Forecast a Staffing Plan

General Forecast

Forecasting is a tool in CXone WFM, you can use to create the optimal staffing plan. With this tool, you don't need to waste time figuring out how many agents you want on-call, or what skills you need at any given time or day to build your schedule.

First, you review the historical data from your contact center. Based on that, Forecasting predicts the expected volume of interactions and their average handle time (AHT). Then, you define how you want your center to perform. For example, you decide that each call is answered in less than 10 seconds compared to 30 seconds. Lowering the average speed of answerClosed The average amount of time it took an agent to answer an interaction after they chose the option to speak to an agent will require more agents scheduled. The last step is generating a staffing plan based on the staffing parameters and forecast data.

For accurate forecasting results, you need at least three months of historical data.

You can also create a new forecast job with imported forecast data.

Quick access to the forecasting steps:

You can learn more about Forecasting with these videos:

  • Forecasting overview tutorial: Learn how to generate a staffing plan using Forecasting.
  • Forecasting models overview: Learn about the models used within CXone WFM to generate a forecast. You'll have a deeper understanding of how CXone WFM generates forecasting data and its algorithms.
  • Select a forecast model: Learn how to select a forecasting model when creating a forecasting job (for users with the CXone WFM Advanced license).
  • Import forecast data: Learn how to import forecasting data to CXone CXone WFM using a CSV file.

To generate a new staffing forecast:

  1. Click the app selector and select CXone WFM.

  2. Go to ForecastingGenerate Forecast.

  3. Click Generate Forecast.

  4. Define the Forecasting Parameters (step 1 of Forecasting). For example, you can create a forecast and staffing plan for the following week or up to a year.

    1. Enter a Job name and, optionally, a Description.

      These details will appear in the Generate Forecast list.

    2. Choose the time zone for viewing the data.

    3. Select the Forecast Models that calculate the forecast. This feature is only available for users with the CXone WFM Advanced license.

    4. Define the forecast time period.

    5. Define the historical data time period.

      The historical data from CXone ACD is evaluated based on true to interval paradigm to generate an accurate forecast.

      See more about True to Interval (TTI) Paradigm.

    Under staffing parameters, select either:

    • Set global parameters for all forecasted skills (global)

    • Set staffing parameters for skills defined in a profile (defined in a profile

    A warning message is shown when you select either the skill set and forecast date range or the profile and forecast date range for which a forecasting job already exists. You can still go ahead and create the forecast job. The message is to help you avoid generating repetitive forecast jobs.

  5. Click Retrieve Historic Data.

    The data retrieval process may take a while. You can navigate away while you wait. On the Generate Forecast page, the forecast job status will be listed as a Retrieving requested data. Click on it when you're ready to continue.

  6. Review the Historical Data (step 2 of Forecasting). Here you review the volumeClosed The total number of interactions, including digital posts and comments, usually within a defined time and average handle timeClosed The average amount of time an agent spent handling an interaction (AHT) of your center's historical interactions, and more.

  7. Click Generate Forecast.

    Generating the forecast may take a while. You can exit this page and return when the Forecast Job status changes to Forecast ready on the Generate Forecast page.

  8. Review the Forecast Data (step 3 of Forecasting). Here you review and edit the forecasted volume and AHT your center will receive, and more. Keep in mind, the forecast data might change after generating the staffing plan.

    Keep in mind:

    • If you see areas that the AHT or volume is unusually low, see Troubleshoot Forecasting.

    • If you want to undo all of your changes, click Revert to Original.

  9. Click Generate Staffing.

  10. Define the Staffing Parameters (step 4 of Forecasting). Based on these settings, the engine determines how many people you need to handle the forecasted interactions.

    Keep in mind, if you are using a forecast profile, this section won't be available. You can only exclude a scheduling unit or add an allocation rule when you aren't using a forecast profile.

    Staffing parameters:

    • Skill allocations: Select skills from the forecast that you want to apply manual allocation. Unselected skills will be allocated automatically. You define the allocation for each skill on the CXone WFM Skill Allocations page.

    • Exclude scheduling units: Select what scheduling units you don't want to include it in the forecast job. You can exclude up to five scheduling units.

    • Shrinkage level: Adjust the staffing plan for the anticipated level of absences in your workforce. You can define one level for All day or different levels By time.

    • Service Tags: Define the targets that the staffing plan should meet.

      Each target has its own section in the Staffing Parameters. The sections will be displayed only if you have skills associated with them.

      Let's say the skills your forecasting are all Real Time Interactions. In this case, you won't see sections for Deferrable Work or Dialer.

      • Real Time Interactions: Contacts that must be handled immediately. If they are delayed, the customer may leave. This can cause customer unhappiness and missed chances.

      • Deferrable Work: Contacts that can be handled later on.

      • Dialer: A service that automatically calls a list of customers. The answered calls are then transferred to agents.

  11. Click Generate Staffing Plan.

  12. Review the Staffing plan (step 5 of Forecasting): Here you review the number of agents (vertical axis) that the forecasting projects you'll need to schedule by time (horizontal axis).

    You cannot make changes in this step.

    If you see inaccurate data in the graph, review and edit the data or parameters in the previous steps.

    Actions you can perform in staffing (Step 5).

    • Review the data as a graph or grid. To switch the view, select Graph image of graph view button in forecasting or Grid image of grid view button in forecasting .

    • Select an alternate forecast from the drop-down in the Alternative or Compare tab. Once selected, it'll get generated and displayed automatically.

      In the Compare tab, you can select two forecasts and compare their staffing plans.

    • View specific staffing data in the graph.

      You can filter the staffing data that's displayed in the graph. Each skill has a consistent color in the graph, but the type of line (such as a thick or dotted line) may change.

      In the Show graph by drop-down, you can view by:

      drop-down option



      View the graph's staffing data for the skills you select.

      Scheduling unit

      View the graph's staffing data for the scheduling units you select.

      Skills for scheduling unit

      View skills within a scheduling unit. First, select the scheduling unit you want to focus on. Then, select the skills that scheduling unit is handling.

      Total staffing

      View the graph's staffing data for all scheduling units and skills.

  13. Click Done. The Forecast job's status changes to Completed successfully. You can now use the resulting Forecast Plan in the Schedule Generator.

What If Alternative Forecasting

When you're creating a forecast to generate a staffing plan, you might reach the Forecast Data step and wonder, what would happen if...?

With the What If option, you can create alternate forecasts. Here you can change the forecast data while using the same parameters and historical data. This way, you can run parallel forecasts.

In the Forecast Data step, you can change details and edit data in the alternate and primary forecasts without affecting the rest. Navigate between the forecasts by clicking the Primary or Alternative tabs. You can view the forecasts side-by-side from the Compare tab.

There is no limit to how many alternate forecasts you can create. Keep in mind, creating more than five can slow down the forecasting process.

To use What If forecasting, you need the following permission enabled for your role: CXone WFM > Forecasting > What If Comparison: On.

Create What If Alternate Forecasts

In the Forecast Data step of forecasting, click What If.

This forecast is a duplicate of the primary one. You can make any changes to the alternative without changing the primary forecast. If you want to create more than one alternate forecast, click What If to add another.

After you create the first alternate forecast, three tabs are added to the page:

In the Alternative tab, you can:

  • Make the alternate forecast your primary: Click Set as Primary. To undo, repeat this step. The original forecast will be listed in the Alternative tab.

  • Export the historical data to a CSV file: Click Options Image of actions icon and select Export to CSV.

  • Delete an alternate forecast: You can remove an alternate forecast at any point. Click Options Image of actions icon and select Delete This Alternative.

    You can also Delete All Alternatives. This will delete of the alternate forecasts. Keep in mind, If you make an alternate forecast the primary, it will not be deleted. The original will remain as an alternate forecast and cannot be deleted.

  • Rename the alternate forecast: By default, the name of the alternative forecast shares the same name as the primary, ending with <forecast name>_Alternate.

    Let's say you called your forecast Winter Staffing. The first alternate is called Winter Staffing_Alternative1 until you rename it.

    To rename, click Options Image of actions icon and select Rename Forecast.

    You can rename an alternative forecast you know you'll use for a staffing plan.

    For example, you have three alternative forecasts to a primary called Winter Staffing. You can rename the second alternative forecast to Use This. When generated, the staffing plan will be called Winter Staffing_Use This. The remaining staffing plans will be called Winter Staffing, Winter Staffing_Alternative1, and Winter Staffing_Alternative3.

Forecast Models


To calculate the forecast data, CXone WFM runs different math models on the historical data. Each model is a time series algorithm that calculates the forecast differently.

The models are:


By default, CXone WFM calculates all models and chooses the most accurate one. This process is called Autoselect. CXone WFM Advanced users can choose a specific model and skip the autoselect process.

Autoselect follows a couple of steps to generate the forecast data as accurately as possible. The automatic process saves you time and energy to create the forecast data.

Troubleshoot Forecasting

Long-Term Forecast

A long-term forecast is a forecast created for a period ranging from 1 year to 5 years. The forecast is broken down at a day-level granularity. Long-term forecast is an important input when making intelligent and accurate long-term planning decisions.

This feature is only available to users with the CXone WFM Advanced license.

Generate Long-Term Forecast

Long-term forecasting parameters work the same as general forecast parameters.

Currently, long-term forecast cannot be generated for outbound skills.

To generate a new staffing forecast:

  1. Click the app selector and select CXone WFM.

  2. Go to ForecastingGenerate Forecast.

  3. Click Long-Term Forecast.

  4. Define the Forecasting Parameters.

    1. Enter a Job name and, optionally, a Description.

      These details will appear in the Long-Term Forecast list.

    2. Choose the time zone for viewing the data.

    3. Select the Forecast Models that calculate the forecast.

    4. Define the forecast period.

    5. Define the historical data period.

  5. Click Generate & view forecast data. A confirmation message is displayed to acknowledge the action. You will be directed to the view forecast data page.

    If a job creation fails, the view forecast data page is displayed with an empty graph.

    The newly created job is added to the job list on the long-term forecast page. The statuses of the created jobs are displayed in the Status column on the page.

    You can set how you want to see the list of jobs on the long-term forecasting page. To do this, click on the column headings.

Duplicate, Download CSV, and Delete Long-Term Forecast

You often need to create multiple forecast jobs with common parameters and a few changes. In this case you can duplicate a forecast job and customize it as per your requirements. This could save a good amount of time and effort.

To duplicate a job:

  1. Click the options in the job you want to duplicate. Select Duplicate.

    A copy of the selected job is created with a Copy prefix in the Job Name. Edit the Job name to match your requirements.

    Modify the job parameters to fit your needs.

  2. Click Generate. A new job is created.

To download a long-term forecast job as CSV:

  1. Go to the forecast job you want to download.

  2. Click the options and select Download CSV.

    The forecast job is downloaded as a CSV file.

To delete a long-term forecast job:

  1. Click the options in the job you want to delete. Select Delete.

    A warning message pops up to confirm the deletion of the job.

  2. Click Yes to delete the job and No to cancel the deletion.