Dynamics 365 Business Central: Artificial Intelligence & Forecasting
Let's take a look at Artificial intelligence inside Business Central. If we go into items, on the side here, we see that we have a forecast and for the coffee cups we have not enough historical data, so it's not really calculating anything, but if I go into for example the London Swivel chair, we can see that it actually calculates. What it's doing right now, it's taking the information about this chair, all the historical data and feeding that to Cortana in the cloud and then bringing back a forecast using some forecasting algorithms about how much we are going to sell this item.
We can see here that we have three currently and then it's just going to go down into the negatives very quickly. Now if I go into clicking here into forecast settings, we have setups for sales and inventory forecast and its setup by months and it's looking at 12 months horizon. It actually is giving us a stock out warning in 3 months. Something you can set, then we have an expiration date of the forecast, which is seven days so that it actually has to recalculate after 7 days and it looks backward 24 periods, 24 months. Then there is an APA key which connects to the Cortana engine. Let’s take a look a little bit about this stock out warning horizon. What does that mean?
Stock Out Warning Horizon
If I go back here, it doesn’t really tell me any stock out warning and if I actually go into forecast here and say, create a purchase order. I can create invoice or order, I can then automatically create the purchase order for quantity 13. So, if you are wondering why did you pick 13? if I go here into 3 months ahead it's forecasting there will be –13 three months out. Do that is the stock out warning horizon and that’s why it picks that for this order. It’s a little bit allusive how this connects. You would think that there would be warning because it says warning, but no, I didn’t find any warning. There probably is some, I just didn't bump into. This holds it together when you create the purchase order. Close that out, just say yes.
Now let's take a look at another thing here, if I go into forecast setting and go into open Cortana intelligence gallery, I can see that it connects to Cortana or the Azure AI gallery and I can open this up in the studio. It asks you to create a project when you are doing this for the first time. I’ve done this a few times already. As you open up an import, just say ok, ok then you get this forecasting model uploaded. Here this is actually the forecasting that is happening in Business Central.
For example, if I click here Execute R script and the R is the mathematical language. You can see the R code over here, it's pretty hard to actually read this, it's really small, but you can actually copy paste this window and edit this also using other editors. But essentially what it does, it takes a web service input from business central, executes it in the R script, splits up the data into what we need like the actual forecast and then outputs it to Business Central. And you can create this yourself and modify it yourself. But you have to do a little bit of learning to get up to speed on that. I hope that was of some use, Artificial Intelligence is really cool and has a lot of possibilities in many different areas and we are probably going to see more of it as we advance.