I got an update from Predixion Software recently. Predixion, as I have blogged before, was founded in 2009 and is focused on disrupting the predictive analytics market by making it easier to build and deploy predictive analytics. Their core belief is that success with predictive analytics is going to require the broadening of the range of people doing predictive analytics – a team that includes data scientists but is broader and includes business analysts, IT and business people as well. They have been adding customers recently including Kaiser Permanente, Centene, Cisco, Applied Materials and others. Besides the core technology they have begun to focus on specializing it for the healthcare vertical (with partners taking the core product into other verticals). Recent announcements include their public and private cloud solutions as well as some line of business applications in healthcare. They have also expanded into Asia Pacific and signed partners both in Asia Pacific and with some big consulting partners in the US.
Predixion Insight, the company’s core product, is focused on the key stumbling block for predictive analytics – the supply of people who can build models. Predixion like to talk about turning Business Intelligence into Predictive Intelligence – bringing predictive analytics into a BI world. They see a need for new tools that allow people who can use BI tools or Excel to build predictive analytic models. You also need workflows that are more flexible and adaptable rather than focused on a formal scientific process. Finally you need a set of shared concepts across predictive analytics and BI. To expand the supply of people who can built predictive analytic models you need to make it easier to build models, easier to collaborate around them and easier to share and deploy them.
Since last time they have extended the product in several areas
- Their original personal cloud offering has been extended to add enterprise cloud (allowing individuals within an enterprise easy sign-up within a defined account), on-premise, and via a new partnership with Intel, a hybrid cloud offering that allows customers to pay a monthly subscription yet enjoy the benefits of a managed on-premises deployment. Predixion offers usage based licensing for all deployment options. These can be mixed and matched with models being shared across them.
- In addition to a thin client experience for the visualization and management of predictive models, datasets and results for any user (even those without the Insight Excel client), the web based management interface allows the enterprise customer to add users and then let them work freely without further IT engagement as all the space is allocated dynamically etc. The Excel versions can be downloaded and installed and the system manages all the versions even with an on-premise installation.
- The original Excel-based reporting environment has been extended with shared collections, embeddable visualizations, model discussions and social media integration. As an example, a business analyst could create a predictive model, submit it to a shared collection then allow subscribers to that collection to accept, change and query the model then share the results to any knowledge worker in the organization. Users can be alerted about new models or results via enterprise social media apps like Chatter, Yammer or Twitter.
- They still offer easy to use tools and a wizard-based interface with 15 algorithms and PMML support. These have been extended with data profiling, normalization, model viewers and editable models allowing some models to be edited in Excel and redeployed.
- When the wizard interface is used the output can be in the form of a patent pending invention from Predixion called a visual macro. Instead of (or in addition to) outputting a set of results, the visual macros can create an editable macro for modeling steps. Organizations and partners can develop new macros, using the wizard and by editing directly, and so create an easy to use model workflow for others.
- More advanced statistics about a dataset can be generated, creating a rich data profile for a set of data managed using the Excel PowerPivot data interface. The profile, like all Predixion Software results, is displayed in Excel making it easy to use and share.
- Various normalization options have been added, allowing a user to automatically normalize all the columns in a dataset (including potentially using a group such as gender to normalize within the group).
- Model visualization has been completely revamped also. For instance an interactive decision tree viewer allows details to be added to nodes, nodes to be color coded or annotated, branches to be expanded and collapsed etc. Additional details can be shown for anything selected in the visualization (such as the association rules for a node in the network). Predictors and forecasts can be interacted with – showing the impact of a change proposed for a value. Other visualizations include sensitivity charts, an interactive network viewer/manager, a time series viewer and more.
- The final version of a visualization can be shared and viewed/manipulated in the thin client. All the interactivity, comments, links and more are available in both the Excel and thin client versions. Visualizations can be shared, posted to shared collection etc.
- Self service, Excel, PowerPivot, Macros and an API were in the original product and have been extended with a web portal, thin client viewers, deployment to Microsoft SQL Server Integration Services tasks and a set of ODBC drivers.
Predixion Software is one of the vendors listed in our Decision Management Systems Platform Technologies report.