November 25th 2014
Wise Practitioner – Predictive Analytics Interview Series: Tracey Smith of Numerical Insights, LLC
By: Greta Roberts, Conference Chair Predictive Analytics World for Workforce 2015
In anticipation of her upcoming conference presentation at Predictive Analytics World for Workforce, “Automotive Company used Predictive Analytics to Predict Headcount and Workforce Cost,” Greta Roberts interviewed Tracey Smith, President of Numerical Insights, LLC. View the Q-and-A below to see how Tracey has incorporated predictive analytics into the workforce of Numerical Insights, LLC. Also, glimpse what’s in store for the new PAW Workforce Conference.
Q: In your work with predictive analytics, what specific areas of the workforce are you focused on, (i.e., optimizing workforce productivity, using big data to solve workforce challenges, building a workforce analytics driven culture, etc.)?
A: The majority of my work is focused on optimizing my clients’ workforces. Each client is different so the specific focus of that optimization can be very unique. This is why I take a customized approach to applying predictive analytics to the workforce. The remainder of my work is in using analytics to connect HR activities and programs to business results. This connection being to determine the future expectations of these activities.
Q: Do you primarily work inside of HR – or inside of the Line of Business? If Line of Business – which one(s):
A: I primarily work through HR leaders who are leading workforce planning and analytics projects. However, the project activities require the cooperation and detailed knowledge inside each line of business, functional area or country. Hence the team members are from inside and outside of HR.
Q: What workforce outcomes do your models predict?
A: The outcomes are aligned to unique set of challenges for each client. I assist clients in prioritizing the challenges in order to focus on the ones of greatest value first.
Q: Can you describe a successful result, such as the predictive lift of one of your models or the ROI of a predictive analytics initiative?
A: Through a predictive model of the workforce needed to support future revenue values, a potential 10% cost saving was identified in the overall cost of the workforce.
Q: What area of the workforce do you think has seen (or will see) the greatest advances or ROI from the use of predictive analytics
A: Predictive analytics has been around for a long time. Twenty years ago, I was predicting the amount of heat transfer and fluid flow from automotive components. Ten years ago, I was predicting manufacturing volumes and inventory. Today, I’m predicting the workforce. The opportunities to apply predictive analytics to a business exist in almost any area of the company.
Q: Do you feel any urgency you want to pass along to your fellow HR and Business Executives to implement predictive analytics to help solve employee challenges? Why?
A: An underlying sense of urgency in all business executives is mandatory in order to compete in the modern world with its rapidly changing landscape. Lead and win, or follow and lose…but don’t rush in without a plan!
Q: What is one misunderstanding people have about using predictive analytics to solve employee challenges?
A: There is often a misunderstanding that unless the data is 100% accurate, that the data is not useful. It is often better to make a decision and move forward with some guidance than to continue with no guidance at all.
Don’t miss Tracey Smith’s conference presentation, Automotive Company used Predictive Analytics to Predict Headcount and Workforce Cost, at PAW Workforce, on Tuesday, March 31, 2015, from 3:55-4:40 pm. Click here to register for attendance.