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First Look – Zoot


Zoot was founded in 1990 and has been providing hosted decision management solutions since 1992. With a focus on financial services, Zoot’s clients include 3 of the top 5 U.S. banks and they work with clients of all sizes and across all lines of business.  Instant credit decisioning is one of their critical offerings, but about half of Zoot clients are leveraging their loan origination solution.

Zoot’s core solution stack is based on an ASP or SaaS infrastructure (though they have some on-premise deployments) using a tools and services approach to their applications, which allows them to expand into various solution areas.

SPOC® (Single Point of Contact) is the core service that works to process applications. SPOC performs stateless processing and is configured by Zoot’s WebRules® business rules developer tool. WebRules is a business logic editor that is designed specifically for business users and takes a unique approach by offering a GUI for the development of business processes. Processes can be defined that link rulesets, decision tables, decision trees, and scorecards as well as other processes. The overall environment is graphical, business friendly and fairly conversational.

ZUI™, another one of Zoot’s offerings, gives business users control to design and configure employee-facing, review screens and external facing application entry screens for kiosk, online, or mobile channels. This supports a Windows UI as well as web pages and the product set also offers support for batch processing and makes it easy to begin with objects derived from the data being manipulated in the system. It also integrates tightly with calls to WebRules for decision making.

These common tools and services support Zoot’s range of solutions:

  • zLink Data Aggregation Solution
    Connections to dozens of data providers are pre-built so one connection to Zoot gives clients the ability to use multiple vendors. Clients can compare and contrast the results of using different providers or data types at different points in the decisioning process, testing new data providers and signing up with the vendors they prefer. The vendor network of providers is accessible across all of Zoot’s solutions. Supported data is available both as formatted data for presentation and unformatted data for execution from a single call to the data provider.
  • zDecision® Consumer-Initiated Decisioning Solution
    Combines business rules, workflow, and data sources to make offers in realtime. Zoot commented that many of their clients have seen higher accept rates as a result of the instant response to product requests, something I have also noted.
  • zAcquire® Instant Prescreen Decisioning Solution
    Similar to zDecision, this solution provides instant offers based on rules, workflow and data but is used to make unsolicited offers to consumers. zAcquire is used mostly to offer pre-approved, cross-sell products. Another use case is at check out in retail (to pre-approve credit). The solution offers failover between the bureaus and allows a lot of control for clients while managing the prescreen restrictions under FCRA.
  • zOptimize® Multichannel Cross-sell Solution
    This solution includes multi-channel connections and an offer repository that tracks all product offers made across all channels. This allows a consumer to complete an application in one channel that was initiated in another. zOptimize also uses the decisioning engine combined with segmentation and predictive models to make more targeted offers to individual consumers.
  • zOriginate® Loan Origination Solution
    Workflow, manual reviews, queues are included with the decisioning process to allow applications to move back and forth from manual to automated review. Applications are bounced to a manual queue for a specific reason and once that is addressed, the application flow back into automated processing through completion.
  • zInitiate Account Opening Solution
    This solution provides a typical DDA opening foundation to make sure high risk accounts aren’t opened. Models and alternative data providers are integrated into the platform to predict close for cause and to optimize deposit and credit cross-sell offers for relationship-pricing and debit rewards.
  • zEnvision® Credit Risk Lab
    Clients use actual, historical transactions in a nonproduction, simulation environment to see how results would change if credit policies, logic, and data sources were also changed. This solution provides a faster analysis of the impact of new credit risk policies, new attributes, and new models.

These solutions were built in response to specific client business problems Zoot has seen over their years in the industry. All of the solutions rely on their standard tools to provide direct control for the business – critical as IT is, they are the most constrained resource in their target companies. The solutions offer both a rapid time to market, while still allowing users to configure them easily as changes are required. Each solution has code promotion, champion/challenger, versioning, and highly integrated role-based access in support of business user control.

Zoot provides an infrastructure that is redundant (with 3 live processing centers) and high performing with capacity engineering to 10x their average load. This offers sub-second decisioning response times. Zoot is also PCI level 1 and SAS-70 Type 2/SSAE16 compliant and handles hundreds of millions of transactions per year.

Zoot believes their advantage is the flexibility of their solutions including the ability they give to client business users to tailor their solutions. Proven experience with large banks and a top to bottom focus on business user control are important to Zoot’s banking customers also. Finally Zoot is data independent, offering a high performance hosted environment and have a great deal of experience with systems integration. Their typical business customer has challenges with IT resources, making the need for hosted, easy to configure, business focused solutions very important. Eighty five percent of their business comes from the US but they do have an operating unit and data center in Europe also.

Zoot has some customers using their technology to build custom solutions and will be one of the vendors listed in the forthcoming report on Decision Management Systems platform technologies.


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