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Defining a calculated field to perform what-if analysis

"What if analysis" is a method of creating calculated fields that allow you to test scenarios. For example, if you want to create a budget formula but you are unsure of the revenue for the following period, you could use calculations with several input parameters to define the budget value.

The following video series walks through the process of building a what-if analysis for forecasting how many help desk tickets can be closed if you add more help desk agents.


The videos show an older version of BMC Helix ITSM: Smart Reporting. Although the UI is slightly different, the overall functionality remains the same.

What-if analysis - Part 1 of 3

What-if analysis - Part 2 of 3

What-if analysis - Part 3 of 3

Planning a what-if analysis

To begin, define the columns that you want to include as the output to your scenario. Determine the major calculations you want to apply, including the input variables and their potential inputs.

For example, if you want to conduct a what-if analysis on Sales Revenue, you might create a calculation based on the following parameters:

Last Year's Sales Units * Price * <Price Change> * <Change of Sales Volume>

The fields in brackets (<>) represent user parameters that users will enter.

Building your formulas

To build a what-if analysis formula, define the parameters defined on your view. A parameter is a special type of input field that captures a value from the user, and that value is used for calculations and filters.

The calculations for your what-if analysis are built using the Add Calculated Field method. However, make sure that you use parameter fields in your calculation.

To apply percentage (%) changes to your calculations, assume that the user will enter values where 100% is equal to 100, not 1. Some of the input options work in whole number increments, not decimals.


You can use only a single parameter for a single input. For example, a parameter field to be used for % Price Change cannot be used to also capture % Change in Sales Volume unless you want both values to be identical.

Defining User Prompt Formatting

After you define your formula, drag them onto the report. Because parameters are treated like user prompt filters, parameters that are included in the calculations appear in the Filters section of your report data.

On the report preview page, you can format your parameters to create dials and sliders for numeric fields.

From the Filters section, select the parameter you want to format. Then, you can edit the parameter options such as name and format.

Running your what-if scenario

After all your calculations and parameters are defined, continue to the report output page where the parameters are displayed. If you change the default values of the parameters by using the input mechanisms, you see the updated calculated field values in your report.

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