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Future Ready: How to Master Business Forecasting [Hardcover]

Steve Morlidge , Steve Player
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

27 Nov 2009
The recent crisis in the financial markets has exposed serious flaws in management methods. The failure to anticipate and deal with the consequences of the unfolding collapse has starkly illustrated what many leaders and managers in business have known for years; in most organizations, the process of forecasting is badly broken. For that reason, forecasting business performance tops the list of concerns for CFO′s across the globe. It is time to rethink the way businesses organize and run forecasting processes and how they use the insights that they provide to navigate through these turbulent times. This book synthesizes and structures findings from a range of disciplines and over 60 years of the authors combined practical experience. This is presented in the form of a set of simple strategies that any organization can use to master the process of forecasting. The key message of this book is that while no mortal can predict the future, you can take the steps to be ready for it. ’Good enough’ forecasts, wise preparation and the capability to take timely action, will help your organization to create its own future. Written in an engaging and thought provoking style, Future Ready leads the reader to answers to questions such as: What makes a good forecast? What period should a forecast cover? How frequently should it be updated? What information should it contain? What is the best way to produce a forecast? How can you avoid gaming and other forms of data manipulation? How should a forecast be used? How do you ensure that your forecast is reliable? How accurate does it need to be? How should you deal with risk and uncertainty What is the best way to organize a forecast process? Do you need multiple forecasts? What changes should be made to other performance management processes to facilitate good forecasting? Future Ready is an invaluable guide for practicing managers and a source of insight and inspiration to leaders looking for better ways of doing things and to students of the science and craft of management. Praise for Future Ready "Will make a difference to the way you think about forecasting going forward" — Howard Green, Group Controller Unilever PLC "Great analogies and stories are combined with rock solid theory in a language that even the most reading–averse manager will love from page one" — Bjarte Bogsnes, Vice President Performance Management Development at StatoilHydro "A timely addition to the growing research on management planning and  performance measurement." — Dr. Charles T. Horngren, Edmund G. Littlefield Professor of Accounting Emeritus Stanford University and author of many standard texts including Cost Accounting: A Managerial Emphasis , Introduction to Management Accounting , and Financial Accounting "In the area of Forecasting, it is the best book in the market." —Fritz Roemer. Leader of Enterprise Performance Executive Advisory Program, the Hackett Group

Frequently Bought Together

Future Ready: How to Master Business Forecasting + The Leader's Dilemma: How to Build an Empowered and Adaptive Organization without Losing Control + Beyond Performance Management: Why, When, and How to Use 40 Tools and Best Practices for Superior Business Performance
Price For All Three: 53.60

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 328 pages
  • Publisher: John Wiley & Sons; 1 edition (27 Nov 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470747056
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470747056
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 15 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 405,845 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

From the Author

If I were to write this book again, I would probably be a little braver in hammering home the main message of the book: that the world is fundamentally unpredictable, so we need to forecast, not in order to prophesy the future, but to anticipate likely outcomes so as better to prepare for them.

The reason for this is that somewhat to my surprise, we find ourselves swimming with a strong tide of opinion within the academic forecasting community. For instance, the International Journal of Forecasting devoted half of their December 2009 issue to the topic of `decision making and planning under low levels of predictability' (it was edited by respected academic Spyros Makridakis and Nassim Taleb of `Black Swan' fame). Our analysis and prescriptions are very much in line with theirs, but with a stronger focus on practical application within organisations. Readers can therefore be confident that what we have to offer is new but also well grounded.

In summary, I am happy with what we have produced; I certainly would have welcomed this book when I was working in business. I am also absolutely confident that it can be improved on, and would welcome feedback from readers, either through the public forum of Amazon readers reviews or private correspondence.

- Steve Morlidge

From the Inside Flap

Written in an engaging and thought provoking style, Future Ready leads the reader to answers to questions such as: What makes a good forecast? What period should a forecast cover? How frequently should it be updated? What information should it contain? What is the best way to produce a forecast? How can you avoid gaming and other forms of data manipulation? How should a forecast be used? How do you ensure that your forecast is reliable? How accurate does it need to be? How should you deal with risk and uncertainty What is the best way to organize a forecast process? Do you need multiple forecasts? What changes should be made to other performance management processes to facilitate good forecasting? Future Ready is an invaluable guide for practicing managers and a source of insight and inspiration to leaders looking for better ways of doing things and to students of the science and craft of management. It is also a source of insight and inspiration to leaders looking for better ways to improve results. "Future Ready is a very timely call to action, challenging readers to rethink the many myths and practical flaws which bedevil their current approaches to forecasting and presenting a clear and radical blueprint for future success." – Paul Baumann, Director of Finance and Investment, NHS London "Studies continue to reveal that CFO teams around the globe have significant gaps in their planning and forecasting capabilities, exacerbated and exposed by the global recession. This book is a solutions–oriented approach to filling that gap." – Jeffrey C. Thomson, President and CEO, Institute of Management Accountants "Provides a clear eyed analysis of an essential business process that many of us don′t understand either as well or as in as much detail as we should. Moves beyond theory to the mechanics of designing and implementing a genuinely useful forecasting system." – Liz Doherty, CFO Brambles Ltd

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Book For Your Boss! 7 May 2010
Format:Hardcover
This is a timely publication for the environment that we find ourselves in today. `Future Ready' presents a fresh approach to forecasting - it manages to pull off the trick of being thought provoking and very practical without having a single mathematical formula in it!

From a business point of view, there is something in this book for everyone - beginning with the visionary corporate "General" right down to the "Grunt" at the front line actually crunching the forecast numbers.

The logical structure of the chapters flows well from looking at `why' through important sections including purpose, time and risk, through to `how' and Morlidge and Player use helpful examples, tips and anecdotes which add to the clarity of his text. The sailing analogy, p.41, of adjusting course in response to the weather might be old (`borrowed' from Plato's The Republic) but it is still a great example!

The writing is objective throughout whilst retaining a style that is easy to follow. For me, the style, is similar Malcolm Gladwell in that he uses good, simple analogies to explain the major issues with forecasting. Those parts are great to read and easy to spot (you know this when you find yourself nodding in agreement) - particularly when dealing with the fear of habit over reason! Perhaps Gladwell's examples are more visual, and therefore easier to get across, but perhaps that is because the authors aim to help people improve rather than just tell a good story.

If there was ever a book to buy your boss in order to "re-educate" him/her with regard to forecasting techniques (particularly if they seem to suffer from "Shoot the Messenger Syndrome"), then this is for you.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Food for thought 30 Oct 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Very good. There are better places to get an overview of the practical techniques of forecasting, but this book encourages you to step back and think about why you are forecasting. I found that very helpful, and I ended up changing my approach slightly.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Future ready - well... 27 Oct 2010
By Mr Berg
Format:Hardcover
Interesting book, but where has the Beyond Budgeting movement learned to write? Hope & Fraser, Bogsnes and Morlidge & Player must have been drilled in bombastic writing. This is a pity, due to their very interesting topics.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Clarity of advice 26 Sep 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Excellent in showing the building blocks of good forecasting and budgeting processes in large or small organisations.

The authors cover with great clarity the rationale for forecasting, its challenges, definitions and offer useful advice in how to design the forecasting, target setting and budgeting processes of businesses and organisations in different sectors by providing actionable rules and tools.

Recommended for those looking to either re-design or improve their organisations' planning processes.

N.B. Some typos left unchecked but nothing major.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Business Forecasting Book Ever 14 May 2010
By Suzz - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
As someone who teaches the subject of forecasting, I have never seen a better book that describes how to integrate the design and capabilities of forecasting models with the actual practice of business management. This is both a conceptual work and valuable practical guidance. Readers are urged to think carefully about how forecasts will be used, and to design their models to avoid the numerous pitfalls and traps that the authors enumerate. Whether you are constructing your own forecast model, or using a commercial variety, this book will help to make your choices explicit concerning the level of detail needed, the right frequency, and coordinating realistic forecast horizons with your own industry's and organization's planning capabilities and needs. This book is a solid work from true experts.
Paul Fogel
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is fantastic 19 Dec 2011
By Philip Campbell - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Future Ready was a great read. Full of very specific information about how to turn financial forecasts into a tool that helps you run a better business. As a financial guy, it has always shocked me how many otherwise smart entrepreneurs and executives don't insist on having financial projections (down to the cash flow level) as part of their approach to managing and growing their business. Kind of like strapping a blindfold on when you get into your car to drive to the office in the morning - not a smart idea!

You will love the book. Tons of experience and wisdom in there to help you use forecasts wisely.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How to apply forecasting to existing businesses 25 Feb 2013
By Sandro Saitta - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
If you are working on forecasting, you may be interested by the book from Steve Morlidge and Steve Player: Future Ready - How to master business forecasting. Whereas "Dance with Chance" is more about the limitations of forecasting, the present book is about the way to apply forecasting to existing businesses.

Let's be clear from the very beginning on the fact that this book is not about the technical aspect of forecasting. You will neither learn about forecasting techniques, nor about evaluation criteria. However, you will learn critical factors to successfully integrate forecasting into your company: purpose, time, models, measurement, risks and process.

The book explains critical concepts such as the difference between prediction and forecasting. Authors go further by describing the Cassandra paradox: "a perfect prediction is perfectly useless". Future Ready is also full of forecasting examples and case studies.

Morlidge and Player put the emphasis on key issues of implementing forecasting in a company and one can see their experience in the domain. Authors provide a list of symptoms and issues with forecasting. For example, managers may believe too deeply in forecasting. To be noted an excellent and comprehensive glossary at the end of the book.

To conclude, Future Ready is a perfect complement to a more technical forecasting book. It will teach you what experience usually bring to you: how to avoid pitfalls. It is thus an inevitable resource for anyone implied in forecasting.
5.0 out of 5 stars Great insight into forecasting 22 Jan 2013
By Roman Hinka - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I like the systematic approch in the book. It covers organisational as well as technical issues of forecating. Furthermore, it is plainly written.
5.0 out of 5 stars Must Have for Futurologists! 31 Dec 2012
By Derek - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Great book, and a must read for anyone studying the future, or anyone dealing with strategic planning. It is a great read.
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