Q: In your work with predictive analytics, what behavior or outcome do your models predict? A: The organizations we study use predictive analytics to forecast just about anything: consumer behavior, employee turnover, exchange rates, etc. For example on of our study participants was able to pinpoint trends in attrition by the employee tenure and potential. Q: How does predictive analytics deliver value at your organization – what is one specific way in which it actively drives decisions or operations? A: Predictive analytics allows organizations to make decisions that are a) better informed and b) less prone to cognitive bias. In short, predictive analytics promotes objectivity. Another participant of this study was able to improve its understanding of its customers by integrating quantitative trends as context its traditional qualitative customer feedback. The trends helped decision makers understand what feedback was related to an actual impact on the overall customer experience. Q: Can you describe a quantitative result, such as the predictive lift of your model or the ROI of an analytics initiative? A: Another study participant used language dictionaries and step-wise regression to see if internal social media use could predict employee engagement scores—with the explicit goal of using real-time social media data to create an understanding of real-time employee engagement. The study was a success and the language dictionaries were able to account for approximately 48 percent of the variation in engagement scores. Q: What surprising discovery or insight have you unearthed? A: The most surprising thing that we have found is the continued struggle to effectively adopt data-driven decision making in organizations. Though organizations continue to invest in data and analytics capabilities, they still indicate that establishing a data-driven culture continues to be among their greatest challenges. Often, this is a result of poor integration and communications between the business and the analytics sides of the house. Q: Sneak preview: Please tell us a take-away that you will provide during your talk at Predictive Analytics World. A: When building a data-driven organization, don’t start with sophisticated tools and technology; begin by creating a data-driven culture. Like any other shift in how an organization operates, a well thought out change management plan is necessary to ensure you can garner the benefits of your investment in data-driven decision making.