Coming fresh off of being recognized as a Cool Vendor in Analytics by Gartner, Applied Predictive Technologies CEO Anthony Bruce joins CloudWedge in an exclusive interview.
We recently caught up with the APT CEO and he shared with us what makes Applied Predictive Technologies one of the coolest cloud analytics suites available today. In our interview below, Bruce talks about his background, APT success stories and his predictions regarding the future of cloud based analytics. Enjoy!
Mr. Bruce, tell us a little a bit about your background and what brought you into the analytics field.
Early in my career as a management consultant, I became quite attuned to the complexity that business leaders across the globe faced when using data to make decisions.Using data well is difficult. Together with my APT partners Jim Manzi and Scott Setrakian, we recognized that in the face of improving computational power and database technology, helping organizations leverage data-driven analytics via a software / technology / consulting model would be better than a traditional strategy consulting model. A traditional consulting model would become an antiquated approach within the analytics field. We believed that creating intellectual capital in the form of technology and delivering software solutions, rather than just deploying external consultants, would add more value to client organizations. We realized that over time a cloud-based, single software platform, integrating organizations internal data with the ever-increasing web of third-party and public data, could broadly solve nearly any analytic problem faced by business leaders.
During your tenure at Applied Predictive Technologies, is there any specific success story that sticks out to you?
Victorias Secret became one of our first clients in 2000. They were then and they are now innovative in their use of data, sophisticated in their approach, and adept in their focus on experimentation. The relationship was and continues to be a great opportunity for us to work with an industry leader to address the challenges associated with in-market testing. Both organizations have improved dramatically. We were proud to be selected to work with them in 2000, proud to assist in important decisions within their business, and are proud to continue to have a strong relationship with Victorias Secret 15 years later.
In your bio, you mention that APT has mastered the art of “institutionalizing fact-based, data-driven decision-making through Test & Learn.” Could you tell us a little bit more about that process and elaborate on how Test & Learn actually works?
Typically, business leaders make decisions based on information that is often incomplete, unreliable or irrelevant, forcing them to rely on intuition, which can lead to sub-optimal outcomes. Organizations have attempted to solve this problem by utilizing reporting, correlation and other traditional analytics. However, none of those approaches offer truly predictive cause-and-effect analytics. Our software helps organizations rapidly and precisely measure cause-and-effect relationships between business initiatives and outcomes to generate economic value. Our proprietary Test & Learn software utilizes sophisticated algorithms to analyze large amounts of customer and third-party data, enabling business leaders to conduct experiments and allowing them to make optimal decisions and implement business initiatives that maximize profits.
For example, Wawas marketing team had developed a new flatbread breakfast offering that had performed well in spot-testing. Management wanted more robust measurement of what happened to other products when the flatbread was introduced. Wawa used APTs Test & Learn software to design a scientific test and measure the impact of the flatbread introduction across all key performance metrics and product categories. The flatbread performed well, but unfortunately the new item cannibalized sales of existing menu items. Wawa decided not to roll out the flatbread.
Speaking of predictions, what are your predictions for APT going forward? Where do you see APT going and how do you expect the cloud help with these Endeavors?
It is a very exciting time at APT, particularly given our partnership with MasterCard and MasterCard Advisors. We not only continue to expand our product suite to better serve the analytic needs of our customers, but we are constantly growing our client base, industry footprint, and geographic reach. For any software analytics company to thrive and to provide value, it is essential to be cloud-based. Rigorous analytics require the aggregation of disparate datasets that are often housed in silos and functions within an organization and in a multitude of third-party data sets. The cloud brings these datasets (financial, economic, weather, etc.) together, enabling comprehensive analysis that can generate actionable recommendations.
What APT products would you recommend for a small to medium sized business that is just now realizing the benefits of data driven analytics?
Tests vs. control analysis, at the customer-level, is possible and valuable for the vast majority of organizations. Using our Test & Learn for Customers software, small and midsized companies also can gain an understanding of which customers respond profitability to which initiatives. These organizations are using Test & Learn for Customers to understand: What channel (e.g. email, direct mail, phone etc.) is most effective and for which customer type?, What factors make a customer more likely to attrite?, How effective is our loyalty program?, among many others.
Further, APTs Market Basket Analyzer is allowing any company with transaction data, regardless of size, to gain accurate insights into questions such as: Which types of transactions draw broad purchases across various merchandise categories?, What are the economics of different promotional approaches and combinations?, Which SKUs or products should be cut from my offering?, Which products should not be promoted at the same time?, Did my promotion drive sales through incremental traffic, or through larger transactions?, among others.
With our partnership with MasterCard and MasterCard Advisors, we are on the verge of offering a set of new and exciting products that will be particularly valuable for the smaller and medium sized enterprise and provide heretofore unavailable market insights.
APT has won several awards, including Gartner’s “Cool Vendor” award in analytics. What should someone learning about Applied Predictive Technologies for the first time know about your products? Can businesses stay competitive without Big Data solutions like APT?
Any organization with many transactions, many interactions, many products, or many customers can benefit immensely from data-driven analytics and from APTs solutions in particular. All consumer- and business-facing industries are trying to use Big Data. The question for leaders is how to speed up the transition from having more data to puttingthis data to work in driving better decisions, de-risking innovation, and converting Big Data into big shareholder value. More and more leading companies are leveraging our Test & Learn approach to decision making. They are testing ideas across capital expenditures, pricing, merchandising, marketing, and operations programs, among other areas.
All analytics are not created equal. As Jim Collins says, In the face of instability, uncertainty, and rapid change, relying upon pure analysis will likely not work, and just might get you killed. Analytic skills still matter, but empirical validation matters much more. You need to have an approach that tells you not just what happened historically, but also what will happen in the future if you make a specific decision. Test & Learn should be at the core of any strategy for innovation.
Gain deep insights into your business by implementing APTs cloud based analytics tools. Learn more about Applied Predictive Technologies by visiting PredictiveTechnologies.com.