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Forecast/Scheduling Questions

  • 1.  Forecast/Scheduling Questions

    Posted 09-29-2023 10:30

    We are in the process of implementing the Genesys Cloud and while working through it, I had a few questions that I was hoping someone that is currently using maybe be able to help me.  (I should mention we are a BOP and we forecast/schedule for multiple clients, that are all slightly different)

    1. Forecasting: How to validate the data in the system (if there is a day that is abnormal how do we flag that it shouldn't be used as data in the forecast or would we be relying solely on AI?) <u5:p></u5:p>
    2. Forecasting: How to choose the weeks of history to forecast from? (Example we have certain seasonality with some of our clients that we would want to use the patterns for the prior year, is there a way to select the dates we would want to use?) <u5:p></u5:p>
    3. Forecasting: How to exclude data when forecasting? (Example holidays, is there a way to flag that it shouldn't be used in the pattern for forecast and/or how do we make sure the system is looking at previous holidays when forecasting for the next ones or is this going to be AI driven?) <u5:p></u5:p>
    4. Scheduling: Breaks – It seems that you can set the breaks relevant to shift start, but is there a way to set them relevant to the previous break?  (i.e., can you say that the agent must work 1.5 hr before their next break to ensure they won't get back-to-back breaks) <u5:p></u5:p>
    5. Forecast/Scheduling: Smoothing Data – Is there a way to smooth interval data, or choose not to smooth interval data? <u5:p></u5:p>
    6. Forecasting: Import short term interval forecast data, it says you can import for 6 weeks, is that 6 weeks total or 6 weeks per import? <u5:p></u5:p>
    7. Forecasting: Long Range forecasting for clients, some clients request a year to year and a half forecast/requirement at a time, is there a way to do this as the most we have seen in the options is 26 weeks? <u5:p></u5:p>

    Thanks in advance for any help.


    #Forecasting
    #Scheduling

    ------------------------------
    Jamie O'Brien
    DialAmerica Marketing, Inc.
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  • 2.  RE: Forecast/Scheduling Questions

    GENESYS
    Posted 09-30-2023 09:41
    Edited by Jay Langsford 09-30-2023 09:47

    I'll let @Daniel Chapdelaine on the PM side address most of your forecasting questions.

    For #6, there are several import options for forecast: 1. resultant forecast (you create a final forecast using whatever data and methodologies and import the final one into Genesys Cloud); 2. import up to 6 weeks of source data for the weighted historical index method (WHI); 3. import up to 6 days per source day in WHI; 4. utilize historical data import (general use here is bootstrapping until you have enough native data).

    For #7: Automatic Best Method Selection support forecasts up to 6 weeks (starting up to 26 weeks in the future) and a long-term interval up to 104 weeks.

    General comment on manually choosing dates to include/exclude, seasonality (daily, monthly, yearly), smoothing, outlier detection, etc.: ABM method offers built-in capabilities and should be the default choice when wanting to create a forecast. https://help.mypurecloud.com/articles/automatic-best-method-forecast-method-overview/ . Some items like smoothing are really feel good measures that typically result in significantly worse forecast accuracy - note I am differentiating basic smoothing to say natural dampening affect of outliers that occurs naturally/natively with ABM.

    For #4, I would recommend utilizing the min/max contiguous work time constraint. This governs the min/max time between activities marked as counting toward work time and those that are not.



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    Jay Langsford
    VP, R&D
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  • 3.  RE: Forecast/Scheduling Questions

    Posted 11-03-2023 09:50

    Hello Jay, Thank you for answering my questions.  For #7, you mentioned that the ABM would be the best method to use for long-term forecast, and based on what I have been able to see thus far, I think I would agree with that.  However, being a BOP we often have to supply potential clients with long range forecasts, using their information.  As that would not be on our switch, ABM wouldn't be available to use.  For those, would you recommend using the Import Short-Term Interval Forecast Data 6 weeks at a time?
    Thank you again for your time in answering these questions, its been a HUGE help! 



    ------------------------------
    Jamie O'Brien
    DialAmerica Marketing, Inc.
    ------------------------------



  • 4.  RE: Forecast/Scheduling Questions

    GENESYS
    Posted 11-06-2023 09:41

    Hello Jamie, 

    In this situation, importing a 6-week forecast would be the best method. In the future, we plan to allow multiple file loads through the HDI, which might help with these BPO situations, allowing users to quickly bring in new history as they like when they want and use ABM.

    Thanks,



    ------------------------------
    Daniel Chapdelaine,
    Product Manager, WFM Forecasting
    Genesys - Employees
    ------------------------------



  • 5.  RE: Forecast/Scheduling Questions

    GENESYS
    Posted 10-03-2023 10:16

    Hello Jamie!

    I am the product manager of forecasting, and I will answer your questions.

    1. Unfortunately, we do not have this functionality; we are looking at adding a feature allowing users to tag "events' from the history and set a new value or scale it by a % to help the AI. You would currently rely on the AI in the Automatic Best Method forecast.

      You can follow the progress of this feature via the Aha! Ideas https://genesyscloud.ideas.aha.io/ideas/WEFRC-I-35.

    2. This would depend on the type of forecast you are creating. If it is an Automatic Best Method forecast, it uses all the history in Genesys Cloud to make the Forecast. Mind you, the AI/ML does do a lot of work cleaning the historical data, finding outliers, and detecting seasonality or trends.

      Using the Weighted Historical Index, you can import eight weeks of source data or select the eight weeks you want in your forecast via the UI (see screenshot below). 

    3. Once again, it depends on the type of forecast you create in Genesys Cloud. If you are using the Automatic Best Method, there is no way to exclude data around holidays or a way to ensure the forecasting engine is looking at previous holidays; it is all AI-driven. However, as a later phase of work for a new feature allowing users to tag "events" from the history, we plan to add the ability to tell the system if this event will happen in the future to ensure the AI considers it.
    4. This is more @Paul Wood territory as he is the PM of Scheduling, but no, they are all relative to the start and end of the shift.
    5. No, there is no way to smooth the interval data. It is currently not on the roadmap, but we would like to add it as a feature one day. Feel free to submit an idea for this; if it garners enough votes, we can consider moving it up in priority. 

    As for questions 6 and 7, Jay did a good job of answering them. Jamie, these are great questions and are all features that are on our roadmap (except 5) being actively worked on, and we are targeting to release some of these features hopefully in the second half of 2024. I hope this answers your questions and if you have any more please feel free to reach out to me. 

    Thanks,

    Danny



    ------------------------------
    Daniel Chapdelaine,
    Product Manager, WFM Forecasting
    Genesys - Employees
    ------------------------------



  • 6.  RE: Forecast/Scheduling Questions

    Posted 10-04-2023 21:04

    Hello Daniel, 

    I'm hoping to tag onto this conversation for question #7 brought up on forecasting. I can see the ability to create a forecast up to 104 weeks out, but I am not seeing that there is the ability to actually generate a schedule based off of that forecast past roughly 6 months from today's date. Is it possible to forecast as well as generate and publish a schedule for an entire year?



    ------------------------------
    Cody Herr
    CAPITAL Services
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  • 7.  RE: Forecast/Scheduling Questions

    GENESYS
    Posted 10-05-2023 05:23

    Hi Cody, 

    the aim is to bring scheduling in line with the forecasting time horizon. This will eventually bring together the forecasting, scheduling and capacity planning elements.

    At the moment we don't have dates for when the extended scheduling will be available, we are working on a number of other scheduling-based features with a full roadmap into late 2024.

    These include:

    • Activity Plans
    • Trading Shifts with the system (non-peer trades)
    • Work Plan bidding
    • Per minute scheduling
    • Schedule fairness

    as we work our way through these we'll be reviewing the roadmap and prioritising new features to begin working on in H2 2024.
    As you can see from the continuous scheduling idea this is an area that has a lot of interest and we are creating the foundation, with forecasting, to support this.

    Paul



    ------------------------------
    Paul Wood
    Product Manager for Genesys Cloud Workforce Management
    ------------------------------



  • 8.  RE: Forecast/Scheduling Questions

    Posted 11-03-2023 09:37

    Thank you Daniel!



    ------------------------------
    Jamie O'Brien
    DialAmerica Marketing, Inc.
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  • 9.  RE: Forecast/Scheduling Questions

    GENESYS
    Posted 10-04-2023 05:02

    Hi Jamie, 

    for #4 there is an idea in the Ideas Lab for adding the ability to set the time between Work Plan Activities:

    Defined time periods between activities in work plans

    Please take a look and add your comments and vote, this will help us prioritise future developments and enhancements.

    thank, 

    Paul



    ------------------------------
    Paul Wood
    Product Manager for Genesys Cloud Workforce Management
    ------------------------------



  • 10.  RE: Forecast/Scheduling Questions

    Posted 10-04-2023 08:21

    Hi Jamie,

    I just wanted to note as we were unaware of this when my company made the switch from PureConnect to Genny Cloud:

    Unless you have 1-2+ years worth of data for the AI to recognize your trends/seasonality, the safest bet is to go with Weighted Historical Index forecasting.

    Before we 'turned off' PureConnect, I ran some forecasts for a few weeks out to cover us as we would not have any data to refer to for the first few weeks on the new phone system. 

    Sure you can import data, but my experience with the formatting was not pleasant - so we gave up on it. The formatting of PureConnect's export would take an insane number of hours to reformat to Genny Cloud's import template. 

    We plan to use Weighted Historical Import for a while so we know which data is being collected. 

    For example: Mondays, we usually see 2500 interactions  come through. For major holidays (Labor Day for example) - we had maybe 250 calls come through. Ideally, we would want to exclude that day and we can do so using Weighted Historical forecasting vs ABM at the moment.



    ------------------------------
    Jacqueline Turner
    Workflow Coordinator
    NYCM Insurance
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  • 11.  RE: Forecast/Scheduling Questions

    GENESYS
    Posted 10-04-2023 09:23

    I would say "Unless you have 1-2+ years worth of data for the AI to recognize your trends/seasonality, the safest bet is to go with Weighted Historical Index forecasting.", is not what Genesys would recommend. We have and continue to improve cold-start scenarios as relates to Automatic Best Method. While it is true that more data helps build better models and achieve higher accuracy, even with a few weeks of data we look at trends, level shifts, and seasonality (day of week week of month, etc.).

    I realize it is just an example, but you could use ABM and simply set a max offered count for the day for the forecast Labor Day. There is no reason to throw out ABM and all of its benefits for a use case that can be handled another way simply. That isn't to say we are not looking at further enhancements around tagging past periods for special handling.



    ------------------------------
    Jay Langsford
    VP, R&D
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  • 12.  RE: Forecast/Scheduling Questions

    Posted 11-03-2023 09:42

    Thank you Jacqueline.  



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    Jamie O'Brien
    DialAmerica Marketing, Inc.
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