Forecasting

Forecasting

Zoho Analytics enables you to effectively predict your future data trends, using its forecasting feature. Forecasting in Zoho Analytics is based on powerful forecasting algorithms which analyze your past data deeply and come up with the best forecast for the future. You can set up a forecast in a chart using a very simple set up process, without worrying about the underlying complexity.

This document will help you to learn how forecasting works in Zoho Analytics and how you can easily set up the same in your charts.

Forecasting

  1. What is Forecasting?
  2. What are the chart types that support Forecasting?
  3. How do I setup Forecasting in my chart?
  4. Can I set up forecasting over multiple Y-Axis?
  5. Forecast option is not available in my Chart settings, why?
  6. How Does Forecasting work in Zoho Analytics?
  7. The forecasted points shown in the chart are different to the shared users. Why? 
  8. The underlying data and drill down options are not available for forecasted data points. Why?

Troubleshooting Tips

  1. I could not find "Forecast" option in chart settings. Why?
  2. Already configured forecasting settings are not available now. Why?
  3. I have configured forecasting for my chart. But it says, "Forecasting is disabled as the data is completely ignored". Why?
  4. I have configured forecasting for my chart. But it says, "Forecasting is disabled as there is not enough data to identify pattern". Why?
  5. I have configured forecasting for my chart. But it says, "Forecasting is disabled as there are more than 40% empty values". Why?
  6. I have configured forecasting for my chart. But it says, "Column cannot be forecast as more than 5 data points is required". Why?

 

1. What is forecasting?

Forecasting is a process of predicting the future based on the past data trend. Zoho Analytics forecasting is based on powerful forecasting algorithms which analyzes your past data deeply and comes up with the best forecast for the future.

2. What are the chart types that support Forecasting?

Zoho Analytics supports forecasting for the following chart types. 

  • Line Chart
  • Bar Chart
  • Stacked Bar Chart
  • Scatter Chart
  • Area Chart
  • Stacked Area Chart
  • Combo Charts (without Bubble Chart).

3. How do I setup Forecasting in my chart?

You can set up forecasting using the Chart Settings page. To set up forecasting in a chart, follow the below steps to set up Forecasting in your chart.

  1. Open the Chart in which you want to set up the forecast. Refer here to know forecasting is available for the chart. 
  2. Click the Settings icon. The Charts Settings page will open.
  3. Open the Forecast tab. 
  4. Click Add Forecast. All the possible Y-axis series to be forecasted will be listed.
  5. Select the Y-axis series to be forecasted. The forecast setting will be displayed. 
  6. In the Forecast Length, select the number of points to be forecasted.
  7. In the Ignore Last, select the number of points to be ignored from the past starting from the current point.
  8. In the Prediction Interval, specify the confidence interval in which the data point is most likely to occur.  Select the interval ranging from 75 to 95. You can also choose to set this as none. This option is applicable for line chart alone.
  9. Specify the legend title for the forecasted data series in the Legend Name
  10. Specify the Formatting to be applied to show the forecasted data points.
  11. Click Apply. The forecasted series will be added to the chart.

The forecasted data series will be listed as a Legend Item in the chart. This allows you to view or remove the forecasted points in the chart easily.

4. Can I set up forecasting over multiple Y-Axis?

Yes, you can set up forecasting over multiple Y-Axis in a chart. 

5. Forecast option is not available in my Chart settings, why?

Forecasting will be enabled when it matches certain conditions, which are briefed below:

  • The chart type should be any one of the following:
    Line Chart, Bar Chart, Stacked Bar Chart, Scatter Chart, Area Chart, Stacked Area Chart, Web Chart, Combo Charts.
  • The X-axis of the chart should be a TIME series or NUMBER series.
  • Charts should have only one dimension column in X-axis: Forecasting will be enabled only when the chart has a single dimension column (in X-axis). If the chart contains Text, Color, Size or Tooltip, then forecasting will not be enabled.
  • Atleast one aggregate function should be present in Y-axis: Forecasting can be applied over the aggregate function alone. if all the Y-axis series in the chart contain advanced summarizing options like running total, then forecasting will not be enabled.
  • If the chart is filtered with a numeric column, then forecasting will be disabled. The forecasting based on filtered data might give inaccurate results, hence forecasting is disabled.

6. How Forecasting works in Zoho Analytics?

Zoho Analytics offers a powerful forecasting engine which predicts future data points based on past data. The forecasting engine offers a range of customizations such as number of units to be forecasted, number of data points to be ignored in the past data and the formatting to be applied over the forecasted data points.

The following points describe how the forecasting engine works in Zoho Analytics:

  1. The forecasting engine analyses past data points.
  2. Based on the past data, the forecasting engine will identify the periodicity using auto-correlation method.
  3. Then it computes the seasonality, trend and randomness using the past data.
  4. By iterative processing, the forecasting engine fine-tunes the computed seasonality, trend and randomness.
  5. The engine runs linear, logarithmic and exponential regressions and identifies the data series falls under linear, logarithmic or exponential.
  6. The accuracy of the predicted results will be verified using Hindcasting. Hindcasting is the process of predicting the past data points and verify the same with the actual points.
  7. Once all verifications are done, the forecasting engine produces the final forecasted points

7. The forecasted points shown in chart are different to the shared users. Why?

The chart could have been shared with different filter criteria to the shared users. Number of past data points available in the shared data could very for different shared users, hence the forecasted points are different for shared users.

8. The underlying data and drill down options are not available for forecasted data points. Why?

The forecasted points will not have underlying data generated for each of the forcasted data points. Hence, View Underlying Data and Drill Down options will not be available for forecasted data points.

Troubleshooting Tips

1. I could not find "Forecast" option in chart settings. Why?

This could happen when the forecast constraints are not met. Please refer to the constraints specified.

2. Already configured forecasting settings are not available now. Why?

This could happen when the design of the chart has been modified, which does not match the forecast constraints.

3. I have configured forecasting for my chart. But it says, "Forecasting is disabled as the data is completely ignored". Why?

This could happen if you had set to ignore all the past data points from "Ignore Last" setting.

4. I have configured forecasting for my chart. But it says, "Forecasting is disabled as there is not enough data to identify pattern". Why?

This could happen when there is no sufficient data produced to forecasting engine to come up with forecasted data points.

5. I have configured forecasting for my chart. But it says, "Forecasting is disabled as there are more than 40% empty values". Why?

When the past data points provided to the forecasting engine has more null values, the forecasted points might be inaccurate. To avoid this, the forecasting engine will discard the process when the null values are more than 40% in the given data.

6. I have configured forecasting for my chart. But it says, "Column cannot be forecast as more than 5 data points is required". Why?

To produce an accurate forecast, the data points to be considered for forecasting should be more than 5 points. Try changing the time series in X-axis to a more granular function which may result in more data points. For example, If the existing time series is Year, then change to Month & Year.

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