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 analyzes your past data deeply and comes up with the best forecast for the future. You can setup a forecast in a chart using a very simple setup process, without worrying about the underlying complexity.

This document will help you learn about how forecasting works in Zoho Analytics, and how to 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?

To set up Forecasting in your chart, follow the steps below.

  • Open the chart in which you want to set up the forecast. Refer here to know forecasting is available for the chart. 

  • Click the Settings icon. The Charts Settings page will open.

  • Open the Forecast tab and click Add Forecast. All the possible Y-axis series to be forecasted will be listed.

  • Select the Y-axis data that needs to be forecasted. In the options that appear, enter the following details: 

    • Forecast Length: Select the number of data points to be forecasted. 

    • Ignore Last: Enter the number of previous data points to be ignored. 

    • Confidence Percentage: Specify the percentage accuracy with which the forecasting should occur. Higher confidence percentages increase the upper and lower limits within which the real observation could fall.. This option is applicable only for the line charts. 

    • Legend Name: Enter the legend title for the forecasted data series.

    • Formatting: Specify the format of the forecasted data.

 

  • Once the necessary settings are set, click Apply. The forecasted data 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 detailed below:

  • The chart should be in one of the following supported formats: Line chart, Bar Chart, Stacked Bar Chart, Scatter Chart, Area Chart, Stacked Area Chart, Web Chart and Combo Charts (without Bubble Charts).

  • The X-axis of the chart should either be a time series or a number series.

  • There should be more than five data points in the X-axis to ensure accurate forecasting.

  • Atleast 60% of the past data points should not be null, to enable forecasting. 

  • The chart should contain only a single dimension column in the X-axis, i.e. there should not be any values in the Text, Color, Size or Tooltip fields.

  • Aggregate function should be applied over at least one value in the Y-axis to enable forecasting. Values with advanced summarizing options such as running total applied over it cannot be used to forecast future data points.

  • Numeric columns cannot be used as filters in the chart, as forecasting based on filtered data may provide inaccurate results.

6. How Forecasting works in Zoho Analytics?

Zoho Analytics offers a powerful forecasting engine that predicts future data points based on past data. The forecasting engine offers a range of customization 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:

  • The seasonality, trend and randomness of the data is computed, which is then fine-tuned using iterative processing. 

  • The forecasting engine then runs linear, logarithmic and exponential regressions to categorize the data series as linear, logarithmic or exponential.

  • The accuracy of these predictions is verified using hindcasting. This is a type of back testing that uses the prediction results to estimate past data points, and verifies it with the actual data from the past.

  • Once the verification is complete, the forecasting engine displays the forecasted data points. 

Click here to learn more.

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 forecasted 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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