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Business Forecasting with Business ForecastX 6th Edition



Business Forecasting with Business ForecastX 6th Edition

Author: J. Holton Wilson , Barry Keating, et al

Publisher: McGraw-Hill/Irwin

Genres:

Publish Date: December 19, 2008

ISBN-10: 0073373648

Pages: 513

File Type: PDF

Language: English

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Book Preface

If you are reading this text as part of the course requirements for a college degree, consider yourself fortunate. Many college graduates, even those with degrees in business or economics, do not ever study forecasting, except as a sidelight in a course that has other primary objectives. And yet, we know that forecasting is an essential element of most business decisions.

The need for personnel with forecasting expertise is growing.2 For example, Levi Strauss only started its forecast department in 1995 and within four years had a full-time forecasting staff of thirty. Many people filling these positions have had little formal training in forecasting and are paying thousands of dollars to attend educational programs. In annual surveys conducted by the Institute of Business Forecasting it has been found that there are substantial increases in the staffing of forecasters in full-time positions within American companies.

AT&T WIRELESS SERVICES ADDRESSES CAPACITY PLANNING NEEDS

AT&T Wireless Services is one of the largest wireless carriers in the United States, offering voice, aviation communications, and wireless data services over an integrated, nationwide network. AT&T Wireless sought to redefine its forecasting process, as the company had been using many different data sources—including Oracle 8— combined with a judgmental process to estimate its future demand. AT&T Wireless needed to find an integrated solution that would automate its sales forecasting process to more effectively manage the deployment and utilization of its infrastructure. The chosen solution would also need to be easily integrated with AT&T’s existent sales forecasting process.

After searching for a solution that could be used to enhance its existing judgmental process by accounting for marketing promotions, sales events, and other market factors, AT&T Wireless decided to implement a scalable solution comprising John Galt Solutions’ ForecastX Wizard product family. John Galt provided AT&T Wireless with documentation and working examples that enabled the company to visualize and validate the benefits of ForecastX immediately and throughout the implementation process. The examples and help that John Galt extended provided AT&T with the background the company needed to answer its questions.

John Galt’s ForecastX gave AT&T powerful front-end analytical capabilities to utilize batch forecasting—an automated process that generates forecasts according to a schedule determined by the parties responsible for forecasting within AT&T Wireless. Users simply adjust their
parameters and set the Batch Scheduler, and the program runs without further user intervention. At current staffing levels, AT&T Wireless can support its capacity planning needs, thanks to a framework and tools that will allow analysts to focus their attention on business issues. Using ForecastX, the company can quantify the costs and benefits that will be obtained from its infrastructure investments.

QUANTITATIVE FORECASTING HAS BECOME WIDELY ACCEPTED

We might think of forecasting as a set of tools that helps decision makers make the best possible judgments about future events. In today’s rapidly changing business world such judgments can mean the difference between success and failure. It is no longer reasonable to rely solely on intuition, or one’s “feel for the situation,” in projecting future sales, inventory needs, personnel requirements, and other important economic or business variables. Quantitative methods have been shown to be helpful in making better predictions about the future course of events,3 and a number of sophisticated computer software packages have been developed to make these methods accessible to nearly everyone. In a recent survey itwas found that about 80 percent of forecasting is done with quantitative methods.4


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