Based in the suburbs of Chicago, Forecast5 employs a business model that seeks to create strong internal and external partnerships with data analytic technology. English adds, “The thought leaders in local government are beginning to view analytics as a ‘team-sport’. So, many of the pressing issues in government finance are inter-connected. This creates a perfect situation to deliver collaborative platforms that allow an organization to generate plans and make decisions with holistic insight and communication.”
Forecast5 partners with leading professional development organizations in order to promote best practices and encourage collaborative exchange of ideas and datasets. Forecast5 developed its own professional social network, called 5Share, to allow government leaders to connect with each other in national, statewide, and regional affinity groups. The platform allows officials to efficiently communicate with each other, but it also creates a forum to exchange data leading to increased visibility and insight into financial benchmarks and trends. In addition to ‘meeting on-line,’ some of the groups meet in-person on a regular basis to brainstorm on new ways to use data.
Some of the data and information that is shared on the social network can be used within the company’s 5Sight business intelligence application. 5Sight is used by local governments for data discovery and decision support purposes and includes interactive data visualizations that highlight significant financial and output trends.
The thought leaders in local government are beginning to view analytics as a ‘team-sport’
Whether small groups of local governments collaborate with each other or a group of administrators collaborate within a single entity, analytics are producing impressive results. English remarks, “We have heard many stories from clients that have used 5Sight to generate five, six, even seven-figure savings. In addition to financial savings, they are also finding ways to increase their service levels.”
Local governments that seek to build and maintain a multi-year financial projection, use the 5Cast platform to build a base scenario and multiple ‘what-if’ projections. The powerful comparison engine in 5Cast allows government officials to collaborate internally and understand the potential financial ramifications of revenue and expense changes. The system produces interactive dashboards and graphical reports to help increase the level of understanding for both internal and external stakeholders.
A growing trend in government finance is public transparency. Forecast5 views this trend as another opportunity for local governments to collaborate, but in this case, with the public. “We believe that making data easier to access and understand is of critical importance for local governments. Our approach to this is to help our clients simplify the information and help them communicate in a story-board format.”
Looking forward, Forecast5 will continue to seek opportunities to develop products that assist local governments with strategic decision making and planning, with collaboration as an accelerator for progress.