Interview –Michael Zeller CEO,Zementis

February 3, 2009
99 Views

As mentioned before, Zementis is at the forefront of using Cloud Computing ( Amazon EC2 ) for open source analytics. Recently I came in contact with Michael Zeller for a business problem , and Mike being the gentleman he is not only helped me out but also agreed on an extensive and exclusive interview.(!)
[…]

As mentioned before, Zementis is at the forefront of using Cloud Computing ( Amazon EC2 ) for open source analytics. Recently I came in contact with Michael Zeller for a business problem , and Mike being the gentleman he is not only helped me out but also agreed on an extensive and exclusive interview.(!)

image

Ajay- What are the traditional rivals to scoring solutions offered by you. How does ADAPA compare to each of them. Case Study- Assume I have 50000 leads daily on a Car buying website. How would ADAPA help me in scoring the model ( created say by KXEN or , R or,SAS, or SPSS).What would my approximate cost advantages be if I intend to mail say the top 5 deciles everyday.

Michael- Some of the traditional scoring solutions used today are based on SAS, in-database scoring like Oracle, MS SQL Server, or very often even custom code.  ADAPA is able to import the models from all tools that support the PMML standard, so any of the above tools, open source or commercial, could serve as an excellent development environment.

The key differentiators for ADAPA are simple and focus on cost-effective deployment:

1) Open Standards – PMML & SOA:

Freedom to select best-of-breed development tools without being locked into a specific vendor;  integrate easily with other systems.

2) SaaS-based Cloud Computing:

Delivers a quantum leap in cost-effectiveness without compromising on scalability.

In your example, I assume that you’d be able to score your 50,000 leads in one hour using one ADAPA engine on Amazon.  Therefore, you could choose to either spend US$100,000 or more on hardware, software, maintenance, IT services, etc., write a project proposal, get it approved by management, and be ready to score your model in 6-12 months…

OR, you could use ADAPA at something around US$1-$2 per day for the scenario above and get started today!  To get my point across here, I am of course simplifying the scenario a little bit, but in essence these are your choices.

Sounds too good to be true?  We often get this response, so please feel free to contact us today [http://www.zementis.com/contact.htm] and we will be happy show you how easy it can be to deploy predictive models with ADAPA!

 

Ajay- The ADAPA solution seems to save money on both hardware and software costs. Comment please. Also any benchmarking tests that you have done on a traditional scoring configuration system versus ADAPA.

Michael-Absolutely, the ADAPA Predictive Analytics Edition [http://www.zementis.com/predictive_analytics_edition.htm] on Amazon’s cloud computing infrastructure (Amazon EC2) eliminates the upfront investment in hardware and software.  It is a true Software as a Service (SaaS) offering on Amazon EC2 [http://www.zementis.com/howtobuy.htm] whereby users only pay for the actual machine time starting at less than US$1 per machine hour.  The ADAPA SaaS model is extremely dynamic, e.g., a user is able to select an instance type most appropriate for the job at hand (small, large, x-large) or launch one or even 100 instances within minutes.

In addition to the above savings in hardware/software, ADAPA also cuts the time-to-market for new models (priceless!) which adds to business agility, something truly critical for the current economic climate.

Regarding a benchmark comparison, it really depends on what is most important to the business.  Business agility, time-to-market, open standards for integration, or pure scoring performance?  ADAPA addresses all of the above.  At its core, it is a highly scalable scoring engine which is able to process thousands of transactions per second.  To tackle even the largest problems, it is easy to scale ADAPA via more CPUs, clustering, or parallel execution on multiple independent instances. 

Need to score lots of data once a month which would take 100 hours on one computer?  Simply launch 10 instances and complete the job in 10 hours over night.  No extra software licenses, no extra hardware to buy — that’s capacity truly on-demand, whenever needed, and cost-effective.

Ajay- What has been your vision for Zementis. What exciting products are we going to see from it next.

Michael – Our vision at Zementis [http://www.zementis.com] has been to make it easier for users to leverage analytics.  The primary focus of our products is on the deployment side, i.e., how to integrate predictive models into the business process and leverage them in real-time.  The complexity of deployment and the cost associated with it has been the main hurdle for a more widespread adoption of predictive analytics. 

Adhering to open standards like the Predictive Model Markup Language (PMML) [http://www.dmg.org/] and SOA-based integration, our ADAPA engine [http://www.zementis.com/products.htm] paves the way for new use cases of predictive analytics — wherever a painless, fast production deployment of models is critical or where the cost of real-time scoring has been prohibitive to date.

We will continue to contribute to the R/PMML export package [http://www.zementis.com/pmml_exporters.htm] and extend our free PMML converter [http://www.zementis.com/pmml_converters.htm] to support the adoption of the standard.  We believe that the analytics industry will benefit from open standards and we are just beginning to grasp what data-driven decision technology can do for us.  Without giving away much of our roadmap, please stay tuned for more exciting products that will make it easier for businesses to leverage the power of predictive analytics!

Ajay- Any India or Asia specific plans for the Zementis.

Michael-Zementis already serves customers in the Asia/Pacific region from its office in Hong Kong.  We expect rapid growth for predictive analytics in the region and we think our cost-effective SaaS solution on Amazon EC2 will be of great service to this market.  I could see various analytics outsourcing and consulting firms benefit from using ADAPA as their primary delivery mechanism to provide clients with predictive  models that are ready to be executed on-demand.

Ajay-What do you believe be the biggest challenges for analytics in 2009. What are the biggest opportunities.

Michael-The biggest challenge for analytics will most likely be the reduction in technology spending in a deep, global recession.  At the same time, companies must take advantage of analytics to cut cost, optimize processes, and to become more competitive.  Therefore, the biggest opportunity for analytics will be in the SaaS field, enabling clients to employ analytics without upfront capital expenditures.

Ajay – What made you choose a career in science. Describe your journey so far.What would your advice be to young science graduates in this recessionary times.

Michael- As a physicist, my research focused on neural networks and intelligent systems.  Predictive analytics is a great way for me to stay close to science while applying such complex algorithms to solve real business problems.  Even in a recession, there is always a need for good people with the desire to excel in their profession.  Starting your career, I’d say the best way is to remain broad in expertise rather than being too specialized on one particular industry or proficient in a single analytics tool.  A good foundation of math and computer science, combined with curiosity in how to apply analytics to specific business problems will provide opportunities, even in the current economic climate.

About Zementis

Zementis, Inc. is a software company focused on predictive analytics and advanced Enterprise Decision Management technology. We combine science and software to create superior business imageand industrial solutions for our clients. Our scientific expertise includes statistical algorithms, machine learning, neural networks, and intelligent systems and our scientists have a proven record in producing effective predictive models to extract hidden patterns from a variety of data types. It is complemented by our product offering ADAPA®, a decision engine framework for real-time execution of predictive models and rules. For more information please visit www.zementis.com

Ajay-If you have a lot of data ( GB’s and GB’s) , an existing model ( in SAS,SPSS,R) which you converted to PMML, and it is time for you to choose between spending more money to upgrade your hardware, renew your software licenses  then instead take a look at the ADAPA from www.zementis.com and score models as low as 1$ per hour. Check it out ( test and control !!)

Do you have any additional queries from Michael ? Use the comments page to ask….