73: BeyondCore Founder and CEO Arijit Sengupta Talks About Why 80% of BI Projects Fail
We have a great guest lined up tonight, Arijit Sengupta, from a company called BeyondCore. For those of you who don’t know, BeyondCore is a data startup that spent more than ten years refining a one-click automated business analysis. What that does is it gives anyone, not just data scientists, the ability to do advanced analytics. Their patented technology has been used by more than twenty Fortune 500 companies. At a recent convention they were able to showcase their abilities in a quasi-competition where they even ended up beating the likes of IBM Watson.
Now anybody who knows about IBM Watson, how it beat the champion of Jeopardy a few years ago, will know what a big deal that is. My guest tonight has degrees in computer science, economics and business but most importantly dance. If that doesn’t keep you listening I don’t know what will.
Can you tell me a little about yourself and your role at BeyondCore?
My name is Arijit Sengupta. I’m the CEO and founder of BeyondCore. Essentially my role is to do whatever nobody else wants to do (that’s always the job of the entrepreneur). I came to the U.S with $200 dollars in my pocket to study artificial intelligence at Stanford. I ended up getting degrees in computer science and economics and studied dance. I worked at Microsoft Oracle, went off to Harvard Business School and got my MBA. There I started working with Professor Clay Christensen. When people talk about disruptive technology they are talking about Clay’s work. Clay was my faculty sponsor in a project that led to BeyondCore.
For the benefit of the listeners, what is BeyondCore and what services do you offer?
BeyondCore automates analysis for everyone. We analyze millions of data combinations in minutes for unbiased answers, explanations and recommendations.
What makes BeyondCore unique from other solutions out there?
Most of the solutions out there are either focused on the human mind or they are focused on machine (an automated system will do it for you). The reality is neither of those approaches really works. A human being can’t remember to look at millions of combinations or remember to do all the statistical tests that should be done. A machine can look at millions of combinations but it can get misled. Sometimes what it is finding might be statistically interesting but to a business user, it wouldn’t be interesting.
What we have done is combine mind and machine together so a human being is being told the answer (such as this marketing campaign is doing well and this is why it’s doing well). Then they can easily provide feedback to the machine. Every interaction informs the machine so the machine gets better.
80 percent of BI projects fail. In your opinion what’s the best solution to turn a stat like that around?
It’s the explanation. What has happened to the world of BI today is that you get a graph or an interesting visualization and decide to act on the basis of that. But you don’t know if that graph is statistically sound. Is it actionable? Is something else going on?
How do you think BeyondCore can empower every business unit with the power of analytics?
Rather than starting from technology we are starting from how the human thinks which is what, why, what will happen and how? Let’s focus everything on solving a real problem.
What other capabilities does BeyondCore offer to businesses?
The unbiased answers, explanations and recommendations in minutes are the key. Then you have a lot of customers ask can you look at this process every day or every week and tell me what has changed? I don’t want to be surprised. If my business in China starts changing I want to know today. If women in Boston stop buying my product I want to know right now so I can do something about it before it becomes a catastrophe.
So changing analytics from something that is investigative (something is broken, tell me why it broke or what could we do better) into something that’s operational and ongoing. It almost becomes the nervous system of the company where I find out what’s happening before it becomes a big problem or I find an opportunity before my competitors can see it. That capability is going to transform business as we know it.
What’s next for you guys? Any big new features you can talk about?
We are about to come out with BeyondCore 7. It’s far beyond anything we have done as our first release was beyond the market. We showed it off at the Gartner BI summit earlier this year.
For anyone listening, what is the best way to reach you guys?
Our website is www.beyondcore.com
You mentioned you studied dance. Can you expand on that a little bit?
I was doing too many classes so I was dreaming in code. My brain was getting overwhelmed. So I started taking dance classes in the middle of the day it would reset my brain so I could actually take more classes. That led to studying Samba in Rio. I took some dance classes in Waltz and Russian dance. It has become a passion. It forces your brain to think differently.