REVIEWER: Tim Morgan, managing director at Suliexis LLC.

BACKGROUND: Sullexis LLC is a professional services firm that specializes in helping its clients to create, manage and enhance data to accelerate and improve decision-making across the enterprise. We bring data and technology together to make our clients measurably more effective. Sullexis combines real-world insight, management expertise and an understanding of what a business needs to succeed; with a knowledge of and passion for technology. We rely on this powerful combination of experience and skills to understand and solve your business challenges. Sullexis has developed extensive domain expertise in energy, financial services, health care and high tech industries.

PLATFORMS: Sullexis runs Microsoft SQL Server 2008, Windows 7 and Microsoft Office 2010.

PROBLEM SOLVED: The time to activate a fully defined, detailed electronic catalog (e-catalog or price sheet) for e-procurement in oil and gas is surprisingly high – sometimes weeks to many months. In addition, the precision and accuracy of e-catalogs are surprisingly poor, with large numbers of $0 priced items, e-catalogs with no line items, as well as items that were never purchased. With an estimated cost of $40,000-$80,000 for a 2,000 line e-catalog, Sullexis identified an opportunity using Predixion Insight to greatly decrease the costs of building and maintaining e-catalogs. Typically, organizations rolling out a Procure-to-Pay (P2P) solution have limited insight into their purchasing history and rely on their vendors to provide the data necessary to identify eCatalog line items. Unfortunately, this data tends to lack the details and/or the granularity necessary to create the optimal line items for an eCatalog, and adds a dependency on the supplier for the required data. Sullexis recently launched a new service to help its energy clients rapidly identify relevant line items for e-catalogs, price sheets and price books. E-catalog line items are a critical part of any procure-to-pay initiative, enabling organizations to drive spend against contract, automate procurement, validate invoice pricing and facilitate spend analysis.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: Using Predixion Insight, users are able to easily create, manage and share powerful and accurate predictive models based on algorithms such as logistics regression, decision tree, naïve Bayes, neural network, clustering and more. Predixion Insight can be offered as a public or private cloud solution (hosted or on-premise) and consists of server and client components. On the client, modelers develop predictive models or perform ad hoc analysis using Predixion Insight for Excel. Data is pulled onto the server from multiple enterprise applications, databases or file systems, stored on the server and utilized for the building and querying of predictive models. Models can be queried (scored) also using Excel or by using any number of client environments such as Web portals, intranets (SharePoint), CRM/BI apps, iPads or smartphones.

STRENGTHS: Predixion Insight is fairly easy to learn and start using. This was crucial as our consultants, while well versed in BI, lacked in-depth expertise with predictive analytics. Predixion Insight enables us to create our models quickly and obtain tangible results. We were on a tight schedule and didn’t have time for extensive ramp-up. It has compatibility and integration with the Microsoft BI platform, which as a Microsoft shop was very attractive for us. Predixion Insight fully integrates with Microsoft Excel, PowerPivot and SharePoint and accesses data from our SQL Server 2008 database. It also has disruptive pricing. Predixion Insight is available as a low-cost, cloud-based service with a monthly subscription fee.

WEAKNESSES: The documentation is sufficient, and continues to improve, but needs to mature over time.

SELECTION CRITERIA: Predixion Insight was selected for its “break down the barrier” pricing and ease of use.

DELIVERABLES: Sullexis has developed a predictive analytics solution that streamlines the creation and maintenance process while improving the precision and accuracy of the line items that are added to an e-catalog. The service uses Predixion Insight to identify potential items from any available transaction data, even free text. The solution, having identified an item, then looks at the purchasing history to make a recommendation on whether an item should be on an e-catalog or not. This approach ensures that the appropriate items are considered for the e-catalog, accelerating e-catalog creation and minimizing unnecessary maintenance of irrelevant items. The solution uses a statistical model to predict the probability that an item will be purchased in the future; eliminates or reduces dependency on suppliers for spend reports; significantly reduces e-catalog creation cycle time; leverages existing material masters; and reduces the creation of unnecessary material masters; and lowers item/e-catalog cost and overall e-catalog creation cost.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Predixion employees are dedicated to the product and its customers and are very responsive to recommendations for product improvements.

DOCUMENTATION: As the product matures, it will be increasingly important to have structured and comprehensive documentation.

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