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Data Scientists Now Can Get A Second Opinion On Machine Learning Problems

By   /  September 27, 2013  /  No Comments

rsz_opinion2pixEarlier this month The Semantic Web Blog provided a look at Skytree’s machine learning-as-a-platform approach (see story here). This week, the vendor launched in limited beta a program to help businesses partner up their data scientists and analytics professionals with its software and data scientists. It’s dubbed Second Opinion, and The Semantic Web Blog conducted an email interview with co-founder and CEO Martin Hack about the new effort.

Semantic Web Blog: Is this service available only to existing customers?

Hack: Skytree Second Opinion is for both existing and new customers, essentially everyone  interested in gaining firsthand experience with the power of machine learning, and how advanced analytics can give them greater insight into their data.

Semantic Web Blog: Why does the market need a service like this? For example, do most organizations lack enough internal data scientists to check opinions about the quality of their models or the effectiveness of new algorithms?

Hack: Not only is there there’s a massive shortage of data scientists in the market place, data scientists are always looking to improve the quality of their models.  With Second Opinion, we’re striving to work with them to find the best possible outcome for their given business challenge. We help by testing their predictive analytics models using our high performance machine learning methods to booth the quality of existing models.

For business professionals who may not have access to advanced analytics tools, Second Opinion can consult how to overcome business challenges such as lead scoring and churn prediction.

Semantic Web Blog:  Can you provide some examples of how the service will help in real-world scenarios?

Hack: A common problem that Skytree is addressing with a variety of customers with predictive analytics is solving customer churn, specifically for retail customers and subscription-based businesses where the cost of customer acquisition and maintenance is high.  With machine learning, we eliminate the guesswork by identifying which segment of customers is likely to churn before it actually happens.  By doing so, businesses can understand the behavior patterns and leading indicators that lead to customer churn, and stop it before it happens by tailoring special offers and promotions to that specific segment of customers.

Other common issues that are easily solved with machine learning are lead scoring, recommendations and marketing optimization.

Semantic Web Blog: Would businesses have any concerns about the privacy of their data models and exposing them to third parties? How do you address that?

Hack: Skytree works very closely with its customers to make sure information security and compliance concerns are addressed to a satisfactory level. For one, there are ways to sanitize datasets to the point where they don’t contain any potential sensitive data and are still meaningful to work with. And if that’s not an option, Skytree can come onsite to work with a customer, which takes care of any privacy or data sharing concern since the data will stay within the customer environment.

Semantic Web Blog: Can you provide any insights into how the service will be priced?

Hack: The service will be introduced as a limited beta, after the introductory period, customers can choose from several Second Opinion packages that fit their individual needs.

About the author

Jennifer Zaino is a New York-based freelance writer specializing in business and technology journalism. She has been an executive editor at leading technology publications, including InformationWeek, where she spearheaded an award-winning news section, and Network Computing, where she helped develop online content strategies including review exclusives and analyst reports. Her freelance credentials include being a regular contributor of original content to The Semantic Web Blog; acting as a contributing writer to RFID Journal; and serving as executive editor at the Smart Architect Smart Enterprise Exchange group. Her work also has appeared in publications and on web sites including EdTech (K-12 and Higher Ed), Ingram Micro Channel Advisor, The CMO Site, and Federal Computer Week.

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