Companies Achieve Intelligent Forecasting with Prevedere
Somewhere in the DNA of every new business, there is an “aha.”
For Rich Wagner, CEO and president of Prevedere, that insight came when he recognized how much more powerful business intelligence could become if the internal data that companies collect and analyze could be correlated with external micro and macroeconomic data.
“I went into large companies to help them learn how to use technology,” said Wagner, who was a director of IT strategy at the time. “What I saw was the evolution of information and how business leaders were going to consume it. We were moving from reactive to predictive. Then I saw a company’s data warehouse, and I simply asked a CFO, what are we missing? He told me, we have the internal history, we need data on the leading external drivers. They needed to use that data from outside their four walls as easily and readily as they could use internal data. It was an epiphany.”
Wagner assessed the available tools. He didn’t find a solution that matched his vision, so, like so many visionary entrepreneurs, he seized the moment and built his own. That was in 2014. Today, Prevedere’s cloud analytics engine helps hundreds of leading companies in consumer goods, retail, manufacturing, private equity, and more. Companies use Prevedere to model scenarios of uncertainty.
Like every other aspect of the economy, the pandemic created a major shift for Prevedere. The company was able to assist customers as businesses were whipped about by external forces that were previously no imaginable. Demand and supply has changed around the globe.
“Today, when we introduce ourselves to new customers, we no longer have to emphasize external forces on a business. We just start off with today’s world,” Wagner said. “The forecasting process within companies is broken. Models no longer work. Before, companies could set up quarterly and annual plans without much adjustment. Now, companies can’t rely on past trends or what the sales person says. Behaviors have changed. The economy has changed and continues to evolve.”
Prevedere Harnesses the World’s Data to Transform Planning and Strategy
Prevedere’s predictive platform equips an organization to leverage data from internal and external sources, via machine learning algorithms and AI (artificial intelligence). For every company, there are leading external economic drivers. Prevedere uses unique software algorithms to mine more than 4 million model-ready data sources—both publicly available and subscription-based—to construct forecasting models that are specific to client’s products, markets, and needs.
“Covid is a dramatic event,” Wagner said. “With external data, there are always peaks – maybe a hurricane season with a larger number of hurricanes – but the peaks aren’t sustained and continuous. This is a dramatic change in the way people behave. The growth rate of online shopping, for example, outpaced decades in just one year.”
Current times call for a forecasting revolution, Wagner says, not evolution, and Prevedere is ready. “In one or two years, it will be unheard of that a company doesn’t incorporate automated and repeatable external factors into their forecasts,” he said. “Every competitive company is going to have to watch the external world in a more sophisticated way.”
Prevedere Offers New Innovations in Modeling to Manage Two Years of Outliers and Beyond
Outliers—the black swan events or trends—are the bane of business modeling and forecasting. “With 2020-2021 we have two years of outlier data,” Wagner said. “We are learning new ways to model based on these scenarios. From a technical standpoint, we are working to put more automation and intelligence around routine decisions to help certain areas of businesses become more self-driving.”
As a solutions visionary in a predictive business, Wagner naturally has an instinct about what might be coming next. He zeroes in on talent.
“All our customers, from retailers to others, are impacted by acquiring talent and getting people back into their jobs and staffing correctly,” he said. “For technical businesses, remote work has made the search for talent ultra-competitive. What’s going to happen with working parents and school-age kids? What happens when one gets sick and has to quarantine? A lot is going on from the human and health standpoint.”
Prevedere was early to market and educating potential customers was a big job.
“We were creating the market,” Wagner said. “Now intelligent forecasting is a market, and we have the best solution to leverage external insight and help our customers gain competitive advantage. In times like these great companies are made or lost. When there is so much volatility, companies need information more than ever. We have a great product and a great team. Every company will be doing this. It is the right way to business. They really feel it now. Now is our time.”