Example 2 - Business Forecasting

Here is another example of a business process that Outlook can help you automate.

A typical problem is aggregating sales forecasts across an enterprise.

Old way: Forecasts are often generated by spreadsheets distributed to departments. The department spreadsheets are completed and returned. The forecast administrator loads the returned spreadsheets, and prints the results by individual departments. The results are reviewed for validity. Invalid department projections require that the forecast administrator now communicate back to the departments advising them of the invalid conditions and return them for modification. The confirmation process is not automatic with the result that it is time consuming and non-productive. The entity forecast administrator has to manually cut and paste or in some other way combine the data of all the submitted forecasts. Additionally, the process is error-prone, being dependent on process and validity checks made by telephone or other means.

New way: With the use of customized Outlook Forms the forecast administrator distributes department forecast templates by email. The departments input their data and return their results to the forecast administrator by email. The returned Outlook Forms are checked for validity, parsed and automatically stored in a database using a custom Com Add-In. Incorrect results are returned by Outlook email for modification. Accepted data are stored in a database such as Microsoft Access where reports are available in a variety of customized formats. The process is timely, efficient and productive. Error-prone communications between individuals are largely eliminated with the result that the forecast process can be easily automated for maximum benefit.

Example 1 - Course Enrollment
Example 2 - Business Forecasting