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Targetbase Improves Speed and Flexibility with Affinium Model

  • February 01 2001, 1:00am EST

CATEGORY: Data Mining and Visualization

REVIEWER: RJ Hronek, director at Targetbase Marketing.

BACKGROUND: Targetbase is a full-service CRM agency based in Dallas, Texas. Among the services we provide for our clients, including several Fortune 500 companies, are database modeling and segmentation.

PLATFORMS: We run Affinium Model from Unica Corporation on a Sun 4500 Server with a UNIX operating system.

PROBLEM SOLVED: In the past, our data mining capability was limited to standard statistical packages. While these packages produced excellent models, they limited our flexibility in statistical technique selection and required a substantial investment of analyst time. Affinium Model has increased our flexibility by allowing us to generate models using multiple statistical techniques. Also, the time spent in model development has been substantially decreased.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: Targetbase has licensed all four of the Affinium Model modules: Response Modeler, Customer Valuator, Customer Segmenter/Profiler and Cross Seller. Targetbase has primarily used the Response Modeler module. To date, our experience with the other three modules is limited. Targetbase has been pleased with the performance of the Response Modeler module. We have seen dramatic decreases in the time required to develop models without a decrease in model performance. The software has already generated several models using statistical techniques Targetbase did not have access to prior to our licensing Affinium Model. Additionally, the user friendliness of the software has increased acceptance by the user community. In the future, we hope to be able to more fully leverage the other modules in Affinium Model. The Customer Valuator and Customer Segmenter/Profiler modules are of the most interest to us. Hopefully, these two modules will prove to be as valuable to the organization as the Response Modeler module.

STRENGTHS: Based on Targetbase's experience, the main strengths of the product are the time savings in model development and the variety of statistical techniques. Targetbase has experienced a 40 to 50 percent reduction in the time it takes to develop a model. Additionally, the increased flexibility in statistical techniques has provided a value-added service for our clients. Our clients now feel they are receiving the best possible model built by the most powerful technique available.

WEAKNESSES: The CHAID output is not in tree form. It uses text descriptions to describe the breaks. Also, data visualization and data preparation are best done in a standard statistical package other than Affinium Model.

SELECTION CRITERIA: Targetbase's selection of Affinium Model centered on the architecture ­ three-tiered versus two- tiered ­ and Unica Corporation's commitment to data mining.

DELIVERABLES: Within Response Modeler, the reports we find most useful are the gains chart, responders by decile, model report and variables used. All four of these reports generally find their way into the client deliverable. Another report that is useful for internal purposes is the listing of variables and their coefficients. Additionally, the output of the scoring algorithm into other computer languages has been very helpful in scoring of mail files.

VENDOR SUPPORT: The technical support we received during the selection period was excellent. We received knowledgeable support in a very short period of time. The level of service has declined somewhat from the evaluation period in that our access to the most knowledgeable Unica Corporation resources has diminished. In the final analysis, the best part about working with Unica Corporation is the people. As well as being responsive, the staff at Unica is also very friendly. While they may not know the answer, they at least call to tell us who we should contact to get the information we need.

DOCUMENTATION: Documentation is not a strong point with Affinium Model. While the documentation is comprehensive, it could include more detail.

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