A partnership with The Tippie Analytics Cooperative keeps transportation finance firm moving forward

When you’re a critical part of a finance business that books almost $600 million (USD) in revenue annually across North America, you’re sure to be comfortable with numbers and data. You likely even have sophisticated reporting and metrics in place to guide your business. But what do you do when you need to take that next step and move towards the next generation of analytics-driven insights that can help you drive, plan, and grow the business? If you’re Rick Splinter, Strategic Solutions Manager at BMO Transportation Finance, you get in touch with the Tippie Business Analytics Cooperative.

The latest project in a three year, multi-engagement relationship between BMO Transportation Finance and Tippie College of Business saw Tippie’s business analysts scrutinizing over twelve million cells of data in order to build a month-by-month predictive model for "roll off." Roll off is an industry term for business that will "roll off" the books in the future. Paired with new business projections, accurate roll off projections provide critical insights used for operational planning across the over 600 employee organization.

“An accurate roll off model coupled with new business predictions gives us an understanding of the headcount we need to take care of our portfolio in the upcoming year,” explains Splinter.

This is far from a simple problem to solve, but Splinter explains it with a familiar ease. “Basically we need the number of account schedules that we anticipate getting paid off and will no longer be on our books. Remember, each lease or loan is in a different part of its lifecycle. And they can be of different lengths. Some people will pay them off early while others will pay them off late. Given this complexity, how do we accurately predict what is actually going to roll off our books each month?”

Tippie’s business analysts were able to help Splinter find an answer. Utilizing the data analytics techniques they refined over their student careers, they were able to tease out meaningful relationships from the gigabyte of carefully culled data BMO Transportation Finance shared. From this, Tippie’s business analysts were able to construct a model that could accurately-predict monthly roll off for the upcoming year. In fact, their model achieved 96% accuracy in the first four months.

"We came away with a program that we’ll be able to use well into the future. Equally as important, it gives us access to a talent-pool pipeline that can help us get there."

This innovative model solves a big data challenge and provides BMO Transportation Finance with a critical analytical tool they can use today and tomorrow. "We came away with a program that we’ll be able to use well into the future. Equally as important, it gives us access to a talent-pool pipeline that can help us get there."

Perhaps not today. But there’s no telling what tomorrow could bring. After all, BMO gets far more from the Tippie Analytics Cooperative than just predictive models and analytics-driven insights. Their partnership gives them access to a talent pool of students about to hit the job market. But these are not just any students. The business and data analysts coming out of the Tippie Analytics Cooperative are fluent in some of the most in-demand data analysis and technical skills businesses are increasingly reaching for. A successful recruitment campaign for top technical talent can represent a critical edge for any data intensive company.

"So far we’ve already hired two different people from the Tippie Business Analytics Cooperative directly into our teams."

"So far we’ve already hired two different people from the Tippie Business Analytics Cooperative directly into our teams," says Splinter.  "In fact, one of those hires, Dustin Balius, was the project coordinator for BMO Transportation Finance on last year's project with Tippie."

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