What-if analysis is a data analytical instrument used very often in business. The name of the concept gives a clue in how the tool is use in data analytics and decision making. Another name given to what-if analysis is sensitivity analysis and this name also hints at the concept’s practical application.
Your colleague, John, comes to you in a panic. He has just been asked by your manager to conduct a what-if analysis on the projected sales of a new widget product. The manager cautioned John, to take into consideration different price points for the widget, projected sales (low, average and high) the maximum number of widgets that can be manufactured in a period and fixed and variable cost. Being a good friend, you decide to help your colleague out. Write an email to John and thoroughly explain the concept of what-if analysis. Give several examples of how what-if analysis can aid in this business endeavor and decisions associated with it. Explain the benefits of using what-if analysis to analyze the data. Last, expand on how the Excel tools Goal Seek, data tables, Scenario Manager and Solver, tools associated with what-if analysis, can help John in his efforts. Recommend a course of action for John to take to conduct the what-if analysis.
In your responses to your classmates, offer suggestions to help them refine their advice. Or, you might discuss variations in your recommendations, how the analysis might differ based on the type of project or recommend a resource that John could use to learn more about this topic.
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