FICO’s Bill Waid on DevOps for Speed and AI for Quality

In this episode of That DOS Won't Hunt, FICO's chief product and technology officer talks about how development through a DevOps model accelerated time to release.

Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Editor

October 4, 2023

At a Glance

  • FICO's use of artificial intelligence and machine learning goes back decades and is used to improve quality on deployments.
  • DevOps, in a segmented way, had been part of the strategy, but a unified approach has sped up delivery.
  • FICO is on a continuing journey, leveraging AI resources as the technology evolves.

Every organization naturally wants to improve their time to deliver software, and for FICO that presented a particular challenge given its clients’ needs to make high-volume decisions.

FICO, a data analytics software company that specializes in credit scoring services, uses big data and algorithms to predict consumer spending behavior. Its services are used by such industries as retail, health care, and financial institutions such as banks, insurers, and credit card issuers to make decisions on the customers they do business with.

How institutions measure and respond to consumers, especially when it comes to decisions on issuing credit, is drawing more attention and scrutiny with some concerns of bias and unfairness that may creep in from human input or from AI sources that have been trained that way.

Bill Waid, FICO’s chief product and technology officer, came onto DOS Won’t Hunt to discuss how a unified DevOps model accelerated FICO’s software development time to release and ways AI and machine learning helped improve quality.

"The engineering organization was composed of a number of scrum teams acting in an agile fashion," he says. "DevOps was a key part of our operation -- always has been -- but those DevOps functions occurred within each of the scrum teams." Each of those teams was responsible for the progression of software to production. A move to a platform approach, Waid says, allowed for core features and capabilities to be shared across use cases that FICO goes to market with.

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"The challenge that we were faced with is, from a DevOps perspective, that as a platform those DevOps functions need to work together," he says. FICO set out to unify its DevOps model in response.

AI is also at play in the organization's development strategy. According to Waid, FICO’s use of AI goes back decades in the business, which he says helped his company tackle the ever-flowing flood of data generated by the consumer market. Though FICO had implemented a DevOps strategy years prior, Waid says adopting a more unified approach has helped developers improve on time to delivery.

Listen to the full podcast here.

About the Author(s)

Joao-Pierre S. Ruth

Senior Editor

Joao-Pierre S. Ruth covers tech policy, including ethics, privacy, legislation, and risk; fintech; code strategy; and cloud & edge computing for InformationWeek. He has been a journalist for more than 25 years, reporting on business and technology first in New Jersey, then covering the New York tech startup community, and later as a freelancer for such outlets as TheStreet, Investopedia, and Street Fight. Follow him on Twitter: @jpruth.

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