All businesses are confronted with the general problem of having to make decisions under conditions of uncertainty. Management must understand the nature of demand and competition in order to develop realistic business plans, determine a strategic vision for the organization, and determine technology and infrastructure needs. To address these challenges, forecasting is used. According to Makridakis (1989), forecasting future events can be characterized as the search for answers to one or more of the following questions:
X What new economic, technical, or sociological forces is the organization likely to face in both the near and long term?
X When might these forces impact the firm¡¦s objective environment?
X Who is likely to be first to adapt to each competitive challenge?
X How much change should the firm anticipate both in the short run and the long run?