TDT: Unlocking the Power of Analytics

Michael G. Foliot, Founder, President and CEO, TDT AnalyticsMichael G. Foliot, Founder, President and CEO Big Data and Analytics—two buzzwords that echo vehemently in the gulf of the business world today. Gartner called them the “oil of the 21st century” and executives flag them as the “new fabric of the modern business world.” They are not just trends anymore, but more like a crystal ball that can predict future of data-driven industries like banking by showcasing insights that were previously concealed under huge stacks of data. According to the Gartner, the analytics market is in the final stages of a multiyear shift from IT led, system-of-record reporting to business-led, self-service analytics. It will also emerge to meet new organizational requirements for accessibility, agility and critical insights. “I have always been fascinated with data and its spark as well as the insights that can be derived,” says Michael G. Foliot, Founder, President and CEO at TDT Analytics—Technology, Data, and Transformation. A veteran with over 30 years of experience in learning and exploiting the prowess of data and its challenges in Multinational companies, Foliot, in 2003 founded TDT Analytics to tie up the loose ends of data and analytics. What began as a business analytics and consulting company, soon gained applauses for its business analytics, predictive analytics, consulting, and business process transformation offerings. “Our predictive and visualization analytics unlock hidden knowledge for effective decision-making and optimization,” says Foliot. Today, TDT tools are aggregating, transforming and analyzing data, displaying near-real-time key performance indicators, and refining the rules and predictive models to drive effective model-based decision-making for enterprises worldwide.

Three Pillars of Analytics

In collaboration with Data Scientists, in 2008, Foliot created a company that focuses on analytics solutions for financial institutions and other industry verticals based on three key areas of need—which are the cornerstones of TDT today. The first aspect is data aggregation and transformation. “Organizations are swimming in a sea of data which is growing exponentially year after year,” says Foliot. In order to prevent banks from drowning in it, and instead make it an asset, TDT crafted solutions that could process huge amounts of data across disparate mainframes, databases, and excel spreadsheets. Secondly, the company focuses on building reliable predictive models that can cast a keen glance into the future. “It is nice to look in the rear view mirror and see what has happened in the past. However, to remain competitive in today’s world, one must anticipate and predict future outcomes as well,” adds Foliot. These predictive models help companies steer their clients toward success in an era of tighter credit, lower consumer spending, greater savings, and more government involvement in the banking practices.

TDT adopts a unique approach to assess the objectives and goals of customers first, and then develops one or more predictive models to address their needs.

“I believe the key reason for our growth is that we take a comprehensive consultative approach with our customers,” says Foliot. “Each customer has a unique set of challenges, opportunities, and questions they want answers to. We listen, partner, and together develop an approach and methodology that can foster growth.”

Through our predictive models, we identify those customers with a propensity to quit and the variables that are impacting their behavior

Once a company has an adequate predictive model or models at their disposal, it can move the odds of competition in its favor. Predictive analytics and business intelligence technologies allow companies to proactively address potential problems before they become detrimental to the bottom line and create a distinctive competitive capability. “Many of our customers in the financial services sector are concerned with customer retention as well as how they can generate more revenue from existing clients,” says Foliot. “Through our predictive models, we identify those customers with a propensity to quit and the variables that are impacting their behavior.” Using this information, TDT generates and creates a set of actions and scripts that allow for an intervention with the customers and to ensure their retention. Creating predictive models is also the prerequisite for the third pillar; creating customized tools to perform data visualization and data mining, and calculating the measure of impact of data crunching on the processes.

With their three-legged data analytic tool, TDT has assisted various organizations to win their uphill battles. Shedding more light on their differentiating factors, Foliot narrates an anecdote of one of their clients who was struggling with customer retention exigencies. “Their objective was to reduce churn by a minimum of 10 basis points,” says Foliot. TDT handed them a set of predictive models using regression analysis and time series analysis as the objective was to analyze merchant behavior and identify what was driving their decisions. “We also looked at over 1,000 variables per merchant and from the regression analysis, we identified variables that were having both a positive and negative impact on end-user performances,” adds Foliot. As a result, the client successfully targeted those customers with the high propensity to quit and highest value (Customer Lifetime Value). TDT also developed a set of customer web tools for retention representatives. This allowed TDT to measure real-time impact of actions taken on customer retention. “The program has been ongoing for three years with savings in retention of over four million,” exclaims Foliot. TDT’s vault is filled with similar success stories of organizations hailing from various industries such as manufacturing, retail, and healthcare.

Clearing the Fog around KPIs

For decades, business leaders have taken strategic decisions on the basis of mountain of information deduced from excel files, compiled by their business users and IT teams. “Excel hell is what I like to call the environment many companies operate in,” says Foliot. “Even though it is an important tool for financial analysis, it’s not made to mimic the role of databases or data repositories.” For each file, there exist multiple replicas with each one reflecting the data differently.

The business intelligence systems by TDT can change this by creating a single database from various and diverse data sets—a Single Version of Truth. The systems ride across all historical patterns and datasets residing in customers and consumers vault, mining them to extract insights, and transforming them into assets. The insights are then portrayed as Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to give customers a better view of their company’s functions and trends.

"I believe the key reason for our growth is that we take a comprehensive consultative approach with our customers"

In the nascent field of data analytics, many leaders like to brag about their KPIs being more alluring than others. KPIs are like a map for analytic engines that can be used to form the next course of action. However, many fail to recognize real KPIs. “The question I like to pose is what is a KPI? Is it a scale to gauge sales of a month or a profit for a quarter?” remarks Foliot. KPIs give insight into ongoing trends and growth percentage of a product in a particular market. TDT embeds analytics within businesses in an active form that allows businesses to understand and use KPIs in order to compete more effectively. It’s all about putting actionable information in the hands of the business users in real time. The analytic platform provides a single, sustainable content and version for calculating current KPI-based models, enabling consistent, reliable, fully informed model-based for decision-making. “It is achieved by providing an analytics expression language that allows ease of calculating KPI’s from metric data,” says Foliot.

Moving towards a Brighter Future

It has been quite a journey for TDT, leaving no stone unturned to become a well-known partner in the data analytics landscape. Whether it is to stay abreast of the latest researches and innovations or go beyond offering obsolete dashboards that simply provide historical view of events, TDT believes every answer needs to answer the objectives of its customers. “We strive to provide the best customer satisfaction through our technologies and that those bring value to ourclient’s ventures. To this point, TDT has successfully kept its speed leveled with the rise of viable technologies and for the days to come, the company intends to follow suit. TDT will also be seen forging and developing custom software for organizations that will bring better, faster, and more accurate insights to them. “Our goal is to enable organizations to execute fact based decisions that will give rise to the single version of truth for achieving competitive advantage and a brighter future,” concludes Foliot.

- Arun Kant
    March 09, 2016