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StatWizards: Hitting the Bull's Eye in Forecasting

George Boomer’s interest in econometric statistical forecasting models is vast. Having manually developed forecasting models for decades, Boomer’s interest steered toward discrete-choice models, which eventually translated into a vision of leveraging them to develop forecasting software featuring Microsoft Excel add-ins. Boomer’s plans received a major shot in the arm when he witnessed the presentation of two academic researchers, Peter Fader and Bruce Hardie. As a part of their research work, Fader and Hardie encapsulated in Microsoft Excel, the diverse behavioral patterns of a cruise line’s customers into a mathematical model, and “fit” it into the joint model to estimate the probability of each customer cruising again. Having watched the presentation, Boomer knew the research’s ground-breaking potential in adding value to the enterprise world. Effective and accurate forecasting improves an organization’s product planning and production segments, thereby boosting sales and profit margin. The idea to productize Fader’s and Hardie’s ideas laid the foundation for StatWizards—a trailblazer in statistical analysis and forecasting.

Forecast Wizard automatically adopts the model that best suits an enterprise
to produce remarkably accurate forecasts.

StatWizards packages over two dozen applications of Fader and Hardie into Excel-based software. Forecasting Wizard, the company’s flagship product, utilizes commonly available data like the nature of transactions, contractual or non-contractual, time, and purchasing frequency of customers, or even scanner data from retail stores to rank them based on their purchases. The data are used to forecast the likelihood of customers returning. While analyzing the data, the “Forecast Wizard automatically adopts the model that best suits an enterprise to produce remarkably accurate forecasts,” says Boomer, founder and CEO, StatWizards. Embedded within Forecast Wizard is a host of other applications.

The Design Wizard, a member of the Discrete-Choice Suite, creates in seconds customized designs of stores with a hypothetical number of products using Excel. In order to predict the market share of a product under existing prices and circumstances, StatWizards offers a Simulator Wizard that “establishes” a current marketplace for a trial product, which provides insights into the role of prices within key market segments.

Data Wizard simplifies design-choice estimation from surveys to understand the products sought by in-store customers. Applications to predict the success of marketing campaigns by accounting for their ability to reach and estimate each customer’s lifetime value to a company, are also a part of StatWizard’s solution portfolio.

StatWizards goes the extra mile to understand the niche requirements of each client with the objective of delivering maximum value. Forecasting Wizard and Simulator Wizard are being leveraged by academicians, consulting firms, and enterprises. In the instance of telecom and broadcasting giant, Comcast, attrition proved to be a major concern, for it could disrupt Comcast’s operations workflow. With an intention to predict future attrition rate and initiate the preventive measures, Comcast brought StatWizards onboard. StatWizards figured out the historical reasons for attrition, based on which future attrition rates were forecasted. The solution helped Comcast initiate measures to contain attrition, leading to greater productivity.

StatWizards has a promising product roadmap. The company also seeks to add a new version of discrete-choice modeling to simulate more accurately. The venture entails using a customer’s choice—regarding products, features, and services—as a base to build a forecasting model. “For example, we understand the willingness of consumers to pay for certain features. We are going to use that as a starting point,” explains Boomer. The promising nature of the new model is bound to redefine forecasting.

 

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