FICO made a series of announcements today at FICOWorld 2016. The event kicked off with a fun retrospective of the 60 year history of FICO. Bill Fair and Early Isaac founded the company in 1956 to use data and analytics to improve decision-making. This focus has not changed really in all the years since – FICO is still focused on analytical decision-making.
The products being launched fall into three categories – FICO Decision Management Suite 2.0, fraud detection and prevention, and cybersecurity. All these products, of course, are focused on high speed, high volume decision-making and on using analytics to improve decisions.
The capabilities being developed are designed to solve three classes of business problem
- Deal with complexity
- Develop a sustainable competitive advantage
- Defend against criminals
FICO’s vision for its Decision Management Suite is designed to support the whole decision-making sequence – gather and manage data, analyze it, make decisions based on this analysis and take appropriate actions. Good organizations do this in a thoughtful, coherent way and the suite is designed to support a lifecycle for this (authoring, managing, governing, executing and improving) and make this all accessible. The suite is designed to be both a general purpose platform for customers to use and a basis for the product solutions FICO develops itself.
Lessons from the 1.0 Decision Management Platform led to 5 business drivers for the new release:
- Capturing subject matter expertise
Most organizations don’t capture business expertise well or systematically and they need to do so to prioritize decision and management improvement efforts
- Intelligent solution creation
Despite investments in rapid application development there was still work to do making it easy to build solutions
- Faster insight to execution
Time to market, time to using analytics, is critical.
- Building institutional memory
Organizations are increasingly focused on how to build institutional memory, in a more leveragable way, especially as expertise is being embedded into systems.
- Greater analytic accessibility
Organizations need to have more people using analytics and to have analytics be more pervasive.
Major upgrades and new capabilities to address these issues drove the Decision Management Suite 2.0 designation. New and significantly improved capabilities then include:
FICO DMN Modeler
Decision making is hard because there is a lack of timely, relevant data; because some of this data is contradictory or opinion based; there’s not enough planning; and communication is poor. To address this there has been a real effort to define decision-making formally and separate from business process or data – the Decision Model and Notation (DMN) standard. Part of the new suite is a modeler for building decision models based on the new standard. I blog about the standard a lot so here’s a link to other posts on decision modeling.
FICO Optimization Solutions
FICO has been doing optimization a long time and made a number of acquisitions to build out its product portfolio. Their focus has been on not just developing innovative algorithms but also on rapid operationalization of these models based on templates and on copying with poor data. New features in the 2.0 suite include new templates around pricing and collections problem, an improved business analyst interface, improved collaboration for those working on optimization models as well as improved performance.
FICO Decision Modeler
FICO Decision Modeler is the evolution of Blaze Advisor, FICO’s established Business Rules Management System, on the cloud. The cloud focus makes it easier to engage business users, extending testing and validation in particular. Faster deployment and operationalization is also critical. All the decision rule metaphors have been redesigned and built as native HTML editors. Rapid deployment of SAS, PMML and other models without recoding allows analytics to be combined with the rules built using these metaphors.
FICO Text Analyzer
New tools for extracting structured, usable insight from unstructured text through entity analysis and related algorithms. FICO’s particular focus is to make unstructured data available for predictive analytics cost effectively.
FICO Strategy Director
Strategy Director is based on long experience with managing decision-making strategies in the account and customer management space (FICO’s TRIAD product). It is designed to provide a common environment that supports collaboration, shifts the balance to the business from IT and means teams are not starting from scratch each time. This is particular good at managing groups, scoring them, doing champion/challenger (A/B) testing, segmenting customers and then reporting on all this. The new Strategy Director is available for configurations beyond account/customer management – using configuration packages based on data fields, variables, scores and defined decision areas. These can be defined by FICO, customers or partners and can be updates based on what is learned. New configurations are coming for pricing, deposits and in industries beyond banking.
FICO Decision Central
This is the evolution of FICO Model Central (reviewed here). This now records how all the decision was made, not just what the analytic scores were. All the decisioning assets used in the decisions are recorded, all the outcomes and performance data is pulled together, and all the logged information (scores calculated, rules fired etc). A tool for reviewing how decisions are being made, improve them and capture institutional memory.
FICO Decision Management Platform 2.0
All of these capabilities need to be deployable and manageable. It has to be scalable, resilient, easy to integrate and all the rest. The platform includes the DMN Modeler, a new data modeling environment for business vocabulary/business terms, Decision Modeler for logic and one-click execution on Apache Spark – turning a DMN model into the Spark graph for native execution. Plus platform management capabilities and visualization all running on AWS (with FICO cloud and on-premise to come).
FICO Decision Management Platform Streaming
The final piece is one to handle streaming data and make very low-latency decisions by embedding decisioning in the stream. Not just handling the data stream, but using rules and predictive analytics to make in-stream decisions. This platform is designed to allow drag and drop assembly of steps (rules, models, connectors) into stateful models that are agnostic of the data source. And execute them very fast with very low latency.
FICO uses the new platform itself to develop solutions such as its FICO Originations Manager – now built and executed 100% on the new platform. The new platform will be available on the FICO Analytic Cloud, with much of it available already and the rest soon – with free trials and some free usage.