Stuart Wells, the CTO of FICO, came up to give the keynote and talk about FICO’s big cloud announcements:
- FICO Cloud-based Decision Management Platform (announcement here)
- FICO Analytic Cloud (announcement here and sign up here)
- Customer engagement applications on this cloud platform announcement here (discussed also in this blog post).
Stuart began with a couple of stories. He told a story of a bank customer who was sitting at breakfast and got a call from his bank asking if he knew where his credit card was. It turned out he did not as the waiter at the restaurant had managed to steal and compromise it – FICO analytics used by the bank enabled a real-time identification of the problem and immediate outreach, before he even left the restaurant. Classic Decision Management story. He also told the story of the Obama campaign’s use of analytics, and its focus on collecting data and using the data and analytics to deliver targeted messaging and opportunities to drive engagement and voting. The common theme is that analytics can be used to better target customers and opportunities but this requires you to quickly recognize a change in customer behavior and act.
Analytics, of course, is growing furiously from being the purview of huge government projects to being mainstream. Since 2000 R has grown to 1M programmers (20% of the programming population) and the value of the analytics market has exploded. Stuart pointed out that analytics is increasingly mainstream – with stories like Moneyball and the success of the analytically driven Oakland As, the fact that analytics could have been used to predict the recent movie flop John Carter. While these stories and many others and while analytics are growing in use it remains too hard to get them deployed, with customers regularly reporting more than 3 months for deployment. Of course 3 months is a long time in a consumer-facing market.
In fact he says there are 10 top obstacles for analytics
- Too expensive
- Too complex
- Lack of analytic talent
- Hard to deploy
- Poor presentation
- Long time to insight
- Siloed data
- Answering the wrong question
- Cultural barriers
- Analytics disconnected from actions
Stuart illustrated some of these barriers with some great examples like the Parkinson Voice Initiative that uses analytics in the cloud to accurately predict Parkinson’s Disease for free, the use of analytics in NY to find illegal conversions (which cause 15x the fires that legal conversions do) moving from 13% success to 70% success in targeting inspectors.
And this all built up to his discussion of the new platform. IDC calls this the 3rd Platform (mainframe is #1, client-server is #2) – mobile-social-big-data-cloud is #3. To illustrate a 3rd platform he used salesforce.com that has several business solutions (sales, service etc) as well as a platform (force.com), data storage, open APIs, social media (chatter) and a marketplace. Any cloud needs he says:
- Standard interchange APIs
With that he introduces the FICO Analytic Cloud:
- An analytic marketplace for third parties to sell applications on the cloud
- FICO Decision Management applications being made available
- The FICO Decision Management Platform
- Infrastructure including support for big data
- Content and Standards
FICO already has many cloud-based applications like Customer Dialogue Manager (Entiera), Adeptra Mobile Services, Placements Plus and LiquidCredit. Others are being rolled out to deliver a complete set of applications in the cloud. The Decision Management Platform combines Blaze Advisor, Model Builder and Xpress optimization in the cloud with support for Big Data services and connectors. Besides FICO’s own development tools, they have partnered with OutSystems and Mendix to provide rapid application development tools, with Zementis to provide cloud-based support for PMML and are adding visualization like Tableau, open source text analytics like Lucerne and explicit support for SAS models. This platform should make it easier and much faster to deliver new decision management and analytic applications, reducing the time to update models and deploy analytic insight. Besides the new partnerships there are specific improvements include adding support for hadoop and R to Model Builder for Big Data analytics. The new platform will also support hadoop with Cloudera support and more.
To show the new platform in action FICO developed 16 personas and used these to drive personalized messages to attendees on their cell phones. This involved:
- Using Model Builder for Big Data to build analytic profiles
- Used the Decision Management Platform to define the decision strategies involved
- Used Customer Dialogue Manager to determine the customer offer
- Used Adeptra Mobile Services to send the offer to folks.
Pretty classic customer intimacy decision management but developed quickly and deployed using the new cloud platform.
Stuart wrapped up by talking about the power of collaboration and communities to extend the value proposition of the new platform. It’s not, he said, just a mechanism for deploying analytic services but about harnessing human expertise. Together,the platform and this new network of partners and collaborators, will address the 10 challenges he identified.
All in all an exciting announcement from FICO with a big focus on the cloud, big data and partners. BTW I wrote a white paper for FICO recently Delivering Customer Value Faster with Big Data Analytics that you might enjoy.