Predict the Future with Some Ad Hoc Time-series Forecasting
Wednesday, July 16th, 2008
We're happy to announce that we've teamed up with the good folks from Lokad to create a Kirix Strata™ forecasting plug-in, which you can use with your own time-series data.
Lokad is a company that has created some slick forecasting software and, thankfully, offers it as a web service via their API (you can also upload data directly to their site). Here's a link where you can find lots of good information on their technology. Bottom line, they offer some great business forecasting tools at a cost-effective price. Their API was a piece of cake to work with and so we were able to quickly put a GUI on it and create the Strata Lokad forecasting extension.
(And here's an embeddable YouTube version…)
Obviously, there's quite a bit of forecasting that goes on day to day within companies. When you veer toward the largest companies, you'll find departments dedicated to forecasting with automated processes built into their ERP systems. With smaller companies, forecasting is likely performed by someone without the word “forecast” in their job title. For instance, a warehouse manager may need to forecast inventory to make solid replenishment orders. Proper forecasting prevents the costly mistake of either overbuying (spoilage, locked-up cost of capital) or underbuying (lost sales).
However, the sweet spot for the Strata Lokad extension is ad hoc forecasting; it's for people who have various, changing data sets and need their forecasts on-the-fly. Business consultants who provide forecasts for their clients would fall in this category. In addition, this extension can benefit sales analysts who don't have adequate forecasting from their OLAP systems or financial analysts interested in different cash flow forecasts.
The great thing about forecasting algorithms is that they apply to a wide range of circumstances. So, if you've got some historical data to throw at a situation, you can get back some good results.
So, if you've got some time-series data and want to predict the future with it, give the Lokad forecasting extension a try. The installation itself along with all the details can be found here. If you've got questions about the plug-in, send ‘em our way. And, if you've got any questions about Lokad, their technology or forecasting in general, please feel free to give them a shout — they're quite knowledgeable and helpful.
P.S. We're pleased to note that this is the first extension we've made public that takes advantage of Strata's web scripting capabilities that brings a web API to the privacy and comfort of your own desktop. Got another web API you'd like to see work with Strata? Let us know.