All posts by Todd Rollin

Analytics & Optimization Analytics Unleash the Power of Alternative Energy

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“The wealth of the nation is its air, water, soil, forests, minerals, rivers, lakes, oceans, scenic beauty, wildlife habitats and biodiversity… that’s all there is. That’s the whole economy. That’s where all the economic activity and jobs come from. These biological systems are the sustaining wealth of the world.” – Gaylord Nelson, former US Senator and founder of Earth Day When we ponder climate change and alternative energy, the visceral reaction for many of us is not just thinking about our future on this planet, but also our children’s, and that of their children. Even proponents of “staying the course” by focusing largely (or even solely) on traditional energy sources would have to acknowledge that our global economy would collapse as our systems degrade over time – as Gaylord Nelson reminds us in his brief but compelling message. Alas, the challenges of tapping into alternative energy’s potential are still very... [Read More]

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Analytics & Optimization Clean Energy Firm Solves an “Impossible” Problem with FICO Tech

Windfarm Designs logo

Harnessing the potential of wind energy is a challenging problem, from capture through conversion into electrical power. A key facet of wind farm design is how the turbines are placed. A “typical” wind farm project may encompass 200×300 grid points on the wind map to cover 20 turbines; if you consider the number of ways to position these turbines, the placement problem becomes incredibly cumbersome. But it’s not just maximizing energy yield that vexes the human brain. For years, the industry studied the problem of how to factor load constraints into the power optimization mix. Turbine loads (described through IEC standards or load models) have been considered too difficult to include in the optimization problem. Instead, consultants and manufacturers manually review and adjust layouts, which not only takes time – it also generates less than ideal results. Markedslabben AS, a Norwegian wind farm design tool and optimization start-up, cracked the... [Read More]

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Analytics & Optimization Innovative Application Process Leads to Happy Yarra Employees


With more than 1.7 million customers and 50,000 businesses, Yarra Valley Water is Melbourne’s largest water and sewerage utility. From day one, it has sought to provide timely and excellent customer service, culminating in, among other enhancements, the development of its easyACCESS system to automate its development application process. The project has seen the company win a FICO® Decision Management Award for Decision Management Innovation, and we’re thrilled to have Yarra Valley Water telling its story at next week’s FICO World, to be held in Washington DC on April 26-29. As I worked with Stuart Squires (system manager for Yarra Valley Water), Rhonwyn Colley (director for Wise Technology Management, who were key to the implementation and deployment of easyAccess) and FICO’s Jeremy Chen on the presentation, I was struck by not only how the FICO® Decision Management Suite technology was the core analytic and technology driver behind the success of... [Read More]

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Analytics & Optimization 3 Reasons to Visit INFORMS 2016, April 10-12, in Orlando


The INFORMS conferences continue to unveil game-changing approaches that businesses are using advanced analytics such as optimization to literally transform lives and businesses. For those of you who aren’t familiar, The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS) is the largest society in the world for professionals in the field of operations research (O.R.), management science, and analytics. They hold multiple annual conferences targeting diverse audiences, with the Business Analytics and Operations Research conference – held this year at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress in Orlando, Florida, from April 10-12 – focusing on the wide-ranging use cases that demonstrate the breadth of depth of analytic innovation. This year, FICO is thrilled to be an INFORMS Platinum Sponsor, which reflects our organization’s focus on optimization and prescriptive analytics as critical components of an integrated decision management strategy. If you’re already planning to come to INFORMS, here are three good... [Read More]

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Analytics & Optimization When Will Analytic Business Adoption Reach an Inflection Point?


I have a confession to make. And nothing that would make most of you shudder (except for my beloved marketing colleagues). When I tell people I work for FICO, I usually get a response like “can you fix my credit score?” And by the time I break into my economical 30-second elevator pitch fit for cocktail parties, describing that we do more than scores, they’re already mingling with someone else. But recently, I had a conversation that evolved beyond the 580s and 820s of the credit scoring world. At a party, I chatted with someone who actually stuck around for my “what I do” story and confessed to knowing that FICO is in the analytics business. We talked about the difference between predictive and prescriptive analytics, the cumulative effect of business actions (such as marketing offers) on consumers, and even into the business value of an occasional fraud false positive.... [Read More]

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Analytics & Optimization Three Reasons Optimization is Set Up for Big Growth in 2016


In numerous recent blogs, we’ve highlighted how optimization helps businesses – from Southwest Airlines to Sprint – determine the action or actions they should take to achieve the right mix of risk mitigation, profitability and positive customer outcomes – all within the timeframes that drive the greatest value. Southwest told us how this analytic capability helps them optimize everything from gate assignment to provisioning beer and peanuts, while Sprint is using optimization to intelligently onboard new wireless customers, ensuring they’re happy with their handset and plan choices without taking on additional unnecessary risk. It has become clear, however, that many businesses, from banks to utilities, are still trying to figure out how to start their first meaningful optimization project – and IT is a critical barrier that often stops efforts before they get past the planning stage. One can hardly blame them – in fact, IT needs to juggle legacy... [Read More]

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Analytics & Optimization FICO-Kaggle Competition: Help Sleighless Santa Save Christmas


Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later. Santa’s been getting a bit absent-minded these days. Maybe he’s working too hard to help Mrs. Santa kick off her new online candy cane-scented candle business. Perhaps all that work on the elliptical trainer to work off his Thanksgiving pumpkin pie is wearing him down. Or maybe he’s frustrated that his recent Hadoop deployment hasn’t solved the eternal problem of determining which kids are actually good. Nevertheless, when Santa left his keys in his magical sleigh at the local mall, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist elf to figure out what happened. Some hooligan made off with Santa’s longitudinal runners (we can’t call them wheels, can we?), and the ruffian is probably long gone by now. So that leaves Santa in a quandary for this year’s holiday season. How can he get all those toys to excited boys and girls across the... [Read More]

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Analytics & Optimization Will Banks Receive a Gift from the Fed this Holiday Season?


We all know that old cliché, “the check’s in the mail.” Well, it usually isn’t, but we keep thinking it will show up at some point. It reminds me of what we keep hearing about the Federal Reserve raising interest rates. According to the latest job market numbers, however, banks might actually be celebrating the Holidays this year if the indicators are finally on target. According to this MarketWatch article, a poll of economists projects more than a 200K increase in newly hired workers in November, after a huge month in October. Of course if that projection seriously overshoots the actual numbers (the actual report will be published this Friday), we might still be waiting for the increase. But even if the data falls short of 200K new jobs, frozen interest rates stand a very good chance of thawing out. Another positive sign: Paychecks are gradually on the rise, as... [Read More]

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Analytics & Optimization Webinar: Prescriptive Analytics, the Antidote to Business Challenges


For many organizations, prescriptive analytics potentially represents the “promised land” of Big Data-driven decision making. After all, it evolves beyond predictive analytics to help solve complex business problems with multiple constraints and objectives. This methodology fuses data, business objectives and customer centricity in such a way that even micro-segmented customer treatments are possible and timed with the best possible outcomes. Still, prescriptive analytics may seem a distant dream for businesses that are still using diagnostic and/or predictive analytics to make decisions. Indeed, while prescriptive analytics can exist alongside these tools, the end game is different, as an a highly regarded industry analyst states in this Information Age article. According to the analyst, “Unlike other type of analytics the output is a decision. That’s where it’s really different. It’s about trying to find the best decision, where best is defined by you, whether that’s lowest cost, most efficient process, higher revenue,... [Read More]

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Analytics & Optimization Optimization & Brotherly Love: 3 Reasons to Visit INFORMS 2015


The INFORMS Annual Meeting brings a very broad operations research scope to help empower organizations across multiple industries strike the right balance between risk, profit and customer-centric decisions. However, many businesses are mired in how to drive customer engagement as data proliferates, business problems are getting harder to solve, and the time window to engage customers keeps shrinking. Clearly, finding (or keeping) a competitive edge is a challenge for even the most analytically savvy organizations. So it’s not completely ironic that this year’s INFORMS is held in Philadelphia – “The City of Brotherly Love” on November 1-4. Happy customers keep coming back for more. And FICO experts will be on hand to demonstrate how optimization consistently delights customers – all the while boosting returns, reducing churn and losses, and driving compliance. Here are three reasons to “feel the love” about INFORMS: We’re conducting a hands-on technology workshop featuring the latest... [Read More]

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