When the Institute of Business Forecasting & Planning (IBF) was formed, I was still in diapers. Around the same time that Dr. Jain had the novel idea of bringing business practitioners together to learn and grow together I was only crawling over my father’s journal article notes. I didn’t know it at the time, but early in the lifespan of the IBF my father, Dr. Evangelos Simos, was already in the midst of what has become a long and fruitful relationship between him and the organization. After attending his first IBF conference he was hooked, and has since worked to help solidify this professional group by providing advice and contributing an international outlook piece for the Journal of Business Forecasting (JBF). Now 30 years later I couldn’t help but smile when I opened my mail to find that same JBF I have known my whole life with all of its outstanding articles only it had a wonderful sleek new look.
Today the IBF is as strong as ever and I now work alongside my father doing economic research and consulting for our company e-forecasting.com. We work closely with the IBF regarding the organization as an important ally in the field of business forecasting and a real educational pioneer. With our company, I do my best to follow the lead of the IBF in their cutting edge use of social media constantly staying ahead of the crowd when it comes to embracing new technologies. Over the last two years I’ve watched the LinkedIn groups, Facebook fan page and Twitter page help snowball their popularity and reach of the IBF, helping to build what is now a global brand.
It’s great to see that along with this digital adoption of social media, the IBF is not neglecting good old print. This summer, the beloved JBF definitely received an ultimate makeover.
The new JBF continues to bring you the latest in research and trends as it always has. With each issue it brings in new case studies and methods from a variety of contributors from the business and academic side of the field. There are also ongoing contributions sprinkled in as well. My father’s piece on the global economic outlook made the cut and is still there.
Additionally, in what I call a “what-a-small world” coincidence, Dr. Larry Lapide, who I was classmates with his daughter at Carnegie Mellon, also writes a recurring article for the journal. In the latest issue of the JBF Dr. Lapide, an affiliate at MIT and a professor at UMASS-Boston, shares a bit of research on predictive metrics which one of his MIT grad students completed.
What else can you find in the revamped JBF? The lead article, authored by Dr. Jain and Mark Covas gives us Six Rules for Effective Demand Planning in a Volatile Economy. That should come in pretty handy, especially if we see a double dip. Steve Keifer, VP of GXS, champions the use of some forward-looking demand signals, rather than hailing POS data as the all-mighty. Rounding out the JBF Summer 2010 issue, Sara Brumbaugh, the founder of Ceres Analytics, gives a very in depth view on how to use marketing data to strengthen forecasts. It is a must read. The final piece, by Jack Malehorn takes a look at the domestic economic outlook, sharing forecast figures from top US economists on GDP, inflation and other key macroeconomic variables which are key forecast drivers.
It sounds pretty much like the same solid publication you’ve seen all these years, right? Well where the cutting edge educational content is concerned it is, and then it isn’t. It’s actually pretty. Smart and pretty, a killer combo. The new design and color layout help make the journal a bit livelier and easier to read. Even I can admit that reading through concepts like regression analysis, MAPE and inventory levels can be dry at times. My favorite update is the expanded Executive Summary at the beginning of each major article. It gives a nice high-level view of what’s in store so you can bookmark the article for later. There’s also info on upcoming events and online training with reminders to stay connected with social media and get involved.
IBF continues to be a leader. Not just in demand planning and forecasting, but as seen with the updated JBF and social media efforts, it is now serving as a true role model for organizations that strive to adapt and stay relevant. I look forward to continuing watching the IBF grow and help me grow professionally as well. What will the next 30 years of IBF look like? I can’t wait to find out.
Maria E Simos