Tag Archives: Decision Optimization

Collections & Recovery FICO Optimization Helps Toyota Keep Customers in Cars

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In a recent post, my colleague Martin Germanis talked about the importance of optimization in collections. Toyota Financial Services has put this into practice with dramatic results. Toyota’s Collections Treatment Optimization program integrates decision management, reporting and advanced analytics to provide a data-driven, scientific and customer-centric approach to collections. During its first year, the program helped more than 6,000 customers avoid repossession and stay in their cars, and prevented 50,000 customers from reaching a stage of delinquency that would affect their credit. “Working with delinquent customers to keep them in their cars while working out payment options has helped Toyota avoid millions of dollars in losses,” said Jim Bander, national manager for decision science at Toyota Financial Services. “It’s a win for our customers, and a win for Toyota. Furthermore, it reduced our operating expense ratio by allowing Toyota to grow our portfolio by roughly nine percent, without adding collections... [Read More]

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Analytics & Optimization Why Businesses Need Decision Trees


A lot of people may not know what decision trees are. Do they bear fruit? Are they hardy enough to survive inclement weather? Actually, decisions trees are an essential part of daily life. Everyone uses decision trees to plan their lives, whether or not they know it. Only we probably don’t think of them as decision trees. Should you change out of your pajamas? Will you ever find the thing you lost? Should you get a dog? Several daily life decision tree examples are posted on this site – these are intentionally funny, perhaps, but I think we can admit this stuff isn’t that far from the truth. Well, if decision trees power our daily decisions, how are businesses using decision trees to power their customer interactions? This was the key topic that my colleague Lamar Shahbazian and I recently co-presented in a short webinar, Unleashing the Power of Business Rules Development. While decision trees in business take... [Read More]

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Analytics & Optimization VIDEO: Yarra Valley Optimizes Land Developer Applications


Innovation is in the plumbing of Yarra Valley Water, Melbourne’s leading provider of water and sewage services. The utility is committed to supplying recycled water to 100,000 homes, so people can continue to enjoy the natural beauty of the area without affecting drinking water availability. They’re also on the forefront of redirecting storm water to reduce pollution in the area’s scenic creeks and rivers. Their innovation is also making customers and businesses more efficient. Yarra Valley Water’s online portal for developers, easyAccess, helps expedite application approvals while reducing manual processes and freeing up employees to focus on more complex applications. easyAccess has been around since 1995; however, by 2011, the solution was unable to keep up with increasingly complex applications, and only 40% of each year’s 5,500 submissions were handled automatically — the rest required human intervention. Yarra Valley Water chose FICO® Blaze Advisor® Decision Rules Management System which enables its employees to... [Read More]

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Analytics & Optimization From Data Stockpile to Decision-Ready Organization in No Time Flat


There’s little need to belabor the point that many businesses today generate more data in a single day than they used to in whole year. A few years ago storing all of this data at a reasonable cost was the biggest challenge. Newer technologies now solves for that. However, data by itself is neither useful nor meaningful. Simply sitting on a stockpile of data provides minimal value. The real value is to make your data “decision-ready.” Simply put to take data process, augment and analyze it to improve its immediate decision value. Whilst seemingly difficult, there is a tangible way to continuously get your data to state of decision-readiness. I’m not talking about a one-off project that takes a herculean kind of effort similar to the Manhattan Project. Rather I’m talking about systemic and automatable ways to achieve this goal. Questions to Ask Start out by asking yourself what problems... [Read More]

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Analytics & Optimization Finding Patterns in the Random Holiday Season


As we settle down with our families to enjoy the winter holidays, many of us will be celebrating various traditions. For many, the culmination of the season is waking on December 25th to the excited cheers of their children as they see their Christmas horde waiting under the tree.  These children believe that Santa Claus, despite carrying what must be a massive load, manages to fly on a sleigh powered by eight reindeer to every home on the planet in one night. The jolly old elf climbs down the chimney and places each present carefully underneath the Christmas tree.  The children wake up on Christmas morning and, ta-da, there are presents. As it turns out, there is a word for this belief:  Apophenia.  According to Wikipedia, Apophenia is defined as the experience of seeing patterns or connections in random or meaningless data. Apophenia was first used to define the “unmotivated seeing of... [Read More]

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Collections & Recovery How Government Agencies are Better Serving Collections


“Hey, Rich – it’s Edward Jacobs returning your call.”

“Thanks for calling back, Mr. Jacobs. I had a chance to review your case and have some good news. We can go over the details on this call, or I can send you an e-mail and you can select your preferred option via our web portal.”

“E-mail would be great, Rich; I’m in a lot of meetings this week. Also, could you send me a text reminder like last time? That was great. Glad I signed up for those.”

“Perfect. Look forward to that text and e-mail, and we can go from there. And as always – just pick up the phone if you need to talk, I’ll be your designated point of contact.”

“Thanks. I really appreciate the help. Considering the situation, you’re making my life easier – it’s great working with just one agent and not having to tell my story to multiple people.”

Sound familiar? The answer may surprise you. Yes, it’s a customer service call. But it’s not what you think – Rich is a debt collector for a government agency, while Mr. Jacobs owes back taxes on some of the multiple properties he owns.

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Analytics & Optimization Why We Built Our Own Analytic Cloud


Not too long ago, deploying advanced analytics required massive investments in IT infrastructure and application software, creating a sort of “analytic elitism.” Over the last year we’ve been focused on democratizing analytics, so that organizations of all sizes can base their operational decisions on data. And to do this we needed to build our own cloud infrastructure.

But why? Why did we decide to build our own infrastructure rather than leveraging a hosted provider like Amazon Web Services (AWS)? This was hotly debated within our company and essentially it came down to three very important reasons:

Cost: While AWS, Microsoft Azure, the Google cloud and other cloud hosting providers garner significant attention and mindshare, first and foremost their value is speed of resource delivery. When and if a customer needs server and computing resources, the network for these services can be deployed and accessed in very little time. Speed is a critical value for hosting service customers. By partitioning and deploying compute resources in minutes or an hour...

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Analytics & Optimization Big Data Analytics and Decision Management Set to Revolutionize the Customer Experience


  By Benjamin Baer How did the worst attended Major League Soccer (MLS) team turn it around, now packing an average of 19,709 people into its stadium that seats 18,467, with a waiting list for its 14,000 season tickets? It did it by turning insights (data that told it what was keeping its fans away) into actions (making its stadium feel more like a couch). Sporting Kansas City developed a popular mobile app, which turns a fan’s smartphone into an in-stadium DVR, delivering the advantages of watching soccer at home to its fan base attending its games. The app also gathers reams and reams of information on its fans by tracking their activities inside the stadium – with their approval of course – which enables it to continue improving the fan experience. Sporting Kansas City serves as good microcosm for extrapolating, more broadly, how savvy businesses will be able to use Big Data analytics and improved decision-making to revolutionize the customer experience.  Today Big Data analytics and decision management technology is helping to drive...

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Analytics & Optimization Are You Doing Innovative Things with Optimization Technology? Enter to Win


Are you an operations researcher, a management scientist, an analytic expert or a data scientist? Are you using mathematical optimization to increase efficiency and enhance economic and life pursuits? It’s time to recognize your innovative thinking and implementation abilities. Today we are issuing a call for entries for our inaugural Optimize the Real World competition, with three $10,000 prizes. We are looking to recognize and celebrate the most innovative and exceptional applications of mathematical optimization in the real world. You are invited to nominate projects that make you proud. From utilities to transportation, retail to sports and entertainment, optimization is transforming the way businesses function and the way business executives make decisions. Given the creative approaches being applied by operations researchers today, we can hardly wait to see the nominations. Nominations will be judged by a panel of our optimization experts for originality, business benefit, formulation robustness, and mathematical programming and solution quality. The...

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Analytics & Optimization Analytics, Optimization and the Asia Travel Boom


Over the last few weeks, the world has been transfixed by the baffling mystery of the Malaysia Airlines jet. One particular article on news.com.au on March 21 caught my atttention, Missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 ‘won’t stop Asia travel boom’. The article took an interesting look at the airline industry itself and the transformation occurring in Asia. The backdrop is compelling even if far removed from the headlines, so I thought I would share with you some of the most interesting points from the article. Air travel in Asia is surging as the middle class gets bigger, discount airlines proliferate and business ties with the rest of the world deepen.  According to the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines, the biggest demographic shift for Asia in the past 20 years has been the sheer number of people who have been lifted out of poverty into that middle income segment of $10-$100 of disposable income a day. The International Air Transport Association has forecast airline passengers to grow by 31 percent worldwide between 2012...

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