Frequently Asked Questions
This is a list of some frequently asked questions about Smart Software and its products and services, arranged according to the following topic categories:
Q&A About SmartForecasts:
What differentiates SmartForecasts from its competitors?
Just for starters there’s universal database connectivity, highly accurate patented intermittent demand forecasting technology, inventory optimization tools, robust promotion planning and management capabilities, and an easy-to-use, intuitive user interface. Take a look at “The Smart Difference” for more information about the solutions and benefits that help differentiate SmartForecasts from the competition.
Who uses SmartForecasts?
SmartForecasts is designed to meetand anticipatethe demand forecasting and planning requirements of manufacturing, marketing, operations and inventory professionals. It is used worldwide by industry leaders such as Monsanto, Mitsubishi, Siemens, Abbott Laboratories, Disneyland Resorts, GE, and The Coca-Cola Company, as well as hundreds of small and mid-market enterprises.
How much statistical knowledge is required to use SmartForecasts?
SmartForecasts can be run easily by people with no statistical training, using the Automatic forecasting feature. Indeed, if you have worked with a spreadsheet or database, you can work successfully with SmartForecasts. But the more you know, the more you can do, and SmartForecasts does contain a number of advanced features and methods, including autocorrelation and multivariate regression analysis. Smart Software provides optional training that introduces users to the basic concepts and methods of statistically-based forecasting and planning.
What are the system requirements for SmartForecasts?
SmartForecasts runs on the Microsoft Windows operating system: Windows 98, NT, 2000, XP and above. The recommended computer hardware requirements are a Pentium 4 or faster processor with at least 512 MB of RAM.
Do I need a network server to run SmartForecasts?
No. SmartForecasts can optionally be installed on a server, but is commonly run as a client application on a Pentium PC or similar Windows workstation.
Is SmartForecasts Excel-based?
No. However, it can easily import and export Excel files, and its user interface will be very familiar to any Excel user. If you are a user of Excel and other Microsoft Office® applications, you’ll feel right at home with SmartForecasts’ design and mode of operation.
What is involved with integrating SmartForecasts with our other systems?
As part of its commitment to universal database connectivity, Smart Software has developed a set of powerful tools that help integrate SmartForecasts with other corporate information systems. Database “wizards” make it easy to connect directly with host databases such as Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server, and IBM DB2, as well as planning systems built on these and other ODBC compliant databases. Some Smart Software partners, such as Sage and Epicor, have developed custom interfaces between SmartForecasts and their ERP systems. Smart Software can also develop interfaces for other planning systems. Finally, SmartForecasts fully supports traditional ASCII file transfers as well as Excel files.
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Q&A About SmartCollaborator:
How much statistical knowledge is required to use SmartCollaborator?
None. The statistical part of the job is handled entirely within SmartForecasts. What SmartCollaborator users bring to the process is their personal knowledge of specific products, markets and customers. They use this knowledge to adjust the statistically-based system forecasts using a simple spreadsheet-like interface and then provide feedback which will be incorporated by other SmartCollaborator users in creating a consensus forecast.
What types of people use SmartCollaborator and where do they have to be located?
SmartCollaborator users can include any individuals inside or outside your organization who may be able to contribute special insights to your collaborative forecasting and planning process. Good examples include sales reps, regional managers, inventory planners, product managers, distributors, and even key customers and suppliers. Because SmartCollaborator is a web-based application, these individuals can be located at corporate headquarters or anywhere else around the world.
What are the system requirements for SmartCollaborator?
Minimal. SmartCollaborator users need only a standard web browser, such as Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox.
Do I need a server to run SmartCollaborator?
Yes. SmartCollaborator runs on a web server, which you maintain, running Microsoft IIS 6. You also need SmartForecasts, which can (but need not) be installed on your network server.
What is involved with integrating SmartCollaborator with our other systems?
Nothing. SmartCollaborator is a companion product to SmartForecasts, with which it integrates seamlessly. All database and ERP integration is handled through SmartForecasts.
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Q&A About Product Support, Training and Consulting:
What does support and maintenance for your software products include?
For each SmartForecasts or SmartCollaborator system that your organization purchases, Smart Software makes available a comprehensive customer support and maintenance plan on an annual basis. The fee for the plan is set at a reasonable percentage of the software’s then-current retail price. For more details on our support and maintenance services, please click here.
What type of product training and consulting services do you offer? Do you have seminars?
Smart Software offers a complete range of product training and business consulting programs, as well as database integration and implementation services, to help you get the most from SmartForecasts and SmartCollaborator. We typically provide training seminars onsite at your location, but we can also provide training remotely via the Internet or at our own training facility.
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