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Message from our Sponsors and my favorite Analytics conference ( only if I could attend a cool analytics conference nearby in Asia (singapore/turkey?) -sighs) Even useR wont come to Asia ever?-
This is the number 1 conference for analytics in the world and it is next month in Chicago, USA? So you think you have the best analytics software or product or service. Here is where you can find it out!
|It’s time to amp-up your analytics strategy. It’s time to beef up your analytics strategy by attending Predictive Analytics World Chicago, June 10-13, 2013. With over 30 case studies from leading organizations across a spectrum of industries, this is the must-attend event for anyone serious about their analytics strategy.
Here’s what your peers had to say about their experience at PAW:
Who’s attending PAW Chicago 2013?
Here are just a few of the many companies attending:
And many more!
Registration options for all budgets.
PAW Chicago has a variety of conference pass options available to meet budgets of all sizes.
UPDATED- Here are three great examples of a visualization making a process easy to understand. Please click on the images to read them clearly.
1) It visualizes CRISP-DM and is made by Nicole Leaper (http://exde.wordpress.com/2009/03/13/a-visual-guide-to-crisp-dm-methodology/)
2) KDD -Knowledge Discovery in Databases -visualization by Fayyad whom I have interviewed here at http://www.decisionstats.com/interview-dr-usama-fayyad-founder-open-insights-llc/
and work By Gregory Piatetsky Shapiro interviewed by this website here
3) I am also attaching a visual representation of SEMMA from http://www.dataprix.net/en/blogs/respinosamilla/theory-data-mining
Here is an interview with Pranay Agrawal, Executive Vice President- Global Client Development, Fractal Analytics – one of India’s leading analytics services providers and one of the pioneers in analytics services delivery.
Ajay- Describe Fractal Analytics’ journey as a startup to a pioneer in the Predictive Analytics Services industry. What were some of the key turning points in the field of analytics that you have noticed during these times?
Pranay- In 2000, Fractal Analytics started as a pure-play analytics services company in India with a focus on financial services. Five years later, we spread our operation to the United States and opened new verticals. Today, we have the widest global footprint among analytics providers and have experience handling data and deep understanding of consumer behavior in over 150 counties. We have matured from an analytics service organization to a productized analytics services firm, specializing in consumer goods, retail, financial services, insurance and technology verticals.
We are on the fore-front of a massive inflection point with Big Data Analytics at the center. We have witnessed the transformation of analytics within our clients from a cost center to the most critical division that drives competitive advantage. Advances are quickly converging in computer science, artificial intelligence, machine learning and game theory, changing the way how analytics is consumed by B2B and B2C companies. Companies that use analytics well are poised to excel in innovation, customer engagement and business performance.
Ajay- What are analytical tools that you use at Fractal Analytics? Are there any trends in analytical software usage that you have observed?
Pranay- We are tools agnostic to serve our clients using whatever platforms they need to ensure they can quickly and effectively operationalize the results we deliver. We use R, SAS, SPSS, SpotFire, Tableau, Xcelsius, Webfocus, Microstrategy and Qlikview. We are seeing an increase in adoption of open source platform such as R, and specialize tools for dashboard like Tableau/Qlikview, plus an entire spectrum of emerging tools to process manage and extract information from Big Data that support Hadoop and NoSQL data structures
Ajay- What are Fractal Analytics plans for Big Data Analytics?
Pranay- We see our clients being overwhelmed by the increasing complexity of the data. While they are all excited by the possibilities of Big Data, on-the-ground struggle continues to realize its full potential. The analytics paradigm is changing in the context of Big Data. Our solutions focus on how to make it super-simple for our clients combined with analytics sophistication possible with Big Data.
Let’s take our Customer Genomics solution for retailers as an example. Retailers are collecting information about Shopper behaviors through every transaction. Retailers want to transform their business to make it more customer-centric but do not know how to go about it. Our Customer Genomics solution uses advanced machine learning algorithm to label every shopper across more than 80 different dimensions. Retailers use these to identify which products it should deep-discount depending on what price-sensitive shoppers buy. They are transforming the way they plan their assortment, planogram and targeted promotions armed with this intelligence.
We are also building harmonization engines using Concordia to enable real-time update of Customer Genomics based on every direct, social, or shopping transaction. This will further bridge the gap between marketing actions and consumer behavior to drive loyalty, market share and profitability.
Ajay- What are some of the key things that differentiate Fractal Analytics from the rest of the industry? How are you different?
Pranay- We are one of the pioneer pure-play analytics firm with over a decade of experience consulting with Fortune 500 companies. What clients most appreciate about working with us includes:
- Experience managing structured and unstructured Big Data (volume, variety) with a deep understanding of consumer behavior in more than 150 counties
- Advanced analytics leveraging supervised machine-learning platforms
- Proprietary products for example: Concordia for data harmonization, Customer Genomics for consumer insights and personalized marketing, Pincer for pricing optimization, Eavesdrop for social media listening, Medley for assortment optimization in retail industry and Known Value Item for retail stores
- Deep industry expertise enables us to leverage cross-industry knowledge to solve a wide range of marketing problems
- Lowest attrition rates in the industry and very selective hiring process makes us a great place to work
Ajay- What are some of the initiatives that you have taken to ensure employee satisfaction and happiness?
Pranay- We believe happy employees create happy customers. We are building a great place to work by taking a personal interest in grooming people. Our people are highly engaged as evidenced by 33% new hire referrals and the highest Glassdoor ratings in our industry.
We recognize the accomplishments and contributions made through many programs such as:
- FractElite – where peers nominate and defend the best of us
- Recognition board – where anyone can write a visible thank you
- Value cards – where anyone can acknowledge great role model behavior in one or more values
- Townhall – a quarterly all hands where we announce anniversaries and FractElite awards, with an open forum to ask questions
- Employee engagement surveys – to measure and report out on satisfaction programs
- Open access to managers and leadership team – to ensure we understand and appreciate each person’s unique goals and ambitions, coach for high performance, and laud their success
Ajay- How happy are Fractal Analytics customers quantitatively? What is your retention rate- and what plans do you have for 2013?
Pranay- As consultants, delivering value with great service is critical to our growth, which has nearly doubled in the last year. Most of our clients have been with us for over five years and we are typically considered a strategic partner.
We conduct client satisfaction surveys during and after each project to measure our performance and identify opportunities to serve our clients better. In 2013, we will continue partnering with our clients to define additional process improvements from applying best practice in engagement management to building more advanced analytics and automated services to put high-impact decisions into our clients’ hands faster.
Pranay Agrawal -Pranay co-founded Fractal Analytics in 2000 and heads client engagement worldwide. He has a MBA from India Institute of Management (IIM) Ahmedabad, Bachelors in Accounting from Bangalore University, and Certified Financial Risk Manager from GARP. He is is also available online on http://www.linkedin.com/in/pranayfractal
Fractal Analytics is a provider of predictive analytics and decision sciences to financial services, insurance, consumer goods, retail, technology, pharma and telecommunication industries. Fractal Analytics helps companies compete on analytics and in understanding, predicting and influencing consumer behavior. Over 20 fortune 500 financial services, consumer packaged goods, retail and insurance companies partner with Fractal to make better data driven decisions and institutionalize analytics inside their organizations.
Fractal sets up analytical centers of excellence for its clients to tackle tough big data challenges, improve decision management, help understand, predict & influence consumer behavior, increase marketing effectiveness, reduce risk and optimize business results.
I recently read a review copy of Dr Eric Siegel’s new book Predictive Analytics: The Power to Predict Who Will Click, Buy, Lie, or Die.
(Disclaimer-I have interviewed Eric here in September 2009, and we have been in touch over the years as his Predictive Analytics Conference became a blog partner and then a sponsor here at Decisionstats.com PAWCON also took off, becoming the biggest brand in independent analytics conferences)
So it was with a slight note of optimism that I opened this book, and it has so far exceeded my expectations. This is a very lucidly writtern, well explained book that can help people at all levels for analytics. There is a wealth of information here in a wide variety of business domains, and the beautifully designed book also has great tables, examples, and quotes, cartoons to make a very readable case for predictive analytics. Of course, Eric has some views, he loves ensemble modeling, conversion uplift models, privacy concerns, and his background in academics help explain even technical things very elaborately and in an interesting manner.
And at $14,6 it is quite a steal from Amazon. So buy a copy and read it. I would recommend it for helping build a case for predictive analytics , evangelizing to clients, and even to students in grad school programs. This is how analytics books should be , easy to read, and lucid to remember and practical to execute!
Dhiraj Rajaram, got featured in Economic Times recently as the CEO- founder of India’s first billion dollar valuation analytics startup.
This year, the company which employs 2,500 people across a development centre in Bangalore and offices in the US, UK and Australia, will build a data analytics lab in the US and hire 400 data scientists there.
I first met Dhiraj in 2008 Q1 for a job. We didnt agree partly because I needed to be close to my son ( who was 4 mth old) and I ended up taking a contract with another Bangalore based company. What impressed me at that time was something I rarely see in India’s analytics entrepreneurs-
1) A Grand Vision- Dhiraj said- I am trying to build the largest math factory on the world.
2) Focus- Dhiraj was focused only on analytics projects. No quick and easy outsourcing low end tasks and outsourcing for him.
3) Positivity- Not once during the entire two hour interaction did he say a negative word on competition, attrition, challenges, pressures.
4) Flamboyance- I wonder sometimes why a colorful culture like India’s end up with people being so meek in corporate culture. Dhiraj was probably one of the most flamboyant senior analytics leaders.
But there were some concerns I had in 2008 q1- including plans for IPO ( I thought that was early) and senior management flux ( the COO left in a few months).
Anyways Dhiraj grew the 200 strong team to around 900 by 2010 q3. This time again he called me for a job interview. This time we again found that there was nothing I was really good at in analytics company- with my interest in open source, blogging and writing books, and my morbid fear of managing people in operations. However I noticed some changes-
- There were greater signs of process driven orientation ( including messages to keep meetings short)
- There were newer people in senior management
- Dhiraj was slightly more restrained in his frank talk ( given his increasing stature and demands on his time and attention on him)
- I loved the sign on his Office- Jugad. Literally that means ingenuity in Hindi- and shows a glimpse into the maveric, brilliant and flamboyant nature of the CEO.
Again, there were some odd points. Mu Sigma continued to have the perception ( true or false, I dont know) of having a large number of attrition at junior levels. Again there were rumours that Dhiraj had become a bit autocratic in management ( which I found no clue of). I found that the biggest problem that Mu Sigma, Dhiraj had – they were creating enemies just by shaking up the slow IT Services mindset of India- where easy money was available just by low quality labor arbitrage. This cultural opposition to anything new (like a pure analytics company), or anything rapid ( like a company that scales up organically) could have stopped lesser men, but Mu Sigma moved on.
So it was quite nice to read the news, finally an Indian company , had broken the 1 billion mark. Allow me some leeway here. I truly believe analytics and maths have no nationality. But if you see the rampant poverty in India , what we need is more aggressive and impatient businessmen like Mr Rajaram, than the chalta hain _ ” it is okay” attitude.
Dhiraj and team, take a bow. You make us proud!