Executive Summary

  • This is the Brightwork Research & Analysis software rating series.
  • We rate both the software and estimate the risk of implementing each application.

MUFI Rating & Risk for ToolsGroup SO99 (Forecasting)

MUFI: Maintainability, Usability, Functionality, Implement ability

Vendor: ToolsGroup (Select For Vendor Profile)


ToolsGroup is a software vendor mainly known for its inventory optimization and multi-echelon planning software for supply planning. However, while less known for the forecasting functionality of their SO99 product, it is a competent application.

Application Detail

ToolsGroup, in everything that it does, is very focused on what is known as stochastic modeling. This means modeling in a way that represents the variable nature of reality. This comes across in their forecasting application and is displayed in the following screenshot.

ToolsGroup Interface

Most forecasting applications have a single line representing the forecast. ToolsGroup’s S099 application produces a range of values indicating the probabilistic nature of the forecast.  This is a very innovative concept and gets people thinking of a forecast as not a single value.

ToolsGroup Seasonality

ToolsGroup has a lovely seasonality management functionality, which creates a seasonality index, which helps adjust the forecast up or down based on the indices. A fractional value below 1 for indices, such as in October (.80), brings the forecast down – a fractional value above 1 for indices, such as February (1.03), brings the forecast up. Some forecasting applications have similar functionality. However, ToolsGroup regularly displays a combination of ease of use along with high sophistication.

Lifecycle Planning in ToolsGroup SO99

Supersession is the substitution of one product for another product. In lifecycle planning, this often involves phasing out one product and replacing it with a newer version. Seeing the demand for both products in an integrated way is one of the challenges. ToolsGroup has made this very clear in its user interface, so I wanted to include them in this section.

ToolGroup can show both the phased-out and phased-in products on the same screen. See below and notice the transparent portion of the block graphs.

ToolsGroup Supersession

If the selected item supersedes another item (i.e., it assumes the demand of the superseded item in addition to its own). The demand bar on the graph displays the original demand for the selected item (solid green bar) and the acquired demand associated with the superseded item (green perimeter with no fill): the superseded demand. – Kristen Nordstrom, ToolsGroup

ToolsGroup SO99 and Lumpy Demand

Of the vendors I have analyzed, probably the one (that does not specialize in service parts) with the most significant focus on demand intermittency is ToolsGroup. This is consistent with ToolsGroup ‘s orientation towards detailed planning, as is demonstrated in the screenshot below:

ToolsGroup Lumpy Demand

Notice that with ToolsGroup, the lumpiness shows in the demand history. However, the future lines in purple and blue are very long. This is called the prediction interval, the range over which a forecast is likely to fall. On a lumpy product like this one, notice how broad the range is when compared to the more predictable demand pattern below:

ToolsGroup Normal Variability

The more predictable item has a smaller range of values. It is inherently more forecastable. ToolsGroup’s interface allows me to demonstrate a basic concept of forecasting, which is what an excellent user interface should be able to do.

ToolsGroup’s SO99 is a forecasting application for companies that are very serious about forecasting.  It takes a different approach in some areas, and a good fit for ToolsGroup implementations will be companies that buy into the ToolsGroup vision. Some of the functionality for forecasting in ToolsGroup SO99 does not exist in any other supply chain forecasting application.

MUFI Scores

All scores out of a possible 10.

MUFI Scores

Search for the vendor in this table using the search bar in the upper right of the table. Shortening Key: 
  • Ma. = Maintainability
  • Us. = Usability
  • Fu. = Functionality
  • Im. = Implementability
Average Score for Big ERP5. ERP
Average Score for CRM6.
Average Score for Small and Medium ERP8.386.78.5Small and Medium ERP
Average Score for Finance8.88.888.8Finance
Average Score for Demand Planning7.67.277.1Demand Planning
Average Score for Supply Planning6.76.976.8Supply Planning
Average Score for Production Planning6.86.976.9Production Planning
Average Score for BI Heavy5. Heavy
Average Score for PLM77.26.87.3PLM
Average Score for BI Light7.78.798.3BI Light
Arena Solutions Arena PLM 10101010PLM
AspenTech AspenOne48107Production Planning
Birst 88.5108BI Light
ERPNext10107.510Small and Medium ERP
Delfoi Planner866.57Production Planning
Demand Works Smoothie SP910710Supply Planning
Hamilton Grant RM1098.59PLM
IBM Cognos2.731.53BI Heavy
Infor Epiphany7865CRM
Infor Lawson8767Big ERP
Intuit QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions9959Finance
JDA DM97.588Demand Planning
Microsoft Dynamics CRM2322CRM
NetSuite CRM6433CRM
Netsuite OneWorld7788Big ERP
Oracle BI4436BI Heavy
Oracle CRM On Demand4535CRM
Oracle Demantra533.54.5Demand Planning
Oracle JD Edwards World4136Big ERP
Oracle RightNow6745CRM
PlanetTogether Galaxy APS10101010Production Planning
Preactor8737Production Planning
QlikTech QlikView99109BI Light
Rootstock9899Small and Medium ERP
Sage X38878Big ERP
Salesforce Enterprise88.597.5CRM
SAP APO DP3432Demand Planning
SAP APO PP/DS2243Production Planning
SAP APO SNP3484Supply Planning
SAP BI/BW1.5242BI Heavy
SAP Business Objects32.573BI Heavy
SAP ECC336.53Big ERP
SAP SmartOps4475.5Supply Planning
SAS BI6.5796BI Heavy
SAS Demand Driven Forecasting7897Demand Planning
Tableau (BI)9101010BI Light
Tableau (Forecasting)10859Demand Planning
Teradata86.39.76BI Heavy
ToolsGroup SO99 (Forecasting)7897Demand Planning
ToolsGroup SO99 (Supply)56107Supply Planning

Vendor and Application Risk

ToolsGroup SO99 faces similar issues to the more heavyweight forecasting applications, which is one of being overwhelmed with the available functionality. Overall, the SO99 application is well designed, and it has some productivity-enhancing features ranging from how it performs lifecycle planning to substitution and supersession. The SO99 user interface is of good quality, easing user adoption. Users must become acclimated to the concept of probabilistic forecasts.

Likelihood of Implementation Success

This accounts for both the application and the vendor-specific risk. The total implementation risk in our formula is application + vendor + buyer risk. The buyer-specific risk could increase or decrease this likelihood and adjust the values below.

Likelihood of Application Implementation Success and Failure

Estimates are for a typical project. A specific implementation requires details from the project to make a project-specific estimate.

Search for the application in this table using the search bar in the upper right of the table.
ApplicationProb of Implementation SuccessProb of Implementation Failure
SAP Smartops0.390.61
NetSuite CRM0.460.54
Sugar CRM0.620.48
Base CRM0.910.09
SAP CRM0.350.65
Salesforce Enterprise0.720.28
QlikTech QlikView0.820.18
Tableau (BI)0.980.02
SAP Crystal Reports0.460.54
SAS BI0.760.24
Oracle BI0.350.65
IBM Cognos0.230.77
Infor Epiphany0.580.42
Microsoft Dynamics CRM0.260.74
Oracle RightNow CRM0.410.59
Oracle CRM On Demand0.360.64
SAP Business Objects0.320.68
SAP BI/BW0.250.75
SAP PLM0.290.71
Hamilton Grant RM0.890.11
Arena Solutions0.960.04
Delfoi Planner0.70.3
PlanetTogether Galaxy APS0.960.04
AspenTech AspenOne0.550.45
SAP APO PP/DS0.270.73
Demand Works Smoothie SP0.930.07
ToolsGroup SO99 (Supply)0.820.18
Demand Works Smoothie0.960.04
Tableau (Forecasting)0.90.1
SAS Demand Driven Forecasting0.820.18
ToolsGroup SO99 (Forecasting)0.860.14
JDA DM0.570.43
Oracle Demantra0.330.67
SAP APO DP0.280.72
Intuit QB Enterprise0.80.2
Microsoft Dynamics AX0.40.6
SAP Business One0.490.51
Sage X30.620.38
Infor Lawson0.580.42
Epicor ERP0.40.6
Oracle JD Edwards World0.310.69
Oracle JD Edwards EnterpriseOne0.360.64
SAP ERP ECC/R/30.320.68
NetSuite OneWorld0.650.35

Risk Definition

See this link for more on our categorizations of risk. We also offer a Buyer Specific Risk Estimation as a service for those who want a comprehensive analysis.

Finished With Your Analysis?

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