Smart Lists as Run Time Prompts

How to Create a Drop-Down Box Prompt for Users in a Business Rule

Image 1: Business rule containing Smart List Run Time Prompt

Smart Lists are very powerful tools within Planning Budgeting Cloud Service (PBCS) software. I have recently created a PBCS Forecasting system that utilises Smart Lists to drive the Forecast Process; allowing users to populate the forecast using a customised forecast method selection tool.

The Forecast Process is as follows:

  1. An admin will load in the latest month of Actual data and open the new Forecast for use;
  2. A business rule will be launched to pre-populate the whole Forecast with a single Forecast Method of choice;
    • For example – The forecast method ‘Average’ is chosen and so ‘Forecast 3+9’ becomes populated with 3 months’ worth of Actual data and the remaining 9 months are populated with the average of the first 3 months’ Actual data, for the whole forecast.
  3. Users then review the forecast and apply the following actions;
    • Select alternative forecast methods for individual Account/Entity combinations;
    • Launch a rule to populate a whole division or account sub hierarchy with an alternative forecast method (Image 1 displays this).

Image 2: Smart List in use with a Form

Here are the steps involved for creating the drop-down list:

These steps utilise: Calculation Manager, Business Rules, Smart Lists, Variables or Run Time Prompts

  1. Create the Smart List;
  2. Navigate to Rules (Calculation Manager) -> Variable Designer;

    Image 3: Navigating to the Variable Designer
  3. Navigate to the relevant database in the Variable Navigator;
  4. Click Actions -> New;
  5. Name the Variable;
  6. Change the variable type to ‘Numeric’ (Misleading, I know!). A Smart List box will appear;

    Image 4: Selecting the Smart List: ‘FcstCalc’ containing the Forecast Methods
  7. Select the Smart List;
  8. Tick RTP (Run Time Prompt) and enter the RTP Text – this text will display upon launch of the rule next to the drop-down box;
  9. Optional: Select a default value or limit the entries the user can select;

    Image 5: Selecting Smart List Values
  10. Reference the Run Time Prompt in a business rule using the format: {RTPName}.

The result should appear as follows in the user interface:

Image 6: Running the rule from an End User perspective

The main benefit of this – aside from the smooth end user process – is that the Forecast Method selected by the user gets dropped into the variable referenced in the business rule and can therefore be used as a direct Smart List reference as if it was written: [[SmartList.Entry]] in the business rule.

I hunted, unsuccessfully, online looking for help on how to achieve this in PBCS because I never would have thought ‘Numeric’ would be the variable type for a Smart List!

For more PBCS tips and tricks from me, go to