How Ancestry Discovers Hidden Forecasting Insights with IBM Cloud, Analytics

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November 8, 2018
Written by: Greg Adams

Ancestry has been helping people discover insights about their family histories and origins since 1983.

The company, which operates the world’s largest consumer DNA network, applies both engineering and technical innovations around records research and consumer genomic data to help millions of people unearth family information – information that’s often buried deep in hard-to-find, hard-to-access places.

The company’s ability to unlock hidden family insights has led to dramatic growth over the years. Today Ancestry has more than 10 million AncestryDNA customers and more than three million subscribers globally.

Earlier this year, the company was looking for better insights of its own. Specifically, it wanted a way to plan, report and forecast business performance with greater, faster, and more reliable results.

To do it, Ancestry turned to IBM and Data41, a software developer and integrator of financial planning and reporting systems. After a successful proof of concept, the company launched IBM Planning Analytics as a service on the IBM Cloud to analyze all financial data, from budgeting to labor costs, to the forecasting of subscriptions and revenue.

As Curtis Tripoli, Vice President, Financial Planning & Analysis, at Ancestry, said in our recent news announcement about the collaboration: “We have been growing rapidly around the world, so scale and performance were becoming an issue,” Tripoli said. “The IBM Planning Analytics is a comprehensive planning and forecasting solution that gives us not only great planning capabilities, but real and reliable forecasting models. The fact that we’re able to leverage this as a service on the IBM Cloud brings tremendous efficiency and the critical scale we were looking for.”

The software itself is a super-fast, in-memory database and analytics solution that automates planning, budgeting, forecasting and analysis processes, enabling finance and lines of business to coordinate planning and link key business drivers to financial performance indicators.

The software provides a wide range of functions, including, but not limited to the ability to create reliable plans, budgets and forecasts; perform in-depth, what-if scenario analysis to test assumptions and compare alternatives; and create self-service visualizations of data insights that are easy to share and easy to understand. The software is available as an installation for on-premises environments, or as-a-service via the IBM Cloud.

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