Finalist | IS Predict (Germany) - Democratizing predictive analytics

02/05/2015  |  CODE_n Alumni, CODE_n15 Startup CONTEST, Interview

IS_Predict_rotOur CODE_n15 finalist IS Predict from Saarbrücken, Germany, developed Resource Intelligence, a self-learning analysis and prediction solution which offers predictive recommendations for daily operations. It can even automatically control processes with complex process or data structures. In our short Q&A, Britta Hilt, co-founder of IS Predict, tells us more about the business records of her startup and the dynamic simulation methods that can discover hidden optimization potentials.

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Where did your idea for the company come from?

Britta Hilt (IS Predict): Richard, also co-founder & MD, and I worked in a world-leading company for business process optimization, IDS Scheer – ARIS Division. We felt that more benefit can be gained to increase the efficiency of resources, whether man, machinery or energy, if you know what will happen. And if you avoid inefficiencies – before they happen. In our old job, we were used to analyzing past data and designing new processes. We felt that predictive analytics and predictive control could put process optimization to a new level. So we built a concept for such a software solution and even developed the first prototype – all done in the evening or at weekends. Then, we started to check “outside” if our ideas were realistic: We took days off and presented our ideas to local companies. In those discussions, we noticed that processes are never fixed, that influencing factors change again and again. So we worked on a concept for a self-learning predictive analytics and predictive control solution. And that is where it all started with our Resource Intelligence – we set up our own company, now 4 years ago, got first orders and grew in several dimensions: more powerful solutions, more staff, more exciting projects with well-known companies like Siemens, BASF, SAP, EnBW, LG,…!

For which kind of audience is your product or service intended and what problem is it solving?

Britta Hilt (IS Predict): With Resource Intelligence, which is a self-learning predictive analytics and control solution, we democratize advanced analytics – so in the end, each business user can benefit from it. But since we are still a young company, we focus on certain domains, which are industry, energy and construction.

In those areas, we make processes that suffer from many variable influencing factors more “planable.” This makes reliable capacity planning in complex process and data structures more realistic. Disruptive factors are made more transparent, too. In this way, your existing resources are used in a much better way. From previous projects, we have confirmed the following cost savings:

  • 14% in dmart production: resource management, energy dispatching, machinery control, predictive maintenance, process efficiency, capacity planning
  • 16% in smart utilities: more precise energy purchasing and selling, also for renewable energy
  • 12 – 62% in smart buildings: predictive and adaptive building energy control
  • 23% in smart home grids: realizing the full potential of renewable energy usage

Tell us a bit about the company’s founders like their professional or industry background and the origins of the founding-idea.

Britta Hilt (IS Predict): Richard and I founded IS Predict 4 years ago, under the umbrella of the Scheer Group, the innovation network of Prof. August Wilhelm Scheer. Richard gathered a lot of his experience while working for IDS Scheer for over 10 years, for example, when he was a development manager responsible as for ARIS software solutions, integrated into SAP software suite. Before that, Richard lead the IT department of a bank, which also involved projects with predictive analytics. I worked with IDS Scheer/Software AG, too, for 16 years. Most of the time, on the client side analyzing processes, designing optimized processes and getting them rolled out – to translate them into reality so they werenÄt just theory.

5 years ago, we had the idea of a self-learning software solution for predictive analytics and control. One year later, the company was set up, but real business started 6 months later – first, we had to transform our ideas into reality, so we could actually sell something to our clients. We broke even after 1 and a half years and have had positive results ever since. Exciting years of my life for sure! And as I understand the market, demand for our kind of solution will definitely grow.

What’s the biggest benefit for the customer when setting up one of your solutions?

Britta Hilt (IS Predict): The biggest benefit is that they save plenty of money. In the end, to be honest, it is always about money. To put it in a nutshell, these are the benefits:

  • Capacity planning in processes where this was not possible, reliably, until now
  • Transparency of disruptions in processes
  • Recommendations on how to control their processes, or – depending on the client need – the process can be automatically optimized.

Or – as a large international research institute put it when talking to us: “You democratize predictive analytics.” Predictive analytics and control is no long limited to a small number of people (data scientists). Our self-learning Resource Intelligence makes it available to everybody! At the moment, for the domains mentioned before – but our vision is to introduce it to all domains some time in the future. Just like everybody nowadays uses Excel for spreadsheets, our vision is that everyone in business will be able to carry out their own advanced analytics by just clicking into Resource Intelligence.

See IS Predict live on the CODE_n Stage on Wednesday, 18.03.2015.