BUSINESS PROJECT: Predictive Analytics in Corporate Planning
Predictive Analytics in Corporate Planning is a hot topic both for practitioners and academics. While some predict the demise of the financial controller as a result of increased automation and application of advanced analytical tools, the picture is far from clear once you start looking for use cases or best practices. While predictive analytics has made inroads in production, logistics and marketing departments, many finance departments are still watching from the benches. While better forecasting tools have always been of interest, implementing advanced automated procedures in their planning and forecasting process holds challenges on several levels.
Together with our project partner OMV, the leading Austrian oil and gas group, we will conduct a comparative study of firms from several industries. Crucial questions are, among others: Which KPIs do these firms use on group level and how are these predicted? Which type of forecasts (timing, period, organizational level, detailed vs. aggregate are implemented? What are the forecasts used for (adjust plans versus target setting)? How is forecast quality measured and how is the forecast improved? Which tools are used and how are they implemented (IT-departments vs. consultants vs. data scientists vs. controllers)?
Based on this comparison, we will derive recommendations for OMV. The project will be an ideal starting point for a Master or Bachelor Thesis in this field (possibly, in cooperation with our partner firm).
LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES FOR STUDENTS:
- Students interested in budgeting, forecasting and predictive analytics will be part of a research-focused consulting project and learn how to do a practically relevant research study. Students will get unique real world insights into firms' planning and forecasting processes and will have the opportunity to interview finance and accounting managers in large and successful Austrian firm.
- Students will be able to develop and train their team-working and leadership skills. According to the “IfU Business Project Approach“ which has been awarded the Austrian State Price for teaching (Ars Docendi) 2016, five Master Students will take the role of team leaders and lead small teams of Bachelor students. The experienced challenges of leadership will be discussed in class and all students (Bachelor and Master students) will have the opportunity to get invaluable „learning by doing“ leadership experience for their future career.