What is Forecasting

Forecasting is a decision-making tool used by many businesses to help in budgeting, planning, and estimating future growth. In the simplest terms, forecasting is the attempt to predict future outcomes based on past events and management insight.

There are two forecast types: judgment-based (e.g. “gut feel”) and quantitative (e.g. statistics). The most trustworthy forecasts combine both methods to support their strengths and mitigate their weaknesses.

Judgement Forecasting

Judgement forecasting uses only our intuition and experience. Our minds are able to make connections and understand the context in a way that no computer can. However, we’re also prone to certain biases that make analyzing large amounts of data difficult. Judgment forecasting is best where there is little to no historical data- such as new product launches, competitor actions, or new growth plans.

Quantitative Forecasting

Quantitative forecasting uses analytics to analyze large amounts of historical data in order to discern trends and patterns. Quantitative forecasting is excellent at churning through large amounts of data and is less prone to bias. However, it is weakest when there is little to no historical data that can be analyzed. Quantitative forecasting relies, more or less, on identifying repeated patterns in your data so it may take a while to see the same pattern repeat more than once. Combining judgment and quantitative forecasting gets the best results.