Fathom allows you to import non-financial metrics or data as drivers to perform driver based forecasting or for operational forecasts. Many business owners think about their revenue in terms of how much of a product or service they are delivering and using drivers can help you model these outcomes closely.

With drivers you can build out complex formulas and model business outcomes, based on the inputs. You can also set up drivers to reflect seasonality to capture these nuances in your forecast.

This article goes over:


Adding drivers to your Fathom Forecast

To add driver data to your forecast, you’ll want to navigate to the ‘Drivers’ area from the main grid. Here you’re able to create driver categories, define specific drivers, and add values for your drivers. As many as 500 drivers can be displayed in the Drivers Grid. You can add drivers or driver values to your Fathom forecast in four ways:

  1. Importing drivers from Excel into the forecast’s Drivers Grid

  2. Creating drivers manually in the Drivers Grid

  3. Calculating driver values using value rules

  4. Duplicating existing drivers

Importing or updating drivers from Excel

You can import up to 200 drivers at a time into your Fathom Forecast. To import or update drivers from Excel, go to the Drivers Grid in your forecast:

  1. In the upper right corner of the grid, select the Excel icon

  2. Download the appropriate import template:

    1. If you haven’t added any drivers to your forecast, choose the 'Import from Excel' option and download the blank ‘Drivers template’.

    2. If you need to update data for existing drivers, select the option to download the ‘Drivers - Company Name’ template which includes data for existing drivers.

  3. After downloading, open the template and fill out the following fields, as needed:

Driver Name

The name of the driver as it would appear in the Drivers Grid and in reports. This is required.

Category

The category the driver will be assigned to in the Drivers Grid and in reports.

If no category is specified, it will default to ‘No category’ and the driver will not be placed in a category.

Unit of Measure

How the driver will be measured. You can choose from one of the standard units of measure (Number, Currency, Percentage, Days, Times) or type in a custom unit of measure (a maximum of 8 characters).

If a unit of measure is not specified, it will default to ‘Number’.

Aggregation Type

How the driver will be displayed for quarterly and yearly results. If an aggregation type is not specified, it will default to ‘Summative’.

  • Balance - The driver’s value for the most recent month will be used as the value for the quarter and year. For example, the ‘Number of Employees’ is often measured as the number of employees at that point in time or the balance.

  • Summative - The driver’s value for all months in the quarter or year will be summed or totaled for the quarterly and yearly results. For example, ‘Number of Completed Projects’ is often measured as the total number of projects completed during the quarter or year, in which case the aggregation type would be summative.

  • Average - The driver’s value for all months in the quarter or year will be totaled and then divided by the number of months in the quarter or year. For example, ‘Revenue per Project’ would be measured as the average revenue per project throughout the quarter or year.

Driver values

Enter in the monthly values for your drivers. The value can be a maximum of 15 numbers long.

4. Once you have filled out the template as needed, save the template and upload it by selecting the green ‘Click to upload’ option in Fathom.

💡Pro Tip: If you only need to update the values for your drivers or only update the attributes (e.g. category, unit of measure, aggregation type), then, before uploading the template, you can select the option you need by clicking on the bolded ‘Values and attributes’ to reveal a dropdown menu.

What will happen to my existing drivers when importing?

Driver imports are designed to be additive, meaning empty fields will not remove data; imports will only create new or update existing drivers, their values, and/or their attributes.

If you are creating new drivers and leave the attribute fields (category, unit of measure, and aggregation type) blank, then Fathom will default them to ‘no category’, ‘number’, and ‘summative’ respectively.

If you are updating existing drivers and leave the attribute fields blank, they will not reset to the defaults as per new driver imports, but will instead retain their current in-Fathom attributes.

Therefore, to modify attributes, you must specify the new attribute choice in the Excel import or the Fathom Settings for the driver. You can access the driver’s Settings by clicking on the name of the driver in Fathom and then selecting ‘Settings’ from the top of the menu that opens on the right.


Entering driver data manually

To add a driver to the driver's grid from within Fathom:

  1. Click the green ‘Create driver’ option.

  2. In the menu that opens, specify the name of the driver, driver category, unit of measure, and aggregation type.

  3. Select ‘Create driver’.

  4. Once the driver has been created, you can double click into the cells of the driver to directly enter in values for the driver or you can use a value rule to calculate the driver’s results.


Calculating drivers using formulas and other value rules

After you have created a driver in the Drivers Grid, you can calculate the values for the driver by using a ‘Constant/Growing’ value rule or by building a formula.

The ‘Constant/Growing’ value rule enables you to quickly enter in a constant value for a driver or to enter in a constant percentage or amount for the driver to increase or decrease by.

Using a formula value rule to calculate a driver, enables you to reference other drivers and constants in the formula. Therefore, if you wanted a driver that totaled or summed other drivers, you could build out a formula to calculate that driver’s values. The formula would be similar to:

Driver A + Driver B + Driver C…, etc.

To calculate a driver with a value rule,

  1. Click on the cell for the month you want to begin calculating the driver

  2. In the menu that opens on the right, select the option to ‘Create value rule’

  3. From the drop down, choose to use a ‘Constant/Growing’ rule or a ‘Formula/Drivers’ rule.

    1. If using a ‘Constant/Growing’ rule, then you can enter in a constant amount for the driver and, if desired, choose to have that amount increase or decrease monthly, quarterly, or yearly by a percentage or number.

    2. If using a ‘Formula’ rule, then you can build a formula to calculate the driver's values. Fathom enables you to use other drivers as variables in the formula by typing the ‘@’ symbol or the name of the driver.

  4. Select ‘Create rule’ to apply the rule to the driver

💡Pro Tip: To see the value rules being used to calculate a driver, click on the name of the driver. This will open a menu on the right-hand side where you can view a timeline of all of the value rules used to calculate the driver. Both manual entries and imports from Excel will appear as direct entries in the rule timeline.


Organizing, re-ordering, and duplicating drivers in your Drivers Grid

Fathom enables you to easily duplicate drivers, change the order of drivers on the Drivers Grid, change the order of the driver categories, rename the categories and drivers, and move a driver from one category to another. You can also delete drivers and driver categories.

To duplicate a driver, change its name or category, delete it, or to re-order the driver on the grid:

  1. Hover over the name of the driver on the Drivers Grid and click on the ‘Three dot’ icon that appears.

  2. From the drop down menu, choose to move the driver up or down in order, rename the driver, change the driver’s category, delete, or duplicate the driver.

To change the order or name of a driver category or to delete the category,

  1. Hover over the category name in the Drivers Grid and click on the ‘Three dot’ icon that appears.

  2. From the drop down menu, choose to move the category up or down, to rename the category, or delete it.


Using Drivers in your forecast

Drivers can be used in a Fathom Forecast by editing and creating value rules on the main grid and in microforecasts to incorporate drivers into the forecast.

When editing or creating a value rule:

  1. Select ‘Formula/Driver’ as the value rule option

  2. Once the formula builder opens, type in the name of your driver or hit the ‘@’ symbol to link to a driver that you added to the Drivers Grid.

These drivers can be integrated as variables in the formula alongside an account value or constant numbers directly typed into the formula.

For more information on using formulas to incorporate drivers into your forecast, please see our article on ‘Using Formulas or Drivers to Set a Value.’

Reporting on Drivers

You are able to add a table of your drivers to custom Fathom reports to complete your management reporting.

To add this table to reports:

  1. Navigate to a draft report in the Report Centre

  2. Open up the ‘Tables & Financials’ from the left-side content library

  3. Click on the second bolded word at the top of the menu that opens

  4. Use the drop down menu to access the ‘Forecasting’ tables. Here you’ll find our drivers table.

For more detail on adding forecasting components to Fathom reports, please see our article on your ‘Fathom Forecast in Reports’.

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