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Polaris wins Digital Leadership Award in Office of Finance category

Polaris Inc. has been named a winner of the 16th Annual Digital Leadership Awards by Ventana Research. The company was recognized in the Office of Finance category for its work with OneStream Software.

The Digital Leadership Awards recognize individuals and companies that have embraced the use of technology to help them lead their businesses and optimize readiness across their people, processes, information, and technology to grow their impact and industry potential.

The Corporate Finance team at Polaris is recognized for its leading and innovative use of applications and technologies to improve insights, enhance decision-making, and improve processes and productivity within the Office of Finance. Melanie Hermann, director, of Finance Processes & Systems at Polaris, led the initiative which leveraged OneStream’s Intelligent Finance Platform and Sensible Machine Learning (ML) solution to transform the company’s forecasting and planning processes.

Polaris implemented Sensible ML in 2022, initially focusing its project on the North American Off-Road Products global business unit with a 12-month forecasting time horizon focusing on variables impacting their Shipped Units forecast. Polaris leveraged Sensible ML to examine six years of weekly unit sales across 181 products. The ML service cross-correlated those demand models with commodity prices and events – such as holiday promotions – and generated over 2,800 models for comparison. The OneStream ML models proved to be the most efficient, providing increased insights and incorporating historic data.

As a result of implementing Sensible ML, Polaris is reducing forecasting cycle times. The Finance team also has more insights into the key forecast drivers, helping drive more informed decision-making. Additionally, the ML forecasting process integrated seamlessly with Polaris’s financial planning and forecasting processes, all on OneStream’s unified platform.

“The ability to quickly generate driver-based forecasts is essential to adapting to our changing business conditions,” Hermann says. “Incorporating AI into our planning and forecasting through the OneStream Sensible ML solution accelerates the forecasting process and further elevates it with powerful ML data-driven forecasts. Sensible ML forecasts have shown to be more efficient, and the Value-Add Dashboard provides the business users with insights into the key features driving the forecast to easily manage, improve, and enhance the model.”

Sensible ML is OneStream’s first AI-enabled solution designed to productize time-series ML for CPM processes that integrate with existing planning processes to drive improved forecasting efficiency and increased insights. These expanded capabilities provide additional transparency and trust for users while increasing agility, time to value, and enterprise value associated with operational planning processes. Key capabilities of Sensible ML include the ability to automatically create thousands of weekly and/or daily demand plans for use across reports and visualizations that management can use to understand the forecast impact on revenue, material costs, inventory, and labor plans. Businesses can also monitor and retrain ML models to enable continuous forecasting and scenario planning with full visibility into model performance.

“Melanie’s contributions to the Office of Finance have demonstrated outstanding leadership and innovation in implementing OneStream and Sensible ML to drive significant improvements across Polaris’ planning and forecasting processes,” says Robert Kugel, senior vice president and research director at Ventana Research. “The ability to quickly generate driver-based forecasts is essential for businesses to adapt to today’s changing business conditions. Polaris has achieved impressive results with OneStream’s Sensible ML solution delivering more efficient forecasting, with increased transparency and insights to enable business agility.”

“Under Melanie’s leadership, Polaris has gained increased efficiency and transparency in their planning and forecasting processes. Melanie’s vision to partner with OneStream and implement Sensible ML to align financial and operational processes has resulted in key innovations that add speed and efficiency, with insights into key drivers for more informed decision-making,” says Tom Shea, CEO at OneStream. “Congratulations to Melanie and the Polaris team on this incredible recognition.”

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