AgilOne's Cloud Service: Predictive Analytics On A Budget - InformationWeek
Data Management // Big Data Analytics
12:46 PM
Connect Directly
Ransomware: Latest Developments & How to Defend Against Them
Nov 01, 2017
Ransomware is one of the fastest growing types of malware, and new breeds that escalate quickly ar ...Read More>>

AgilOne's Cloud Service: Predictive Analytics On A Budget

AgilOne targets retailers lacking the technical infrastructure or personnel to develop a predictive customer model in-house.

13 Big Data Vendors To Watch In 2013
13 Big Data Vendors To Watch In 2013
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
At the end of November, AgilOne launched its synonymous cloud service for marketers eager to create predictive marketing models.

All companies want to be as efficient as possible and spend their marketing budgets effectively, but the ultimate goal is "to make relationships better with customers," AgilOne CEO Omer Artun told InformationWeek in a phone interview. "It's about understanding the sentiment of the customer both today and over time."

Most of AgilOne's customers know they have valuable data but either haven't yet built a marketing model or have already tried to integrate various data sources but "failed or have a subpar solution," Artun said.

Artun not only has a background in data science (he holds a Ph.D. in computational neuroscience and physics from Brown University), he also served a consulting stint at McKinsey & Co. and held senior positions at two retailers: CDW/Micro Warehouse, and just prior to founding AgilOne, Best Buy, where he was senior director of B2B marketing at the company's Best Buy For Business division. "I started AgilOne based on my own experience as a frustrated marketer," Artun says in a company press release.

[ Startup Euclid offers data analytics on the go. Read more at Your Smartphone As Big Data Analytics Tool. ]

"The commonality of all our customers is they're all highly transactional, high-volume marketers," he said, adding that huge volumes of dirty data mean the "signal to noise" ratio is low for these enterprises. AgilOne is working with some 40 customers already, including brands like Bosch, Shazam and PetCareRx.

For PetCareRx, a 14-year-old online pet health and wellness products retailer, the issue was growth and the need to look at diverse marketing "touches" over time to understand the lifetime value of each customer. "[Building a predictive model] in-house was not where we wanted to put our resources," PetCareRX CFO Mark Ellis said in a phone interview.

With 20,000 SKUs, hundreds of thousands of active customers and millions of transactions, understanding the purchase patterns of customers is a complicated business, Ellis said. Before AgilOne, the retailer had to take a one-size-fits-all marketing approach, such as offering a set calendar of discounts and similar promotions to everyone. But now the company has much more insight into each customer, Ellis said.

Likewise, AgilOne helped the company create much more finely grained financial models and business projections, which are now updated monthly. "It's remarkably accurate and incredibly valuable," Ellis said.

Cloud-based big data solutions or "appliances" that rely on machine learning to quickly create a predictive model make sense in some scenarios, said Forrester research senior analyst Rob Brosnan. "Look, a hand-tuned model developed by super-smart data scientists will beat a machine-generated model most days of the week," Brosnan said. That said, he went on to note the common wisdom that data scientists aren't easy to hire or retain.

Interestingly, Brosnan doesn't expect the likes of IBM, SAP or Oracle to follow AgilOne into this space. Rather, he anticipates a wave of acquisitions in two or three years, either by traditional database companies or the largest marketing automation companies.

AgilOne's Artun, meanwhile, expects a shakeout this year. The rush to create big data infrastructures and "so many people building interconnectivity," he said, means "a lot of immature solutions will collapse. Absolutely."

Attend Online Marketing Summit San Diego, Feb. 11-13, and gather the insights and strategies you need to make the right online marketing choices to deliver the most value for your business. OMS San Diego offers three days of inspiration, connections, and practical learning. Register by Jan. 11 with code WETW01 and save up to $600 on All Access or Conference passes.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
To learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
2017 State of IT Report
In today's technology-driven world, "innovation" has become a basic expectation. IT leaders are tasked with making technical magic, improving customer experience, and boosting the bottom line -- yet often without any increase to the IT budget. How are organizations striking the balance between new initiatives and cost control? Download our report to learn about the biggest challenges and how savvy IT executives are overcoming them.
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll