SAS launches automated forecasting tool

SAS Institute has unveiled the SAS High-Performance Forecasting tool, which is aimed at industries that specialise in large...

SAS Institute has unveiled the SAS High-Performance Forecasting tool, which is aimed at industries that specialise in large volumes of forecasts.

The tool is designed for companies with a large number of product SKUs, which creates a vast number of potential combinations for a forecast.

"Not only can it look at historical sales data, but it can also factor in seasonality, holidays, and promotions," said Anne Miley, director of analytical strategy at SAS.

Miley said it can do millions of forecasts on data in minutes.

The key difference between High-Performance Forecasting and previous products is its ability to automate forecasts by embedding so-called "smart defaults" within the data in order to determine the best forecasting model and to pick different forecasts for different models, according to Miley.

"Up until now, a lot of good forecasting required an analyst to handcraft a forecast, but no analyst can build a forecast for even a few thousand items," Miley said.

Industry analyst Mike Schiff, vice-president for datawarehousing and BI at Current Analysis, said the tool rounds out and strengthens SAS' other offerings.

"Instead of GM forecasting car sales, it can forecast against every single option," Schiff said.

High-Performance Forecasting performs forecasts in batch mode. Inventory forecasts can be based on product type, location, or any unique supply and demand factors. It is shipping now and starts at $50,000 (£30,300).

Ephraim Schwartz writes for Infoworld

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