Since the very beginning, forecasting accuracy has been the foremost priority of Lokad. Over 2011, we have extensively leveraged Windows Azure (our cloud computing platform) to develop forecasting models that would have been completely out of reach without the capabilities of the cloud.
We have made progress over patterns as simple as seasonality, trends or product life cycles. Those patterns are supposed to be well-known for decades, but the more we learn by looking at the data of our growing customer base, the more we realize that we are only scratching the surface.
In 2012, we are planning to dedicate efforts on forecasts at the point-of-sale level for both retail networks and eCommerce. This effort will boost the development of Shelfcheck.
Then, we will also explore alternative ways to make a better use of tags and events. More and more of our clients are now capable of feeding our forecasting engine with high-quality tags and events, which offer more opportunities to refine forecasts.
The Lokad pricing for forecast consumption hasn’t changed since November 2009, and we don’t expect any significant change for 2012 apart from minor adjustments. However Shelfcheck will benefit from a distinct pricing, not directly bound to the forecast consumption.
Over 2011, our webapp delivering inventory optimization has grown to a relatively mature and stable product. Contrary to what we announced last year, we have finally opted against the idea of importing data from Excel Instead, the majority of our users are now using our intermediate SQL format which offers a simple and reliable path to achieve complete automation with a minimum of efforts.
For the year to come, we will polish Salescast further, especially around the intermediate SQL format. Indeed, we feel that database administrators still struggle too much to import their data in Salescast. For example, we will provide better and more explicit errors messages.
Shelfcheck is our latest product, only announced a few months ago , that focuses on on-shelf availability optimization for retail networks.
At this point, a beta version of Shelfcheck is already in production on multiple stores in Europe. We plan to bring Shelfcheck out of its beta during 2012. Processing the ongoing sales stream of a large retail network at low costs is a tremendous challenge (even with the cloud). In addition, we want to establish Shelfcheck as the technology delivering the most accurate OOS alerts (out-of-shelf) of the market.
The “Hub” is the webapp in charge of managing registrations and subscriptions. Over 2011, we haven’t invested much effort on this webapp, and now, it feels somewhat antiquated, especially when compared to the more polished user interface of Salescast. Thus, in 2012, we plan to extensively refactor the Hub to simplify the management of users and subscriptions.
This roadmap isn’t carved in stone. Don’t hesitate to voice your opinion.