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Why We Built Our Own Analytic Cloud

By Benjamin Baer

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:

  1. 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 customers can quickly get access and scale applications on AWS an order of magnitude faster than physically acquiring and deploying servers themselves.All of this comes at a significant cost. Amazon, Microsoft, Google and other cloud providers pass off the cost of buying, deploying and managing the datacenter resources to you, the customer. And depending on the type of deployment you are considering, this model might make sense. But the FICO Analytic Cloud is a significant endeavor, and we wanted to make sure that it was cost-effective for our clients. By building our own, we can better control the costs of our cloud solutions.
  2. Security: Customer data, financial data and other potential sensitive data are at the heart of making decision management and analytic solutions effective and useful. The diversity of our customers means that we are required to maintain the highest levels of data security and integrity. Even if we were willing to pay an outsourced provider for hardware PCI compliance, there would be additional compliance issues (for example HIPAA or DODIS) that would not be supported by the cloud providers. As such, we'd either not be able to support the largest FICO customers or would have to build our own data portal or unique data security solution.
  3. Expansion and agility: By creating, deploying and managing our own cloud infrastructure, FICO has control over its destiny and infrastructure direction. We can quickly add, complement and expand the cloud infrastructure capabilities to suit customers’ needs and requirements. This will increasingly be apparent as we add new features, capabilities and configurations. The ability to quickly expand and harden our cloud offerings, be agile in our development and roll out new capabilities is a feature of the control we've built into the infrastructure. We can only do this because we're making the investments from the ground up.
Today, we introduced free 30-day trials for our best-in class-tools in the FICO® Analytic Cloud, our new cloud infrastructure for creating, customizing and deploying powerful, analytics-driven applications and services. As we rapidly debut new solutions, and our first customers take our cloud for a test drive, we are confident that we made the right decision to build, rather than rent or buy.

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