[dropcap style="1" size="2"]AV[/dropcap]Anurag Verma: As I see there are two parts to this question – one is to do with our core beliefs around analytics and the other is to do with the central thought process around policies that govern our business. Both these parts feed into each other and we tend to address them almost interchangeably. However, to get more specific, let us look at analytics. Now we strongly believe that analytics is all about helping businesses becoming smarter about what they do, tactically and strategically, by using data and intelligence within the enterprise and outside the enterprise. Analytics is no longer a choice that a business would make…it is an imperative. The maturity and readiness might differ across businesses, geographies – but it is, and will eventually move towards a level playing field. We are excited to be at the center of this action and believe that we have solutions, skill set, and the experience that can help our clients in more ways than one.
As to our policies and our fundamental philosophy – by the way we call it “our lighthouse”, we believe that in business as in life, the foundational principles remain the same. Be honest, deliver on promises, promise what you can deliver, accept that you will make mistakes, accept your mistakes, learn from them, take responsibility, improve and always work hard. You see there is nothing complex about it!
AIM: Please brief us about some business solutions you work on and how you derive value out of it.
AV: We provide a range of services and solutions for consumer industries (B2C companies) like BFSI (Banking, Financial Services and Insurance), Healthcare, Telecom and retail. We have three core offerings which we like to call as Foundational offerings. They are (i) Customer Analytics, (ii) Fraud identification and mitigations solutions, (iii) Risk and Collections analytics. The leadership team at MathLogic has significant experience working with numerous clients across geographies in these areas. We have consistently seen businesses gaining from our solutions. Individually we have worked on business problems that have for example increased client ROI on cross sell initiatives, reduced false positives significantly in identifying fraudulent transactions on credit cards, reduced default on loans, or improve collections efficiency….
AIM: How does a typical requirement gathering to delivery cycle looks like for you?
AV: I wouldn’t say that it follows a particular cycle – it depends a lot on type of problem, the client, maturity continuum of the industry or client, the team you are working with, etc. Typically, we encourage our clients to sit across for a business problem, process, scoping and expectations setting discussion. We have found this discussion to be a critical input as it cuts through a lot of presumptions that both parties might have. It also allows for a clear articulation of problems and issues, possible challenges, and current processes – which in turn feed logically into scoping, solution design, project planning and execution.
In addition what we also find critical is the need to have check-points during the logical progression of the analytical build phase. A regular sense check is absolutely essential to ensure that all stakeholders are on the same page and we are able to make course corrections as required. Clients also appreciate this as it gives them flexibility to make changes and adjustments as we go along.
Rest is essentially preparing strong project governance that bakes in risk, contingencies and toll gates that help the execution team keep track.
AIM: Please brief us about the size of your analytics division and what is hierarchal alignment, both depth and breadth.
AV: We are a start-up and like many start ups very lean and flat in structure. Our core leadership team is involved directly with all clients and projects that we work on. We have a small team of bright analysts supporting us. We are expanding as we speak and excited about the journey ahead!
AIM: Do you think it’s possible to become too married to the data that comes out of analytics? Where do you draw the line?
AV: It is very much possible and we have seen this happening at service providers as well as with clients. I think the answer is obvious in the question itself. Analytics, like any other business stream, is one of the tools for businesses – a powerful tool. It should be used likewise, as one of the inputs into your business. We feel very strongly that any analytical output needs to be viewed in the right business context. There needs to be layer of business logic over the mathematics behind the scenes. This is reflected in our name
FN MathLogic = Function of Mathematics and Business Logic
We want businesses across industries and sectors to harness the power of their data to plug the gaps within their understanding – essentially to improve their decision making by making these decisions based on more scientific evidence and projections. [quote style="1"]Analytics can be very powerful in doing that as can be seen from the experience of corporations like GE, Citibank, American Express, ICICI Bank, Google, Makemytrip, to name just a few.[/quote]
AIM: What are some of the data measurement points that are becoming more important for organizations?
AV: Profitability or Return on Investment (ROI) is and would continue to be the most important metric for organizations. While, different department and level within organization may focus on different measurement points but there is clear movement towards tying each decision into profitability at more granular level. In a more analytically mature organization the level at which profitability (or some equivalent measure of ROI) can be/ is measure is more granular. E.g. a marketing manager can track the incremental profits (net of campaign cost) that a particular campaign is expected to bring and actual results and risk manager can quantify the net impact of allowing or disallowing a certain type of transactions.
AIM: How did you start your career in analytics?
AV: I always had flair for “Analytics” even before I knew the term. In my MBA colleage, I was tutor for statistical courses. I started my career in management consulting and soon found myself gravitating towards more “quantitative engagements” and becoming internal consultant to anyone seeking guidance on data related aspects. After spending about five years in consulting, I received a group email about job opening in a major foreign bank that was starting up their analytics team in India. I knew I had found my calling after the 30 minute job interview and I had no hesitation in moving out of consulting into analytics. It has been almost 12 years since and I have enjoyed each and every day.
AIM: What do you suggest to new graduates aspiring to get into analytics space?
AV: The answer is going to be short. Lots is being talked about analytics – in journals, business magazines, conferences, forums, social media…I keep meeting with young students and I see that they recognize analytics as a viable career option and are curious to know more about it. I would say it is a very exciting field with tremendous growth potential. It is also a field that allows one to explore new horizons and learn new things almost daily. Like any other field it requires dedication and hard work to succeed. So if you are interested in spending a good amount of time in the lone company of reams of data, identifying trends and inferring insights then come along![pullquote align="left"]More details are available on our website www.fnmathlogic.com. We are looking to hire and would love to talk to interested candidates and explore common ground.[/pullquote]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?
AV: We are a small start-up and we know that our success is closely linked to the quality of our people. We are looking for bright minds who want to make a career in analytics. We have a rigorous recruiting process that includes both technical as well as soft skills assessment.
AIM: How do you see Analytics evolving today in the industry as a whole? What are the most important contemporary trends that you see emerging in the Analytics space across the globe?
AV: Few things have happened in the last decade. First analytics has come to be recognized as a commercial science with applications that can help industries and businesses across boundaries. Second, lot of effort has been made to educate managers and business associates across hierarchy chain in understanding the practical applications of analytics and also to decode some of the jargon that is associated with analytics. Third, a lot of infrastructure related challenges have been addressed. This has also helped to expand the reach of analytics – so that we have now smaller businesses, new businesses also using analytics to make smart decisions.
There are just a couple of trends that I would like to touch upon
(i) Natural progression is taking place – there is more data all around, newer industries are adopting analytics and there is certain commoditization of work streams. What was considered novel 5-7 years back is getting commoditized. Technology is playing a big role here. A number of things which were considered “art” and requiring manual intervention are going to become black box and human touch would be required more in interpreting the results and applying to business. We will see more push for Solutioning and product development in Analytics space in the coming years.
(ii) Big Data is here: These days you cant have an analytics conversation today without mentioning big data. They will bring about a fundamental change as industry finds a way to connect enterprise data with social media data.
AIM: Anything else you wish to add?
AV: Thanks for giving us the opportunity to connect with the large forum that you represent. Analytics is an interesting and evolving field which has seen tremendous growth and still is a young science. We at MathLogic are fortunate to be in the thick of things. We would be happy to connect with folks if they have any questions – our contact details are available over our website. Thanks.[divider top="1"] [spoiler title="Biography of Anurag Verma" open="0" style="2"]
Anurag has 16 years of experience in Analytics and Consulting across North America, Europe, Australia and Asia. He has deep experience helping clients with fraud and non compliance issues across Financial Services, e-commerce and health care. He is well versed in client engagement, building high end analytics teams and managing P&L responsibilities.
Anurag holds a Master's degree in Business Administration from IIM, Kolkata and a Bachelor's degree in Engineering from IIT, Kanpur.[/spoiler]
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Bhasker is a Data Science evangelist and practitioner with proven record of thought leadership and incubating analytics practices for various organizations. With over 16 years of experience in the area of Business Analytics, he is well recognized as an expert within the industry. Earlier, Bhasker worked as Vice President at Goldman Sachs. He is B.Tech from Indian Institute of Technology, Varanasi and MBA from Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow.