In business planning, many organizations engage in an activity called forecasting. Forecasting is a data projection based on prior years' growth or anticipated or expected growth. Data projections occur across many industries. Governments use data projections to determine population growth, health care institutions use projections to determine increase need for health care services, and businesses use data projections to determine supply or demand for services.
A projection is basically an educated guess on what will happen in the future. The projection does not provide a guarantee that the population will grow a certain amount or a certain number of health care services will be delivered. It is only an estimate.
In order to determine the actual increase in growth, delivery of services or demand, data should be collected. Collecting data allows the organization to discover how close they forecasted for business planning purposes. After analyzing the data and applying that data, organizations can discover if they met or fell below forecasted goals and make the appropriate adjustments.