Accurate forecasting is essential for a business’s success—predicting the operational and financial ups-and-downs of your company enables you to better manage your business. The process of this, however, is extremely complex. And people are limited to only what they can evaluate, and often when those evaluations are made, so much information is still missing. They don’t have enough data, sources of data, or the ability to make proper connections with that data to make meaningful forecasts. When people make forecasts, really, they’re just making good guesses.

Microsoft Artificial Intelligence (AI) takes the “guess” out of “guesswork” and makes more accurate forecasting a reality.

AI forecasting connects real-time and historical data to give you the most precise predictions about whatever component of your company you want to evaluate—inventory, sales, etc. In analyzing thousands of data points, AI provides an accurate forecast to help you make better, more informed business decisions for both the long-term and short-term health of your business.

Let’s say, for example, you want to forecast the sales and inventory for chocolate-covered pretzels. Within your forecast settings, you have many options to customize what kind of forecast you want. It’s important to first select an endpoint. How far into the future do you want this forecast to run—a day, a week, a month, six months? Next, you select your historical period—how far in your history do you want your AI to gather data to evaluate? You also have the ability to select an expiration date for the forecast—the time at which you think the information forecasted will become outdated.

With AI, you can apply data science principles or develop a custom algorithm that makes the most sense for your business. Your business is unique, so your forecasting should match the specialty of your work. And because you can control each variable, you can assess the exact information you want within whatever timeframe you want. It’s entirely customizable.

To make AI work for your business, AI needs to understand how your specific company operates. One of the ways to make AI more effective for you and your business is to hire a data scientist to create custom algorithms. It’ll take time—in the way that anything worth doing takes time. In the end, you’ll find that it’s absolutely worth it.

Want to learn more? Watch the video below to see how AI is driving smarter Sales and Inventory Forecasts in JustFood ERP.