Big Cloud Analytics, Inc
July 14, 2014 Issue
The Most Powerful Name In Corporate News and Information
Real-Time Marketing Predictive Analytics for Financial Results
Patrick Bewley, CEO and Diane Fischer,
About Big Cloud Analytics, Inc
is an Atlanta, GA, based data science and analytics technology organization that delivers real-time predictive analytics, using Big Data to take actions that deliver financial results. Recognized in 2014 by CIO Review as one of the Top 100 most promising companies in Big Data globally, the company provides technology enabled real-time marketing predictions based on world-renowned science from one of the top five marketing scholars in the world and its proprietary COVALENCE™ modeling approach.
BCA predicts who your most valuable customers will be, what they will buy, when they will buy it and at what price. Our COVALENCETM Customer Intelligence Engine, delivers these insights as a Cloud Based Transaction or an Embedded Appliance allowing you to balance flexibility and security.
Big Cloud serves the Healthcare, Financial Services, Retail, Consumer
Packaged Goods, Media and Publishing, Telecommunications, and Airline
industries. Additionally, the company has the world’s top social media
algorithm for valuing a social influencer on Twitter and Facebook.
Diane Fischer is the Vice President of marketing for Big
Cloud Analytics. She has a 20+ year track record in marketing and business
operations strategy, brand and communications. Throughout her career, Diane
has built various competitive and strategic business communications plans
for both internal and external teams in an effort to assist the organization
with the proper tools for success. Prior to BCA, Diane worked for Acxiom
Corporation, where she held senior management roles in both marketing and
sales operations. She has helped market both B2B and B2C clients in the
retail, financial services, consumer packaged goods and healthcare markets.
Her work history includes such companies as DirectConnectGroup, Charles
Schwab, ADVO, Inc. and Alpha Enterprises.
1401 Peachtree Street NE
Atlanta, GA 30309
Interview conducted by: Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor, CEOCFO Magazine, Published – July 14, 2014
CEOCFO: Mr. Bewley, what is the concept at Big Cloud Analytics?
Mr. Bewley: We founded the organization based on a couple of key concepts. We wanted world class analytics to be available, more out of the box and a little bit more standardized than was previously available. We wanted to solve the real time problem and make them available for today’s real time world, so that you could apply predictive intelligence to every live customer interaction. You could have someone on the phone at the call center, on the website, in a mobile app and have some of the smartest predictions about what they are likely to buy, when they are going to buy, how much they are going to pay and how much they are going to be worth long time as a customer, whether they are likely to leave or not, injected into that live interaction, to help agents and make websites and customer experience better. It is primarily those two concepts.
CEOCFO: What have you been able to do technologically provide this service?
Mr. Bewley: In the past, when we did really sophisticated analytics for brands around the world, we had to use fast or Revolution R statistical packages every single time to compute models. Then we had to go through a long turnover process to get to score it on the client’s database. Sometimes custom programming had to be done before the models could be used. Therefore, the elapsed time to build the models took ninety days. The elapsed time to get the models implemented took thirty days if you were really good and maybe ninety days if you were about average. Therefore, half a year passes before analytics could be put to work in most cases. What we did here, technologically, was to develop a way to deliver those scores to brands without having to go through analytic software platforms every time marketers need to compute the probabilities and without having to go through a long and lengthy turnover process to get the analytics to work. That means that we can have a client up and running in less than a month. They can start to receive scores in seconds or sub seconds. It required a great deal of technology innovation to do that. We had to figure out ways to break the equations apart into sections. It is kind of taking an object oriented programming mindset to mathematics and then solve, obviously, some data base computational problems as well. Therefore, the big focus of the technology was to break it into pieces where we could compute scores without having to wake up statistical programs like SAS or R.
CEOCFO: What are you able to measure to determine the likelihood of a customer being a returning customer? What are you able to measure that perhaps other systems do not or that would surprise people coming to the mix?
Mr. Bewley: One of the things that really surprises people coming to the mix is big data. There is a ton of hype right now around big data. The world is just literally crazed with big data right now. There are many organizations and start ups that have now sprung up to monetize data and to sell third party data from a variety of different sources to help marketers predict customer behavior. One of the things that really surprises folks when we are out meeting with customers, or on podiums, or in the middle of an implementation are the types of data that actually matter. About 77% of the predictive equation comes from the brands first party data alone, which is the data that they have within their four walls. Therefore, one of the things that we really like to talk about is that our technology, in many ways, makes the most out of the data that you have already got, which avoids the complexity of third party data costs. It avoids the complexity of the data security and privacy concerns that have made the cover of the Wall Street Journal several times about sharing of consumer data across boundaries and intended use. With the predictions and most equations that we work with, a good portion of the horsepower actually comes from the data that resides within the four walls of the company. We refer to that as longitudinal transaction data. It is the purchase history that you have had with this company over a period of time. We do most of the predictions based on that. We can predict the next logical purchase; what you are going to buy next, with an eighty eight percent accuracy, just working off of the data that you already have within your organization.
CEOCFO: It seems quite high. Is 88% well above the standard?
Mr. Bewley: It is very high. We published that first in Harvard Business Review in 2006 under an article, “Knowing what to sell, when and to whom.” The way that we typically suggest to an organization to start out is that many times they want to pilot test. The other thing that concerns an organization about big data is that it seems like these big, never ending initiatives are hard to prove value out of. Therefore, what we suggest is to carve off a ninety day pilot. Take maybe one percent of your overall customer traffic. Run it through the predictive equations and compare the results that you are getting on that one percent of your traffic verses the other ninety nine percent. We call that lift over control; the control group being the unassisted conversations or website interactions with customers. Even if they do have predictive models in place, they typically are not performing anywhere near an eighty percent accuracy. They may be fifty or sixty percent accurate overall. BCA’s COVALENCE Platform allows you to take a very “bite sized” approach to implementing predictive analytics. The important mantra for many organizations is “crawl, walk, run.” Start with that one percent of your traffic, prove a better result, strive for sixty or seventy percent accuracy and then over time we will dial up the coefficients as the equations start to learn more about your data and your customers, and dial up towards the upper eighty percent accuracy. Most organizations can see significant improvement over what they are doing with sixty or seventy percent accuracy. Therefore, yes, it is quite a bit above what has typically been available to these companies and their live customer interactions.
CEOCFO: When you are speaking with a prospective customer, is there an aha moment when they understand the difference at Big Cloud?
Mr. Bewley: There are a couple of moments where the word that typically pops out is “Wow!” There are two key moments that happen many times when we are in with a prospect, very early on in the conversation. The first moment is when we grab a spreadsheet of customer data off the hard drive and we pass it through the engine and out the backside pops predictions about what they are going to spend for the next three years. It happens very, very quickly. It is sub hundred milliseconds, so we are talking about less than a tenth of a second that we are consuming three years worth of purchase history for this customer and out the back side pops fifteen hundred and thirty seven dollars. First of all, there is just this pause and then the questions just start, like what you just asked. “Tell me about the accuracy; tell me about how you got to this prediction.” Then we start to share some equations and things. Then the next question that invariably comes is, “Things change in my organization over time. I am going to implement a new loyalty program, I am going to have to go back and I am going to have to update how important loyalty is in predicting what my future customers are going to do.” Then we show them how easy it is to change the coefficients of the equation. Therefore, if they have data scientists on their side, if they have more statistically oriented people, or if they just want Big Cloud to make those changes for them, we go through and do just a quick demo on how to change a coefficient. You literally change coefficients to equations through a slider bar on our technology. Then you recalculate that same customer file that we did in the first demo. Then you run it back through the system and the prediction comes out as fourteen hundred and twenty seven dollars. That is where I typically get the big “Wow.” In fact, I was in with a guy that I have done business with for a long time across a variety of different companies. He was a new prospect to Big Cloud. He is responsible for the database in customer intelligence for one of the largest publishing organizations in the world. He is very sophisticated from a consumer intelligence and data perspective. We cycled through that demo and then you just get the pause and then you get the big “Wow,” and he said, “That takes me a month today, to turn over an equation change like that.” To literally see it demoed in front of him in real time, it is a game changer for the speed in which he can get new intelligence into the field, and into the marketplace. Those are the two areas where we see the biggest surprise from prospects.
CEOCFO: Who is using your services today? What types of companies?
Mr. Bewley: We grew up in financial services, telecommunications, retail organizations that have historically been very data rich environments. Financial services, in particular, have a rich history in using analytics to predict customer behavior. We have strong adoption in those markets. The surprises for me have been in healthcare. It really started after October of 2013, after Affordable Care really went into effect. We had healthcare providers, submitting hospitals, healthcare payers; meaning insurance companies, and biomedical companies reach out to us. They proactively found us and said, “We have these new data sets, and we have new customer flow that we have never seen before. We are seeing customer service volumes and call center volumes spike to levels we have never seen before. We do not know if those levels are going to stay at this height, if we need additional call center reps or if they are going to subside over a period of time. We have no basis with predicting these future customers’ behavior from the customer service standpoint, from a loyalty, from a tenure standpoint. We think retail models are going to be really, really important to us. Can you help us?” Therefore, in the beginning of this year we began actually starting to implement some of those retail models into the healthcare industry, again, driven largely by Affordable Care. We are still seeing very, very strong interest in adoption from that vertical. To recap that for you, financial services, retail, telecommunications and automotive, have long time been customers and consumers of ours and remain strong customers and prospects. However, the newest is the whole healthcare arena and how that whole landscape has changed.
CEOCFO: How do you reach out to potential customers? How do they find you if they are looking?
Mr. Bewley: Our outreach is multiple folds. We have strong direct-to-brand relationships. We make many of those new relationships at industry events. We speak at a number of industry events on an annual basis. We have done things like been the Keynote at the Big Data Business Forum in San Francisco. We typically sponsor a couple of conferences a quarter. Therefore, we meet many people who are interested in predictive analytics and big data at those types of conferences. We have a direct outreach program where our sales staff is cultivating relationships with brands that we think would have a need for our services. However, an important part of our go to market strategy, that is also a rapidly growing part of our go to market strategy, is through alliance partners and channel partners. We have strong alliances additionally, in the advertising agency/ PR community. We are starting to see an emergence of channel partners in the systems integrator world. I will give you a couple of examples of that. In the US, it is largely alliance partners in the traditional advertising agencies where they have clients that have advanced analytic needs. Analytic services that they offer, so they are aligning with us to be either a stand beside partner or a white label partner as their analytic offering. In Australia, we have a very large systems integrator that is becoming a channel partner. Where they will perform the data integration components they will perform much of the direct-to-client consulting and we will be more of the Intel inside technology analytics in more of a true channel partner type of framework. As far as customers finding us through our websites, from the formation of big data analytics, we wanted to really perpetuate our position in the marketplace as a thought leader. Our chief scientist is one of the top five marketing scholars in the world and has done a tremendous amount to advance the practice of marketing globally. That was important to us to maintain that as part of our brand identity. Therefore, we have a thought leadership section on our website where we pretty openly share a ton of innovation. Right now, there are probably forty videos on that thought leadership section that range from lectures to demos to case studies, each range from about five minutes in length to an hour in length. We make that available to anyone visiting the site. You do not have to provide an email address to get access to those videos. It is just freely available to the business community out there. There is a ton of content that is consumed. We are probably now about three quarters of a million minutes watched since September, of content on that thought leadership page. Therefore, business leaders are engaging in watching these case studies and lectures and demos out there. Some of those videos have been watched over twenty thousand times. Therefore, much of the interest where customers are reaching out to us starts with thought leadership, off either our YouTube channel or the thought leadership section of our website, bigcloudanalytics.com.
CEOCFO: What is next for the company?
Mr. Bewley: We have a very robust product development roadmap. We are spending a great deal of money in research and development right now. We have twenty three years worth of science and equations that we are bringing into our software in a systematic roadmap. We have new scores coming online for additional industries; centered around customer lifetime value (CLV), for example, out of the box CLV scores for telecommunications and publishing. We are also adding more score types to the software. We are adding Next Logical Products for financial services and for retail in our summer release this month. We are turning on community based learning, which is a feature that we are very excited about. It is going to come out mid-summer. What that will allow the equations within the software to do is for the coefficients to become genetic. That means that they will learn over time based on success and failures of the crowd. We are very excited about that. Therefore, there is a ton of money going into R&D, a ton of new scores and a ton of new functionality in the software. You will see us continue to ramp up our direct-to-brand, go-to-market as well as our channel and alliance partner go-to-market.
CEOCFO: You personally have a very successful business background. I also see from your bio an Ozarks upbringing and military ties early on. How has that affected what you have done? Does it come into play?
Mr. Bewley: That is a great question. Sometimes I joke that I grew up in the forest peeking out from behind trees. I did grow up in a very, very small town in the Ozarks. This town had about four hundred people. We lived about eight miles out of town, so it was tiny. They had one store in the town. The guy who ran that store was named Ellis. It was sort of like a general store with everything from groceries to some hardware and things like that. Ellis knew everybody in the town on a first name basis. Therefore, he had a high level of customer intimacy. You would come into the store and he had known what you had purchased in the past and he would make recommendations about things that were new in the store and that he thought you would like. He had really good recommendations and ideas and he always had your best interest at heart. Therefore, you started to trust his recommendations over a period of time. Therefore, that notion of customer intimacy and customer trust that I learned in small town commerce is something that I have really tried to approximate with business at scale through the use of technology and data and science. That is one thing from my background that has been pervasive in business innovation. The other thing is just that small town sense of community and the friendliness and helping the neighbors really affected the way that I think about employee relations and the way that I want our team here at BCA to think about one another. It is a much more transparent culture. I like to think it is a very rallying culture around one another, a very honest culture. We have a good time with it. We enjoy what we do. We enjoy one another. We take care of one another. Sometimes it costs a little extra financially. Sometime it costs a little extra emotionally to try to apply that type of mindset to the business setting. But, it results in the best experience and outcome for everyone. Therefore, I think that small town roots kind of mindset affected the way that I though about innovation, and it definitely affects the way that I think about team.
CEOCFO: Why pay attention to Big Cloud Analytics?
We are changing the way that analytics is consumed in organizations. We are
democratizing world class analytics. We are taking the thinking of one of
the top five marketing scholars in the world and the best science in the
field of customer engagement analytics and we are making it easy, in
sup-seconds, so that you can use it in all of your live customer
interactions. It is a major cost savings. It is a major speed to market
advantage. The monumental shifts that it creates in organizations that are
applying our sciences is documented in the six billion dollars in return
that we have generated over the last couple of decades.
Data Science and Analytics Technologies, Big Cloud Analytics, Inc., Tech Companies, CEO Interviews 2014, Patrick Bewley, Real Time Marketing Predictive Analytics for Financial Results, COVALENCE™ modeling approach, predict who your most valuable customers will be, what they will buy, when they will buy it and at what price, Recent CEO Interviews, using Big Data to take actions that deliver financial results, technology enabled real-time marketing predictions based on world-renowned science from one of the top five marketing scholars in the world and its proprietary COVALENCE™ modeling approach,. Our COVALENCETM Customer Intelligence Engine, delivers these insights as a Cloud Based Transaction or an Embedded Appliance allowing you to balance flexibility and security, predictive analytics for the Healthcare, Financial Services, Retail, Consumer Packaged Goods, Media and Publishing, Telecommunications, and Airline industries, Big Cloud Analytics has the world’s top social media algorithm for valuing a social influencer on Twitter and Facebook, Big Cloud Analytics, Inc. Press Releases, News, Technology Stock, Companies looking for venture capital, Angel Investors, private companies looking for investors, technology companies seeking investors, big data companies needing investment capital
ceocfointerviews.com does not purchase or
recommendation on stocks based on the interviews published.