Wise Practitioner – Predictive Analytics Interview Series: Michael Galtress at AppFolio - Machine Learning Times - machine learning & data science news
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5 months ago
Wise Practitioner – Predictive Analytics Interview Series: Michael Galtress at AppFolio

 

By: Eric Siegel, Founder, Predictive Analytics World for Business

In anticipation of his upcoming conference presentation at Predictive Analytics World for Business Las Vegas, May 31-June 4, 2020, we asked Michael Galtress, Director, Business Analytics & Insights at AppFolio, a few questions about their deployment of predictive analytics. Catch a glimpse of his presentation, Building Analytics Community and Culture for Impact, and see what’s in store at the PAW Business conference in Las Vegas.

Q: Can you tell us a bit about AppFolio?

A: AppFolio offers industry-specific, cloud-based business software solutions to the real estate and legal markets. AppFolio was founded in 2006 and is headquartered in Santa Barbara, CA. We are proud to have been recently named in the top 50 ‘Best Places to Work’ for 2020 by Glassdoor.

Q: In your work with predictive analytics, what behavior or outcome do your models predict?

A: We use predictive models to forecast revenue results and sales close rates, and serve this data to internal stakeholders through dashboards. We’re also exploring the use of predictive models to anticipate when our customers will submit a support case, so we can intervene and solve issues proactively within the product instead.

Q: How does predictive analytics deliver value at your organization — what is one specific way in which it actively drives decisions or operations?

A: Some of our revenue streams have a great deal of variation with a very nuanced set of drivers. We use predictive analytics to deliver daily projections of monthly revenue results and have observed a new level of forecast accuracy as a result. More importantly, these models tell us what drivers are tracking to or outside of our expectations and allow us to course-correct when necessary.

Q: Can you describe a quantitative result, such as the predictive lift of your model or the ROI of an analytics initiative?

A: A projection from one of our revenue models led to research that uncovered an unintended financial impact of a seemingly unrelated product change. The business responded very quickly and was able to remedy the issue immediately, resulting in significant savings and a new understanding of the workflow in question.

Q: What surprising discovery or insight have you unearthed in your data?

A: We’ve been surprised about the impact certain aspects of the monthly calendar have on particular revenue streams. Accounting for what day a month starts on, holidays, etc. has made a huge difference in some of our models. Outside of the predictive space, we’ve used clustering methods to understand usage archetypes within our product and pulled some great insights comparing these to the existing roles we offer users.

Q: Sneak preview: Please tell us a take-away that you will provide during your talk at Predictive Analytics World.

A: Executive engagement and support is a critical piece of a successful Analytics ecosystem. Our Analytics & Research Community’s (ARC) ‘Challenge Showcase’ framework has proven successful in building energy and inspiring action with AppFolio’s senior leaders. I’ll be sharing more on this framework and examples of related Analytics wins at AppFolio.

Q: How can our readers learn more about opportunities in Analytics at AppFolio?

A: Visit our careers page at https://www.appfolioinc.com/careers or reach out to me directly.

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Don’t miss Michael’s presentation, Building Analytics Community and Culture for Impact, at PAW Business on Tuesday, June 2, 2020 from 5:10 to 5:30 PM. Click here to register for attendance.

By: Eric Siegel, Founder, Predictive Analytics World for Business

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