecast revenue. For detailed information, see Tracking Revenue Based on Accounts, and Tracking Revenue Based on Contacts.

Set up an account or contact revenue forecast if your company wants to forecast one-time or recurring revenue.

Selecting Forecast Duration

You can configure forecasts to display revenue projections for up to four quarters. With the extended forecast capability, you can view a forecast for the current quarter, and for the following one, two, or three quarters.

By default, the forecast duration is set to one quarter (meaning only the current quarter is included in the forecast). When you change the duration setting to include multiple quarters, the forecast includes the current quarter as well as future quarters. For example, if you select a two-quarter forecast duration, the forecast includes the current quarter and the next quarter.

Designating Forecast Roles

As part of your forecast definition, you select which roles are to be included. When you add a role to the forecast definition, all users who are assigned that role are designated as forecast participants.

User Setup for Forecasts

The users that you intend to include in your company's forecasts must be set up correctly. Their user records must meet the following conditions:

  • The record must have a valid value in the Role field.
  • The record must have a valid value in the Reports To field or in the Reports To (Alias) field, depending on which of these fields appears on the page layout for the user record.
  • The status of the user must be set to Active unless you select the option to allow forecasts for inactive users.

CAUTION: If any of the users included in the forecast are set up incorrectly, the entire forecast will fail.

Examples of Reporting Structures and Roles for Forecasting

To generate forecasts you must set up your company's reporting structure correctly. The forecast hierarchy is based on the hierarchy specified in the Reports To or Reports To (Alias) field on the user records. All forecast participants, except for one top-level user, must report to another forecast participant, so that all individual forecasts roll up to one company-wide forecast. If there is more than one forecast participant who does not report to another forecast participant, or if any manager with forecast participants as direct reports has a status of Inactive, then the forecast will fail.

NOTE: If the forecast fails to generate because of a problem with the reporting structure, the primary contact (indicated on the company profile) receives an email notification from Customer Support. After the reporting structure has been corrected and the forecast has been updated, the forecast is automatically generated that night, even though it is not the usual forecast night.

The following table shows reporting structure and participant role combinations that work and don't work for forecast generation.

For This Reporting Structure

Forecasting Works or Fails

Because

OnDemand Linked Graphics Template

Works with this role combination:

  • Executive
  • Sales Manager
  • Field Sales Rep

Participants roll up to one top-level participant.

Fails with this role combination:

  • Sales Manager
  • Field Sales Rep

Participants do not roll up to one participant. They roll up to two sales managers.

Fails with this role combination:

  • Executive
  • Field Sales Rep

The field sales reps roll up to a sales manager who is not a participant.

OnDemand Linked Graphics Template

Works with this role combination:

  • Executive
  • Sales Manager
  • Field Sales Rep

Participants roll up to one participant.

OnDemand Linked Graphics Template

Fails with this role combination:

  • Executive
  • Sales Manager
  • Field Sales Rep

Two participants report to no one. Only one participant in the forecast (at the top of the structure) can report to no one.

Including Inactive Users in Forecasts

Forecasts can include inactive users as well as active users. When you set up your forecast definition, you indicate whether inactive users are to be included in the forecasts.

Allowing Managers to Submit Forecasts for their Direct Reports

When you set up your forecast definition, you indicate whether managers can automatically submit forecasts for their direct reports when they submit their forecasts.

Forecasts and Custom Fiscal Calendars

When using custom fiscal calendars, your company's custom fiscal calendar definition are used in the generation of forecasts and therefore the forecast period months align with the custom fiscal calendar months.

Your company administrator must create a custom fiscal calendar record for each year for which you want to create forecasts in Oracle CRM On Demand. If a sufficient number of fiscal calendars needed to support the selected forecast duration have not been created, it prevents the forecast series from generating and forecasts from being created.

NOTE: If the forecast fails to generate because of insufficient fiscal calendars, the primary contact (indicated on the company profile) receives an email notification from Customer Support. After the fiscal calendar records to support the forecast definition have been created, and the forecast definition has been updated, the forecast is automatically generated that night, even though it is not the usual forecast night.

About the Email Notifications for Forecast Failures

In the email notifications that are sent when forecasts fail, the From address is always donotreply@crmondemand.com and the Sender field is always set to support@crmondemand.com. Oracle CRM On Demand appends a string to each email so that the email can be tracked in the email delivery system at Oracle. If the email recipient attempts to respond to the email, then the address in the To field in the reply is automatically set to support@crmondemand.com.

The following procedure describes how to set up the forecast definition.

To set up the forecast definition

  1. In the upper right corner of any page, click the Admin global link.
  2. In the Business Process Management section, click the Data Rules & Assignment link.
  3. Under the Forecast Administration section, click Forecast Definition.
  4. On the Forecast Definition page, click Update.
  5. In Step 1, Select Forecast Types, select the Active check box for each forecast type that you want to generate.

    Your company can forecast sales revenue that is based on opportunity products, opportunity revenue, account revenue, and contact revenue.

  6. In Step 2, Select Forecast Frequency:
    1. In the Forecast Duration field, select the forecast duration.

      NOTE: The fiscal calendar settings selected for your company determine the duration of each quarter. The start date and end date of the forecast duration will be calculated according to the fiscal calendar start date and fiscal calendar type set on your company profile. For the fiscal calendar type of Custom Fiscal Calendar, the start and end dates are based upon the fiscal calendar as defined by your company administrator.

    2. In the Create Forecast Snapshot Each field, specify how frequently the forecast snapshot is to be created.

      You can select weekly or monthly or monthly forecasts.

      NOTE: If you select Month, the selected fiscal calendar type for your company determines the length of the month.

    3. In the Forecast Snapshot Day field, select the day of the month or the week that the forecast snapshot is to be created.

      Forecasts are generated at the start of the selected day (that is, at one minute past midnight) in the time zone of the hosting facility. If your forecast is monthly and the current month does not contain the day selected as the day for the forecast to be generated, Oracle CRM On Demand adjusts the snapshot to generate a forecast on the last day of the month. For example, if the Forecast Snapshot Day is set to the 30th, and the current month is February, Oracle CRM On Demand adjusts the forecast snapshot to generate the forecast on the 28th.

  7. In Step 3, Select Forecast Roles:
    1. Add the roles for those users who are to participate in the forecast to the Forecasting Roles area. Click the arrows to move company roles to the Forecast Roles list.
    2. To allow forecasts for inactive users, select the Allow Forecasts for Inactive Users check box.
    3. To allow a manager to submit forecasts automatically for their direct reports, select the Auto-submit forecasts for team upon manager submit check box.
  8. Click Finish.
  9. On the Forecast Definition page, verify the forecast details by reviewing the forecast snapshot frequency, the forecast snapshot day, next forecast series dates, and the list of forecast series participants.

CAUTION: After you set up your forecast definition, certain changes to user records or fiscal calendars require you to update your forecast definition settings. For more information, see Updating the Forecast Definition.


Published 5/4/2012 Copyright © 2005, 2012, Oracle. All rights reserved. Legal Notices.