Why forecasting & scheduling are essential for quality content moderation

Ksenia Hausman, Besedo’s Head of Tactical Planning, gives an insight into her role and takes us behind-the-scenes to explain the planning, scheduling, and forecasting that goes into meeting clients’ content moderation needs.

Interviewer: Nice to talk with you! Let’s start by learning about you and your role at Besedo.

Ksenia: I’m Ksenia, originally from Volgograd in Russia, I’ve been living in Sweden for the past seven and a half years. And I’ve spent the last five working for Besedo!

Drawing on my background in finance and project management, I joined as a management trainee, before moving into several different roles across the company in operations, planning, and project management. I was Interim COO in 2016-2017, before taking over Head of Tactical Planning in 2017.

Interviewer: Excellent. Can you delve into some of the areas you’re now responsible for?

Ksenia: I’m ultimately in charge of running the Tactical Planning and Control team. My job is to ensure that we know what to expect in terms of workload for each customer and have resources in place to reach our service targets, while keeping in mind the financial perspective.

I also need to ensure that we are looking at the right metrics for different parts of our business to better understand and address our performance, make the right business decisions, and have a proper framework to allow for proactive follow-up.

Interviewer: It sounds like you have a broad range of expertise! Do you have a team in place?

Ksenia: I certainly do! I’m supported by a team of eight people – five different nationalities based in four different locations: Sweden, Malta, Romania, and Colombia. We’re responsible for everything from forecasting, resource planning, and internal reporting; to data analysis, evaluation of pricing models and driving different strategic programs forward.

Interviewer: How do you put tactical planning into practice? Where do you start?

Ksenia: Everything starts with forecasting; which basically means accurately predicting the moderation workload volume for each client. We assess this by analysing historical client data, usually the last 12-24 months, so we can see month-to-month variations and make both intra-week and intra-day forecasts on anticipated moderation items.

We also forecast the number of resources we’ll need to have in place at different times of the year; to ensure we can handle agreed service levels for each client. The next step is to schedule and deploy resources, matching our moderation experts’ availability with business needs.

Another one of our tasks is providing data and analysis for internal reporting, helping to define metrics for different parts of Besedo’s business. This means working closely with the operations team to understand what’s working well and what the main areas of improvement are – and knowing what we need to do to meet both client KPIs as well as our internal targets.

Precision is key in all cases. The more granular the data is, the more accurate our projections become.

Interviewer: Do you also use aggregated client data to understand wider needs?

Ksenia: We do. We can draw on anonymised data to analyse more general factors and trends that reflect user behavior year-on-year. For example, we tend to find that moderation needs for online marketplaces drop during the summer or when there’s a spell of good weather. Why? Because people are online less and more concerned with being outside!

We can also identify other ‘seasonal spikes’ to forecast upcoming changes in our (and our clients’) workloads. Our tool Implio is a great source of aggregated information too, and clients can get even more value out of our services and their data by using it. By doing so, they’ll benefit from my team being able to analyze cross-client aggregated data, meaning we’ll better understand overall performance and global trends.

Interviewer: What’s the biggest challenge your team faces?

Ksenia: Limited data. When we deliver moderation through our clients´ moderation tools, we’re completely dependent on the data they are able to provide us. That’s why we place a lot of importance on having open and honest dialogue with our clients from the very start of our relationship: right from the pre-sales phase. And we need to be kept updated on changes too, so that we can do the best job possible for them.

Small product changes can have a big effect on volumes; such as if a client makes a change to their content moderation strategy, or if they are working on an aggressive new marketing campaign. Renewed interest has a knock-on effect.

Ultimately, the more information and communication we have, the better and more precise our client service becomes and the more operationally ready we can be.

Interviewer: What’s the most interesting or enjoyable part of your job?

Ksenia: The problem-solving part is what I really enjoy! Working closely with operations managers, I look at different, often tricky, cases to better understand why the current resource and staffing levels aren’t achieving optimum response time performance or meeting client´s KPIs or expected profitability. This involves analysing an account from different perspectives and finding ways to improve things.

It is also a fantastic opportunity to work super closely with service delivery teams – who are probably most plugged into the customer’s voice – and strategy. Being involved in many cross-functional projects gives a very good insight and understanding of what is happening in the company and how our work contributes to the long-term vision of Besedo.

Interviewer: Can you give an example of an achievement you and your team has reached that made you proud?

Ksenia: It’s hard to pick just one, but I’m constantly pleased at how engaged everyone in my team is. Despite being a distributed team, everyone works together well, we generate stacks of new ideas and there’s a real sense of pride and wanting to do what’s right for our company and our customers.

Interviewer: Do you think having a tactical planning and control department sets Besedo apart from competitors?

Ksenia: The short answer? Definitely! Whether it is called tactical planning, workforce management, or business intelligence – the name doesn’t really matter – having a team of experts that can make sense of data and know what needs to be done to make the business work better, is invaluable.

We have huge amounts of information at our disposal, and the more aware we are of how to make use of it, the better we can serve our clients.

Interviewer: Thanks Ksenia! Great to know that you and your team are doing everything possible to ensure clients get the moderation resources they need when they need them.

To find out more about content moderation and how it can work for your business, get in touch.


Ksenia Hausman

Ksenia has worked at Besedo since 2013. She has held multiple different positions and is currently putting her experience to good use as head of tactical planning and control.

Apart from her analytical talent Ksenia is known within Besedo for her amazing culinary skills that her (lucky) colleagues get to sample from time to time.

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