Ad Game Analytics

DDB Matrix is pushing the BI envelope -- among ad agencies, at least -- by rolling out sophisticated analytics that go far beyond standard OLAP and reporting.
In a sense, DDB Matrix is acting as a BI ASP (Application Service Provider) for its advertising clients. While some of the advanced analytics like ARIMA push the envelope of what is commonly understood as BI, Jacqueline Coolidge, analyst with AMR Research in Boston, says the service can still pass the BI litmus test, which she defines as ease of use and the delivery of information to a broad audience not limited to analysts with special training. "If DDB Matrix can mask the complexity of the advanced analytics to provide real numbers to the end user, it definitely counts as BI," says Coolidge.

And Hughes says this is what his company does. DDB Matrix hosts the complex data transformations and coding on their own servers. Clients get a point-and-click HTML interface so they can run marketing forecasts, simulations and optimizations through a browser.

Implementations like these could shake up the BI market. With the release of SAS 9 in March 2004, SAS made clear its intentions to move into the BI space. Past success in advanced analytics has frustrated the company's efforts to take on BI leaders such as Business Objects and Cognos. It is a problem of image. "People still tend to think of us as 'that stat package,'" says Taylor.

BI, however, is growing up and into the advanced analytics space, where SAS is dominant. With 96 of the Fortune 100 of as customers, Coolidge thinks this could be the year when SAS finally sheds its stuffy image and, more significantly, gains some BI market share.