Microsoft Opens up Its Business Intelligence

Michael Vizard

To hear all the discussion surrounding predictive analytics lately, you could be forgiven if you thought this was as a relatively new computer science discipline. In reality, financial services companies and insurance firms having been using predictive analytic applications to mitigate their risks for years. What is happening is that other vertical industry segments are starting to discover the potential of predictive analytics within their own enterprises.


One of the long-time leaders in predictive analytics is FICO, which today released a FICO Triad Customer Manager 8.5 application that helps companies create a visual decision tree around a set of analytics. David Lightfoot, FICO vice president of product management, says analytics only add value to the business when it's attached to a set of actionable business processes. The release is designed to help customers visually build a set of processes in response to information presented via a FICO application.


FICO has built a collection of predictive applications around core technologies such as neural networks. In addition, FICO provides credit and loan risk scoring services to financial services firms. In recent years, it has made those technologies available as a series of applications that IT organizations can buy, or a set of tools they can use to develop their own applications on top of the core FICO technologies.


According to Lightfoot, a lot of the analytics tools being put forth in the market today lack any really context to a business process. And what most business executives really want to know from any analytic tool is what is the real level of risk associated with any given action or set of variables.


Lightfoot's point is well taken in that there is a certain amount of jaundice among business users concerning all the business intelligence reports they get from IT. There's no absence of data or analysis, but very little in the way of actionable information. What they really need to go with all the analytics is a set of policies that can be defined by rules derived from the information in the analytics. Giving people information is one thing, but helping them define what people should actually do with that information adds a whole other level of real intelligence to the business.



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