Data Science Book Review: Business Forecasting: Practical Problems and Solutions


The book Business Forecasting is a compilation of existing articles. Gilliland, Tashman and Sglavo edited what can be named the Bible of Business Forecasting. It contains around 50 articles that appeared in journals such as Foresight and Journal of Business Forecasting. The scope of the book is wide with topics ranging from forecast accuracy and forecastability, to new product forecasting and S&OP. Business Forecasting is structured in 4 categories: Fundamentals, Methods, Performance & Reporting and Process & Politics.

Articles are usually short and well written. While they allow a good overview of the discussed topic, several references are provided to deep dive when needed. For a few topics, more than one article is available. The reader gets various points of view, making the book more comprehensive. Only in the performance evaluation section, the introduction to some articles are redundant. While a few articles are to be read as food for thought, most of them are directly usable in your daily forecasting activities.

While all the book is valuable to me, the section on process and politics of forecasting is definitely the one with the most added value for the practitionner. The book only contains published material. The question of its relevance is to be asked. For newcomers in the field of forecasting, as well as people without subscription to magazines such as Foresight, the book is a must-have. For the others, while it is still nice to have such a compilation in one place, the book added value is lower. Let’s be honest however: there is no such comprehensive and up-to-date gathering of business forecasting articles out there. Do not hesitate too much and just go for it, you won’t be disappointed.

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