Daily Archives: August 17, 2009

Want Better Forecasts? Tie Your Key Stakeholder’s Performance Bonuses To Them!

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A recent article on CFO.com on imperfect futures, which discussed the great deal of uncertainty in today’s economy and how hard forecasting has become, contained a novel and often overlooked idea for creating more accurate forecasts (on average). See how much your people will bet on them!

Betting, often administered through on-line prediction markets, has famously foretold the results of recent elections and Super Bowl match-ups. and is now being used by some companies to try and create a window into their corporate futures. Some companies, like Ford, have achieved good results with the methodology in preliminary applications in NPD. (Perhaps Ford should have used the methodology more broadly, given the current state of the American automotive sector? But I digress.) Electronic Arts has used it to gauge future release popularity within 2%, four times as good as the usual results achieved from in-person polling.

But I’d take it one step further. I’d make it a key factor in the determination of the bonus of each key stakeholder (who should be coming together from the various business units in the creation of a consensus forecast which combines all of your organizational intelligence) — and penalize them for each percentage point the forecast is off, either-way. You’d get more cooperation that way, since no one would want someone else deciding their fate when they could do something about it. You’d also see more scenarios analyzed in the construction of the forecast, since it would take repeated iterations before you came to a majority agreement. Thoughts?

And the Ratings Roller Coaster Ride Continues

Because I will not publish comparative rankings that cannot be substantiated by one or more external sources, and because I claimed that SI was ranked #1 among the supply management blogs the first time this blog took #1 in the Alexa rankings (primarily because it was the ranking site most favored by the blog that was ranked #1 on Alexa for quite some time), I have no problems pointing out that, as of Saturday (August 15), Sourcing Innovation slid back to the #2 spot on Alexa (with an Alexa rank of 324,279) while Spend Matters climbed back on top (with an Alexa rank of 317,868). [Get the Updated Facts]

But that’s fine by me. Why?

  1. Sourcing Innovation Always Bounces Back
    Every second time the ranking engines “renormalize” their ranking algorithms, my ratings drop. But they always bounce back. And even if SI doesn’t ever make #1 again (on Alexa), that would be okay because I’m confident SI will continue to do what it has done since day one … and that’s grow in visitors, visits, and hits and continue to grow in breadth and reach — and that’s all that really matters.
  2. Spend Matters Brought Back the “A” Game
    The last few months have seen not only an increase in the quantity of posts, but in the quality … harkening back to the early days when Spend Matters was breaking new ground. The in-depth coverage of the Staffing Services Providers in particular (in the late Spring) was great and brought you useful information that you can use to help you identify the providers that might be right for you. And as long as Spend Matters posts information that helps you, dear reader, I have no problem nipping at its heels.
  3. SI’s goal was to be the #1 niche blog dedicated to Innovation
    SI is about “best practices, education and innovation in sourcing, procurement, and supply management” and bringing you useful information day-in and day-out that can help you become a better sourcing and procurement professional. It was never the intent to make SI a news site, forum, commentary on current events, talk radio, print publication replacement, or analyst alternative. SI, which grew 30% in unique visitors in a single month last quarter, is doing phenomenal against its goal. What more could I want?
  4. SI Still Outranks A (Large) Number of (Big) Print Publications in (Daily) Web Traffic
    Sure the print publications have more recipients on the paper-copy and e-mail lists, but when it comes to daily web-traffic day-in and day-out, SI does very well because, unlike these publications which offer very little new content on their web site in any given week, SI brings you new content every single day.
  5. SI is Still the #2 Blog in Supply Management
    SI reaches (well) over 10,000 unique visitors every month. This traffic, combined with its steady growth, is why SI has ranked #1, at least temporarily, on each of the five major traffic ranking sites over the past six months.
  6. SI is very close to another big milestone.
    One where it will be only the second blog in the Supply Management space to achieve that milestone. SI is only three years old. The best is yet to come.

And SI’s traffic, which is still increasing month-over-month, is extremely impressive for a niche blog in Supply Management, so I’m quite happy with its progress … and the next post will be back to regular programming.