Siri “Navigate My Business towards Optimal Performance”


Mark Collingwood | VP | Sales Managing Director | FICO | mail me |

Around 80% of smart phone owners use navigation applications regularly. In fact, many of us are so used to using these navigation tools, we even use them when familiar with our planned destination.

For something so ingrained in our day to day lives, few of us have really stopped to think what these navigation apps are doing.

How a navigation app works

A navigation app uses a combination of maps and GPS location data to provide turn-by-turn guidance from our current location to a destination of choice.

Users set overarching objectives such as ‘fastest route’ or ‘shortest route’ and the navigation app will essentially consider all available routes to your destination to determine one that best meets your defined objective.

Let’s think on that for a second. The navigation system is assessing every possible route, considering the constraints of each leg of the route, such as traffic flow and legal speed limits, determining time and distance to destination for each route and then comparing all the considered routes against your set objective, to work out which one provides the best outcome.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we had something like this for navigating our business decisions?
We could tell it our corporate goals and ask it to help define a strategy that allowed us to meet those goals within our financial, regulatory or operational constraints. In fact, we do.

For many years we have been working with some of the world’s leading organisations to deploy similar techniques to those we use in our navigation systems to help solve significantly more complex business problems across a broad range of industries, including banking and finance, retail, manufacturing, telecommunications, auto finance, energy and supply chain management.

Take collections as an example. For each customer in collections, we have a range of options we could take each day, from do nothing, through to automated voicemails, SMS, emails or a more formal letter. Think of these as the possible routes we could take on a journey. Each of these treatment options has its own probability of success, which varies by customer and age of debt, along with its own cost. Just like different routes, each activity may cost more or take longer.

Evaluating all the options upfront

In business, more progressive companies regularly test ‘challenger’ strategies to assess whether a better alternative is available and compare it with the current champion.

While these decisions are often driven by deep domain experience, they are not much different to trying a different route to a favourite destination and seeing if it’s faster or slower. This can often take the business in the wrong direction and is a slow incremental process of improvement, towards an often-moving target.

By using powerful machine learning optimisation solvers in conjunction with existing statistical models and action-effect relationships, we can instead consider all the possible actions and likely effects, so that we have a full picture of possible outcomes and associated costs.

Source: FICO

We can evaluate all the routes to our destination before we set off. Then, by overlaying business and operational constraints such as cost, affordability criteria, responsible collections practices and overarching business goals – such as maximise collections amount while minimising customer attrition or maintaining operation headcount – we can determine a collective set of actions across all customers that maximise our goals.

You wouldn’t take a journey to a new destination without using navigation. Your business decisions are even more critical.



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