Successful financial planning is a critical success factor for every organization. The Planners Lab (PL) is not restricted to financial planning, but this is a primary focus. Example applications include strategic planning, financial planning, capital budgeting, balanced scorecards, engineering project investment analysis, merger and acquisition analysis, and sales forecasting. Planners Lab models are written in an algebraic style in the user's native language.
The Planners Lab is software for building Decision Support Systems (DSS). DSS is defined in many different ways depending upon the speaker or author. We define DSS as tools, processes, and methods for rehearsing the future. This is a term coined by Dr. Peter Keen, the founder of the DSS movement.
In the early days of DSS there was a highly successful software product called the Interactive Financial Planning System (IFPS) from Execucom Systems Corporation in Austin, Texas. IFPS had a modeling language similar to that of the Planners Lab. During its era, IFPS was the dominant software package to support the teaching of Decision Support Systems (DSS) in over 250 Universities around the world. It was also the dominant DSS software product for corporate and government financial planning.
The basic components of the Planners Lab are (1) an easy to use algebraically-oriented model-building language and (2) easy to use state of the art options for visualizing model output and answers to what-if and goal-seek questions; that is, to analyze results of changes in assumptions. The combination of these components allows business managers and analysts to build, review and challenge the assumptions that underlie decision making scenarios.
The Planners Lab supports easy query of SQL data bases and Excel files containing historical data to automatically feed Planners Lab models. Such data can be useful as a starting point to simulate the future.