MUFI Rating & Risk – Forecast Pro TRAK
MUFI: Maintainability, Usability, Functionality, Implement ability
Vendor: Business Forecast Systems (Select For Vendor Profile)
Forecast Pro TRAK is the top of the line application offered by Business Forecast Systems. BFS offers several lower versions of this product that have various features disabled, but Forecast Pro TRAK is the appropriate application for serious forecasting.
Forecast Pro TRAK is one of the value leaders in the forecasting space. Forecast Pro TRAK has a similar feel to Demand Works Smoothie (although many of the comparisons stop at the user interface). Forecast Pro TRAK has a strong focus on attribute-based forecasting. Attributes all for the creation flexible forecast hierarchies and the capability that any forecasting system has concerning managing attributes is one of the most important ways of grading any forecasting system. Forecast Pro TRAK’s characteristics are easy to use but are not the best in the category.
Notice the attribute hierarchy in the left pane. The hierarchy is not fixed but can be “shuffled” by moving any attribute over any other attribute. This is very valuable for both performing actions such as top-down forecasting as well as for navigation. New attributes can be added that are used for either purpose can be easily added.
In the lower left pane favorites – which are specific locations within the virtual hierarchy can be saved – and reopened at any time. This area only has a few favorites saved, so searching is not applicable. However, if one had many favorites, they could be easily searched and found. This is a constant request that we have for almost any application – an easy search/filter box that can allow the user to zero in exactly on what they are looking and it is a major factor in improving the productivity of the application.
Moving one attribute above another can be performed by right mouse clicking on the attribute and selecting Promote or Demote. This moves the attribute above or below where it is currently in the virtual hierarchy.
One of the differentiators for Forecast Pro TRAK is the easy accessibility of forecast statistics and other details that are available in the application, one example being within the Forecast Report that is shown here.
Forecast Pro TRAK has mastered important details such as being able to change the unit of measure easily. One can quickly move between the item to dollars, dollars being significant for S&OP forecasting. This of course only provides one side of the S&OP equation, the capacity side must be brought in as well – however, Forecast Pro TRAK delivers this important functionality without any extra cost.
Forecast Pro TRAK has a nice comment field, which can be seen at the bottom of this screenshot. This is the new trend in many enterprise software applications. Salesforce’s platform has a functionality called chatter, which is a more sophisticated version of this comment field and allows for multiple comments and comment tracking as in a blog comment area. This type of functionality can partially replace email and reduce the need for emails. It is a major productivity issue to have this commenting in any shared application.
Forecast Pro TRAK is a relatively easy application to implement, is very attractively priced, has modern functionality as well as some interesting productivity features that become more apparent with extended use. All of these product-specific features combine with positive vendor features like very experienced and strong consulting as well as strong documentation from Business Forecast Systems. However, the application lags in several areas including security and scalability. Furthermore, prospective customers should understand that Forecast Pro TRAK is a desktop application and BFS does not offer multi-user server version of the application, and therefore scalability will become an issue.
Forecast Pro TRAK has all the forecasting methods that one would expect including best-fit functionality. Forecast Pro TRAK offers collaboration functionality as well at around $1400 per collaborator for more than 11 licenses. This broadens out the use of Forecast Pro TRAK within a buyer and for instance would allow sales to enter their forecasts directly into the Forecast Pro TRAK application, without requiring that they have the full application license. This is a major productivity enhancer for buyers, allowing collaborators to get out of using spreadsheets and make their adjustments directly in the application. These collaboration licenses can be used to obtain input from supply chain partners as well.
All scores out of a possible 10.
Vendor and Application Risk
Forecast Pro has a similar risk profile as well as a similar implementation approach and consulting approach to Demand Works. Many of the same comments apply, except that Forecast Pro has been around longer than Demand Works and therefore finding independent consultants will tend to be easier.
Likelihood of Implementation Success
This accounts for both the application and vendor-specific risk. In our formula, the total implementation risk is application + vendor + buyer risk. The buyer specific risk could increase or decrease this overall likelihood and adjust the values that you see below.
Finished With Your Analysis?
Brightwork Forecast Explorer for Error Calculation
Improving Your Forecast Error Management
Did you know that most companies don’t know what their forecast error is? If a company knows an error percentage but not the interval or the aggregation level measured, that means they don’t know. Most forecasting applications make getting a weighted forecast error extremely difficult. That is why we developed a SaaS application that allows anyone to find out their forecast error with a simple file upload.
The Brightwork Forecast Explorer is free to use in the beginning. See by clicking the image below:
Software Selection Book
Enterprise Software Selection: How to Pinpoint the Perfect Software Solution Using Multiple Sources of Information
What the Book Covers
Essential reading for success in your next software selection and implementation.
Software selection is the most important task in a software implementation project, as it is your best (if not only) opportunity to make sure that the right software—the software that matches the business requirements—is being implemented. Choosing the software that is the best fit clears the way for a successful implementation, yet software selection is often fraught with issues and many companies do not end up with the best software for their needs. However, the process can be greatly simplified by addressing the information sources that influence software selection. This book can be used for any enterprise software selection, including ERP software selection.
This book is a how-to guide for improving the software selection process and is formulated around the idea that—much like purchasing decisions for consumer products—the end user and those with the domain expertise must be included. In addition to providing hints for refining the software selection process, this book delves into the often-overlooked topic of how consulting and IT analyst firms influence the purchasing decision, and gives the reader an insider’s understanding of the enterprise software market.
By reading this book you will:
- Learn how to apply a scientific approach to the software selection process.
- Interpret vendor-supplied information to your best advantage. This is generally left out of books on software selection. However, consulting companies and IT analysts like Gartner have very specific biases. Gartner is paid directly by software vendors — a fact they make every attempt not to disclose while consulting companies only recommend software for vendors that give them the consulting business. Consulting companies all have an enormous financial bias that prevents them from offering honest advice — and this is part of their business model.
- Understand what motivates a software vendor.
- Learn how the institutional structure and biases of consulting firms affect the advice they give you, and understand how to properly interpret information from consulting companies.
- Make vendor demos work to your benefit.
- Know the right questions to ask on topics such as integration with existing software, cloud versus on-premise vendors, and client references.
- Differentiate what is important to know about software for improved “implement-ability” versus what the vendor thinks is important for improved “sell-ability.”
- Better manage your software selection projects to ensure smoother implementations.
- Chapter 1: Introduction to Software Selection
- Chapter 2: Understanding the Enterprise Software Market
- Chapter 3: Software Sell-ability versus Implement-ability
- Chapter 4: How to Use Consulting Advice on Software Selection
- Chapter 5: How to Use the Reports of Analyst Firms Like Gartner
- Chapter 6: How to Use Information Provided by Vendors
- Chapter 7: How to Manage the Software Selection Process