Knowledge Foundry (http://www.knowledgefoundry.net) is a boutique analytics and research firm. We talk with Raj Bhatt on more about Knowledge Foundry.
AIMAnalytics India Magazine: What are some of the main tenets (philosophies, goals, attributes) of your analytics approach and policies?
RBRaj Bhatt: Analytics is a tool to achieve business objectives. We call ourselves a ‘business solutions’ company because we don’t believe in renting warm bodies to clients to throw at an analytics problem. We tend to own up the business problem and its solution. As such we are very different from process outsourcing companies.
We are focused on a few verticals and a few solutions (see below) where we have deep expertise.
AIM: Please brief us about some business solutions you provide to your customers and how do they derive value out of it.
RB: Some of our solutions include:
- Assortment and allocation for retail, especially fashion retail
- Personalization for E-commerce retail (Segmentation, recommendations, campaign management, predictive analytics)
- Business Research for technology verticals
- Interactive charts & dashboards
AIM: Where do you see the bulk of your business coming from? Do Indian organizations have the same affinity towards BI/ Analytics as that of organizations from other regions?
RB: Most of our business comes from US clients. Indian clients are increasingly using BI and Analytics. We are seeing a lot of traction from Indian e-commerce companies.
AIM: What kind of knowledge worker do you recruit and what is the selection methodology? What skill sets do you look at while recruiting in analytics?
RB: We tend to recruit analysts with 3-4 years of industry experience. We don’t have a set hiring procedure since we are a small company. We look for specific programming skill-sets (R, SAS, SQL, SPSS) that meet our need. While looking for statisticians, we consider their experience in handling large datasets and ability to solve problems (rather than follow a set process).
We are a 20 people team, with 7 statisticians, 10 programmers and 3 business domain experts.
AIM: Would you like to share any example of an Insight that generated a huge positive impact for your clients?
RB: In fashion retail, we have a unique way of estimating lost sales potential and margin loss due to mark-downs, which is used to calculate the optimal assortment and allocation for each store. For a particular US retail client, the incremental gross margin impact was estimated to be 2 to 3% of sales.
AIM: What according to you are the most important rising trends in Analytics.
RB: 1. The most important trend is the increasing hype/confusion around Big Data analytics. We define a problem as a Big Data problem only if the size of the data, the short timeframe for a solution, and the diversity of the data necessitate a distributed NoSQL-based architecture. However many companies and people have their own definition of Big Data – leading to a lot of confusion about what qualifies as a Big Data solution.
2. The second trend I see is the rise of SaaS solutions for BI and analytics because of the low cost of cloud infrastructure, and the ability to plug in to APIs of major enterprise systems.
3. I see rising interest among US educators/ universities for analytics due to the enormous analytics talent gap, which is an important development.
AIM: Anything else you wish to add?
RB: We recently acquired a SaaS BI products company called Knolseed Technologies. As a result, a bunch of smart programmers and engineers headed by Raghuram Sreenath and Mohan Varadarajan (both ex-Amazon) have joined us. They had developed a SaaS BI platform called BrewCharts (www.brewcharts.com) that is white-labeled by several partners.
We are focusing on productizing our analytics knowledge in specific domains. To begin with, we are piloting a SaaS solution for personalization of E-commerce marketing.