Predictive Models Ain’t Easy to Deploy

 

This is a guest blog post by Carole Ann Matignon of Sparkling Logic. You can see more on Sparkling Logic at http://my.sparklinglogic.com/

Decision Management is about combining predictive models and business rules to automate decisions for your business. Insurance underwriting, loan origination or workout, claims processing are all very good use cases for that discipline… But there is a hiccup… It ain’t as easy you would expect…

What’s easy?

If you have a neat model, then most tools would allow you to export it as a PMML model – PMML stands for Predictive Model Markup Language and is a standard XML representation for predictive model formulas. Many model development tools let you export it without much effort. Many BRMS – Business rules Management Systems – let you import it. Tada… The model is ready for deployment.

What’s hard?

The problem that we keep seeing over and over in the industry is the issue around variables.

Those neat predictive models are formulas based on variables that may or may not exist as is in your object model. When the variable is itself a formula based on the object model, like the min, max or sum of Dollar amount spent in Groceries in the past 3 months, and the object model comes with transaction details, such that you can compute it by iterating through those transactions, then the problem is not “that” big. PMML 4 introduced some support for those variables.

The issue that is not easy to fix, and yet quite frequent, is when the model development data model does not resemble the operational one. Your Data Warehouse very likely flattened the object model, and pre-computed some aggregations that make the mapping very hard to restore.

It is clearly not an impossible project as many organizations do that today. It comes with a significant overhead though that forces modelers to involve IT resources to extract the right data for the model to be operationalized. It is a heavy process that is well justified for heavy-duty models that were developed over a period of time, with a significant ROI.

This is a show-stopper though for other initiatives which do not have the same ROI, or would require too frequent model refresh to be viable. Here, I refer to “real” model refresh that involves a model reengineering, not just a re-weighting of the same variables.

For those initiatives where time is of the essence, the challenge will be to bring closer those two worlds, the modelers and the business rules experts, in order to streamline the development AND deployment of analytics beyond the model formula. The great opportunity I see is the potential for a better and coordinated tuning of the cut-off rules in the context of the model refinement. In other words: the opportunity to refine the strategy as a whole. Very ambitious? I don’t think so.

About Carole Ann Matignon

http://my.sparklinglogic.com/index.php/company/management-team

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Carole-Ann MatignonCarole-Ann Matignon – Co-Founder, President & Chief Executive Officer

She is a renowned guru in the Decision Management space. She created the vision for Decision Management that is widely adopted now in the industry.  Her claim to fame is managing the strategy and direction of Blaze Advisor, the leading BRMS product, while she also managed all the Decision Management tools at FICO (business rules, predictive analytics and optimization). She has a vision for Decision Management both as a technology and a discipline that can revolutionize the way corporations do business, and will never get tired of painting that vision for her audience.  She speaks often at Industry conferences and has conducted university classes in France and Washington DC.

She started her career building advanced systems using all kinds of technologies — expert systems, rules, optimization, dashboarding and cubes, web search, and beta version of database replication. At Cleversys (acquired by Kurt Salmon & Associates), she also conducted strategic consulting gigs around change management.

While playing with advanced software components, she found a passion for technology and joined ILOG (acquired by IBM). She developed a growing interest in Optimization as well as Business Rules. At ILOG, she coined the term BRMS while brainstorming with her Sales counterpart. She led the Presales organization for Telecom in the Americas up until 2000 when she joined Blaze Software (acquired by Brokat Technologies, HNC Software and finally FICO).

Her 360-degree experience allowed her to gain appreciation for all aspects of a software company, giving her a unique perspective on the business. Her technical background kept her very much in touch with technology as she advanced.

Funny Economics

Some wry observations from me  on the world on economics-

1) 150 years after humiliating their country in the Opium Wars, Chinese mandarins have somehow convinced their leaders and military to park 2 trillion assets in Anglo Saxon debt. If Greece geting a 50% discount on its loan is the new precedent, when will the USA force its lendors to the negotiation table.

2) Income inequality and protests are something the Arabs and Israelis have in common. Besides being the sons of Abraham of course. Note the Persians are not considered the same as Arabs.

3) Advance knowledge of geo-political events can and ensures Western financial dealers have an edge on the sovereign funds in the other hemisphere.  What used to be the playgrounds of Eton has now shifted to the pubs of Boston and So Cal.

4) After spending 1 trillion USD on arms in the past one decade (funded by guys in item 1), the United States military forces is in a much better more advanced position to wage simultaneous war.

5) Can a war in Korean peninsula affect war in the Persian sphere of influence. Just follow the money , baby.

6) Saudi Wahabis continue to fund terror despite losing a lot of money in the economic meltdown in past few years. For every 1 $ increase in Saudi oil revenue, western oil companies ,traders, financiers make more, much more.

7) Demographics is an important key to economics. An aging Japan, and stagnant West is one cause to shift from manpower intensive warfare to cyber warfare. Plus Cyber warfare is good business . Underpopulated Russia and Arabs continue to lack true economic potential.

8) There are new economic incentives to develop tools to disseminate as well as distort information flow in real time in a hyper connected digital world.

 

High Performance Analytics

Marry Big Data Analytics to High Performance Computing, and you get the buzzword of this season- High Performance Analytics.

It basically consists of Parallelized code to run in parallel on custom hardware, in -database analytics for speed, and cloud computing /high performance computing environments. On an operational level, it consists of software (as in analytics) partnering with software (as in databases, Map reduce, Hadoop) plus some hardware (HP or IBM mostly). It is considered a high margin , highly profitable, business with small number of deals compared to say desktop licenses.

As per HPC Wire- which is a great tool/newsletter to keep updated on HPC , SAS Institute has been busy on this front partnering with EMC Greenplum and TeraData (who also acquired  SAS Partner AsterData to gain a much needed foot in the MR/SQL space) Continue reading “High Performance Analytics”

Interview Anne Milley JMP

Here is an interview with Anne Milley, a notable thought leader in the world of analytics. Anne is now Senior Director, Analytical Strategy in Product Marketing for JMP , the leading data visualization software from the SAS Institute.

Ajay-What do you think are the top 5 unique selling points of JMP compared to other statistical software in its category?

Anne-

JMP combines incredible analytic depth and breadth with interactive data visualization, creating a unique environment optimized for discovery and data-driven innovation.

With an extensible framework using JSL (JMP Scripting Language), and integration with SAS, R, and Excel, JMP becomes your analytic hub.

JMP is accessible to all kinds of users. A novice analyst can dig into an interactive report delivered by a custom JMP application. An engineer looking at his own data can use built-in JMP capabilities to discover patterns, and a developer can write code to extend JMP for herself or others.

State-of-the-art DOE capabilities make it easy for anyone to design and analyze efficient experiments to determine which adjustments will yield the greatest gains in quality or process improvement – before costly changes are made.

Not to mention, JMP products are exceptionally well designed and easy to use. See for yourself and check out the free trial at www.jmp.com.

Download a free 30-day trial of JMP.

Ajay- What are the challenges and opportunities of expanding JMP’s market share? Do you see JMP expanding its conferences globally to engage global audiences?

Anne-

We realized solid global growth in 2010. The release of JMP Pro and JMP Clinical last year along with continuing enhancements to the rest of the JMP family of products (JMP and JMP Genomics) should position us well for another good year.

With the growing interest in analytics as a means to sustained value creation, we have the opportunity to help people along their analytic journey – to get started, take the next step, or adopt new paradigms speeding their time to value. The challenge is doing that as fast as we would like.

We are hiring internationally to offer even more events, training and academic programs globally.

Ajay- What are the current and proposed educational and global academic initiatives of JMP? How can we see more JMP in universities across the world (say India- China etc)?

Anne-

We view colleges and universities both as critical incubators of future JMP users and as places where attitudes about data analysis and statistics are formed. We believe that a positive experience in learning statistics makes a person more likely to eventually want and need a product like JMP.

For most students – and particularly for those in applied disciplines of business, engineering and the sciences – the ability to make a statistics course relevant to their primary area of study fosters a positive experience. Fortunately, there is a trend in statistical education toward a more applied, data-driven approach, and JMP provides a very natural environment for both students and researchers.

Its user-friendly navigation, emphasis on data visualization and easy access to the analytics behind the graphics make JMP a compelling alternative to some of our more traditional competitors.

We’ve seen strong growth in the education markets in the last few years, and JMP is now used in nearly half of the top 200 universities in the US.

Internationally, we are at an earlier stage of market development, but we are currently working with both JMP and SAS country offices and their local academic programs to promote JMP. For example, we are working with members of the JMP China office and faculty at several universities in China to support the use of JMP in the development of a master’s curriculum in Applied Statistics there, touched on in this AMSTAT News article.

Ajay- What future trends do you see for 2011 in this market (say top 5)?

Anne-

Growing complexity of data (text, image, audio…) drives the need for more and better visualization and analysis capabilities to make sense of it all.

More “chief analytics officers” are making better use of analytic talent – people are the most important ingredient for success!

JMP has been on the vanguard of 64-bit development, and users are now catching up with us as 64-bit machines become more common.

Users should demand easy-to-use, exploratory and predictive modeling tools as well as robust tools to experiment and learn to help them make the best decisions on an ongoing basis.

All these factors and more fuel the need for the integration of flexible, extensible tools with popular analytic platforms.

Ajay-You enjoy organic gardening as a hobby. How do you think hobbies and unwind time help people be better professionals?

Anne-

I am lucky to work with so many people who view their work as a hobby. They have other interests too, though, some of which are work-related (statistics is relevant everywhere!). Organic gardening helps me put things in perspective and be present in the moment. More than work defines who you are. You can be passionate about your work as well as passionate about other things. I think it’s important to spend some leisure time in ways that bring you joy and contribute to your overall wellbeing and outlook.

Btw, nice interviews over the past several months—I hadn’t kept up, but will check it out more often!

Biography–  Source- http://www.sas.com/knowledge-exchange/business-analytics/biographies.html

  • Anne Milley

    Anne Milley

    Anne Milley is Senior Director of Analytics Strategy at JMP Product Marketing at SAS. Her ties to SAS began with bank failure prediction at Federal Home Loan Bank Dallas and continued at 7-Eleven Inc. She has authored papers and served on committees for F2006, KDD, SIAM, A2010 and several years of SAS’ annual data mining conference. Milley is a contributing faculty member for the International Institute of Analytics. anne.milley@jmp.com

Machine Addictions

in the middle of essential and inevitable tasks
restless inner conscience wakens and asks
stuck again today to the computer are we now
please remind me this state we reached how

oh we had bills to pay student loans to repay
once we got hooked t’was easy to be carried away
just a matter of time before inevitable voices query
this is my machine that I want to marry

I spend more time with him/her as it is
the Machinery is devoted with focused loyalties
meanwhile the non machine world goes round
strives forth on things less profound

as we stroke the keys and click the mouse
machine addictions will only add to human grouse