FICO Chief Analytics Officer Sees a Post–Big Data World in 2015

Predictive analytics and the Big Data that fuels it become deeply and broadly embedded in business and society – no longer a phenomenon but widely accepted as part of the foundation. Here are a few of his predictions for the coming year.

By Andrew Jennings (FICO), Dec 2014.

Big Data 1. Big Data and analytics are “business as usual.” The hype around Big Data has finally crested. Big Data will always be with us, and it will keep getting bigger. But business users have come to the realization that analytics is the key to unlocking value from Big Data. In 2015, more companies will cultivate in-house analytic competencies and many will embrace analytics as an important part of their company cultures.

Cyber-security 2. Predictive security will become an important tool in the effort to stop cyber criminals. With cybercrime and cyber terrorism on the rise, the good guys are finally moving beyond their reactive approach to security. In 2015, police, military and intelligence agencies will employ analytics to predict when, where and how the next attack will occur so such attacks can be thwarted before damage is done.

3. Automation of modeling as well as the related reporting will be a priority. The continued expansion of analytics is predicated on making the process as simple as possible and codifying the steps that many analytic experts take for granted. This is not without some danger, but I believe we will see significant investment in this area.

4. The unstructured shall inherit the Earth. Analysis of unstructured data is coming of age, particularly in customer service. Every tweet, chat session, call center conversation, and customer support email is going to be analyzed to accelerate problem resolution, optimize scripts for sales people, enhance shopping experiences, make products less confusing, and increase compliance.

5. The causation vs. correlation debate is becoming passé. In most cases whether the underlying relationship is causal or correlative is irrelevant. In business circles, people want to make better decisions. They need to know what business levers to pull to get closer to the desired result; the why is secondary. Overall the important issue is to gather good data and trust it. As famed statistician Bradley Efron said, “Those who ignore statistics are condemned to re-invent it.”

Andrew Jennings is FICO's chief analytics officer and head of FICO Labs. He has held a number of leadership positions at FICO since joining the company in 1994, including a stint as director of FICO's European operations.