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Unleashing the Chemistry of Big Data

I’ll confess to the guilty pleasure of browsing Kickstarter from time to time, checking out some of the cool innovations that inventors and neophytes alike are trying to fund. A few months ago, one in particular caught my eye – a chemistry set that comes complete with “all the good stuff” – the kind of kit that was on the decline when I was a kid, and that you definitely can’t buy at your local toy store these days. The Kickstarter offering, complete with lots of potentially dangerous goodies, “matches those originally offered by the A.C. Gilbert company from the 1920s through the 40s.” In other words, you need to pay attention to what you’re doing – and no children under 9, please.

What hit me, when I read the Kickstarter creator’s genesis of the project, was that the “old school” chemistry sets could ignite the fire (pun intended) of a young person’s desire to ultimately become a chemist or otherwise involved in the sciences. In comparison, today’s watered-down kits may be eminently less dangerous, but also inherently less valuable in terms of helping a child explore the vast world that, well, just happens to be a bit risky if you don’t pay attention. Without the risk, where’s the reward? And what about the possibility that a truly great chemist or other nascent creative genius may miss the window of opportunity to spark his or her passion?

The chemistry set is really, in a way, emblematic of a lot of life’s opportunities – seized or missed. Practically every day, a new innovation or other change in our lives affords us the chance to choose which version we want to play with, if we understand the choices we have. For business, Big Data is a classic example of the chemistry kit enigma. In the early days, for example, it was about finding ways to store all the data and then do something meaningful with it. The innovators – in our case, the kids with the cutting edge chemistry kits – ultimately constructed sophisticated storage and retrieval systems and then unleashed their scientists to build in-house solutions that would turn raw data into smart data.

However, there was no instruction manual (or warning labels!) to guide the Big Data beacons. As new data types and volumes proliferated while siloed functions (e.g., marketing, originations, risk) each started creating their own Big Data plans, organizations find themselves today spending a lot of money and scarce resources on solutions that are only realizing a fraction of Big Data’s gargantuan decision-making promise. As for organizations with the desire but not the resources to invest in enterprise solutions, they are still awaiting the arrival of solutions built for them – while experimenting with their own smaller-scale Big Data projects.

Now, there’s good news for businesses that desire to kick-start their stalled, expensive or unproductive Big Data initiatives. Today at FICO World in San Diego, our Chief Technology Officer Dr. Stuart Wells demonstrated new analytic-powered solutions and capabilities that will remove the bottleneck of data that isn’t decision-ready or has “missed its moment” due to lack of a real-time Big Data solution.

These three technologies include FICO’s new real-time streaming analytics solution for Big Data, which will help organizations of all sizes ingest, identify and optimize data streams for use in turning data into decisions and, ultimately, actions. Dr. Wells also demonstrated new text analytics capabilities, which will analyze emails, online reviews, social media and call center transcripts to extract relevant content, enhance predictions and improve decision making. And he unveiled the first solution built on technology acquired from Karmasphere earlier this year, FICO® Big Data Analyzer, which will provide an analytics environment for business users, data scientists, and analysts to discover insights by exploring any type and size of data on Hadoop or within a traditional RDBMS.

This availability of cloud-based technologies and analytic communities will further democratize use so that even boutique operations can develop their own Big Data capabilities – or, to sustain the metaphor, fire up the alcohol lamp and create some real magic!

To generate a little chemistry of your own, check out the following insights white paper:


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