Michael English, CEOA typical day for a local government CFO is prone to chaos, filled with a flurry of activities spanning across a wide spectrum of financial and operational activities. Analyzing the budget, managing service programs, improving community engagement, and developing strategic plans can all be a part of a day’s work. Forecast5 Analytics, Inc. is a Chicago-area firm that has developed a suite of cutting-edge applications to assist with financial, operational, and strategic decisions for the government sector.
Built specifically for schools, municipalities, and counties, the company’s software renders end-to-end data analytics to enable government organizations to leverage data easier and faster. The company’s SaaS solutions connect local government leaders to the data and information that can be used to generate insights or support decisions. “Our software is really making a difference for communities around the country as it helps local governments gain effective resource consumption, operational efficiency, and enhanced ROI,” says Michael English, CEO of Forecast5. He adds, “We are trying to build tools that not only find the opportunities, but allow public administrators to effectively tell the story. We like to think of it as a combination of the Wall Street Journal and the USA Today—software that produces granular numeric detail with compelling infographics.”
The name of the company, and the suite of tools, have been built around the central premise of producing meaningful and accurate financial forecasts. Local governments are using the tools to increase organizational performance, demonstrate fiscal stewardship, and communicate their plans for the future.
5Cast is the company’s multi-year budgeting and forecasting platform. While many local government accounting systems are adequate for recording financial transactions and producing basic reports, 5Cast can be attached to these legacy systems to provide many sophisticated analytical and reporting features. In addition to developing a comprehensive multi-year forecast, the application allows clients to develop an unlimited number of “what-if ” scenarios and quickly assess financial outcomes.
We are trying to enhance local government decisionmaking with data analytics
Forecast5 also serves the space of “Analytics-as-a-Service (AaaS)” through its 5Sight business intelligence platform that leverages massive amounts of public data to deliver relevant insights directly into clients’ in-boxes. While there are many self-service features within 5Sight, the Forecast5 team helps its clients find the ‘low-hanging’ fruit within their operations. Clients have attained significant savings on their compensation agreements, transportation programs, health insurance, and other big-ticket expenses.
The company has also developed 5Maps, a geo-spatial analytic tool that allows clients to use Google Maps to generate statistical summaries and dashboards with a geographic perspective of the data. The final product in the company’s collection is 5Share, a professional business network that connects public administrators and allows them to exchange data, some of which, Forecast5 turns into new analytics within the 5Sight platform.
Moving ahead, the company will continue on its journey to assist U.S. communities. “Our applications work towards a common goal—to aid the decision making and communication processes for our school and municipal clients.” In the coming months, Forecast5 will complement the suite by introducing several new applications and product features. The company just launched a new component within 5Cast, called Publish—a feature that allows client to create financial data extracts and publish them to a website for communication and transparency initiatives. Additionally, the company plans to introduce a real-time, cross-enterprise data exchange platform nicknamed FlightBoard, as well as, an enhanced version of 5Share in the near future. “Across the board, we see a growing interest in connecting people and organizations with data,” concludes the CEO.