iKen Solutions Personalizing Business Intelligence

Date:   Thursday , July 29, 2010

Every year, companies, big and small, invest large amounts on intelligent IT systems that can help them track the user pattern and in return improve the efficiency of their processes and help them grow their businesses. Business Intelligence (BI) and Data Analytics is a huge market today. While global big wigs like IBM are betting billions on BI, the entrepreneurs are not lagging behind either.

Seeing the huge market potential for intelligent business systems, Dr. Rajendra Sonar, a PhD in Artificial Intelligence founded iken Solutions in 2005 in the lush green campus of IIT Bombay. A software product company, iKen specializes in building intelligent business systems by collaborating BI 2.0 and Artificial Intelligence (AI) techniques to offer analytics and business insights to the granularity level of N=1 and, has a vision to provide highly relevant and extremely personalized end user experiences.

The first of the IP based products from its stables is Mooga, a comprehensive consumer 3.0 analytics framework based on hybrid AI. It is essentially a business intelligence system – a recommendation, matching, discovery, and personalization framework supporting many kinds of products, structured content and generic transactions. Some of its key features include collaborative (social) filtering, content filtering and clustering, understanding of user-specific personal tastes, flexible modeling, automated learning and flexibility in business logic.

“Mooga platform is the future of customer analytics. It offers extreme personalization of the end-user experience, and can be used across a spectrum of areas like online, mobile, ipTV, DTH and across verticals like telecom, retail and BFSI,” says Siddarth Goel, CEO, iKen Solutions.

The fundamental idea behind founding iKen was to offer real time Personalization and Operational Analytics which is missing in most BI systems today. “Most analytics is done using data warehouses and the aggregated data is later presented to the customers. But with the explosion of data on Internet, what organizations need is right content for the right people at the right time. And this is possible only if the analytics is integrated with business systems in real time,” says Goel.

This is what iKen is trying to do today with Mooga. It helps create an end-user experience that is so personalized that the customer believes that she/he is really being serviced on a one-to-one basis. In this age of information overload, Mooga goes beyond the basic ‘search’ functionality, allowing the end user to ‘discover’ information that she/he did not know she/he needed. The product’s framework is so flexible that it can be used on the internet, as well as through a mobile network, allowing for optimal use of these technologies. In effect, it offers real-time CRM, enhancing customer retention, and considerably reducing the complete discovery cost of an organization.

Today, iKen sees a demand for its solutions in several verticals such as Telecom, Mobile VAS, Internet, Customer Lifecycle Management, Customer Care, BFSI, Billing and ERP/CRM and more where it is used for personalization and recommendation, Intelligent Campaign Management and Advertisements, Usage and Retention, Prepaid Lifecycle Management, Credit rating and Transaction Monitoring and more.

The USP of Iken’s solution is its approach to BI problems. While conventional BI systems adopt a top-down approach where huge amount of data is crunched, patterns are derived and focus is on a macro level by “generalization”; Mooga adopts a bottom-up approach where the behavior of one customer is analyzed at a time and individual learning can be summarized to get group, application, functional or organizational level insights.

With its standalone product, iKen has already bagged few top-notch customers. One of the country’s largest telecom provider has recently finished a pilot project with iKen for its Ringback Tone Platform and is about to launch a nation wide operation. TCS too has deployed Mooga as the core analytics engine for its one of the online platform in ecommerce space. iKen also has a deal with an EPG company in India, which will use Mooga to personalize TV guides. With this iKen is looking at taking this to cable TV and set-top box companies as well. Other success stories include clients like Comviva, Hungama, Sony Music, MTV and Motorola.

“iKen’s business is based on a license fee model which can be transactional or monthly,” explains Goel. Since its inception, the company has been growing remarkably. It grew by over 400 percent last year. Though the challenge always is finding the right partners, the company has done quite well through its recent partnerships with TCS, Comviva and What’s On India. With several deals in the pipeline, Goel is looking at a sizeable growth in the next few years both in terms of team strength and revenue. Currently, 25 member strong, iKen has its offices in Mumbai (within the IIT Bombay campus) and in Argentina as Latin America has emerged as a strong market for its solutions. Talking about the future plans, Goel simply shrugs and says, “Sky is the limit for us and we will strive hard to reach there.”