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November 6, 2014

‘Decision Science’ Meets Business Intelligence

A little-known company with roots in India and specializing in big data analytics along with “decision sciences” is pitching what it calls a “Google Map for decision makers.”

Bangalore-based Mu Sigma, which also has a U.S. headquarters in Chicago along with offices in the U.K. and Australia, recently unveiled a platform dubbed muUniverse that is said to automate key aspects of the business intelligence process. Mu Sigma said it is targeting its analytics platform at Fortune 500 companies seeking to identify the “linkage” between analytical problems involving sales, marketing, finance, supply chain and risk management.

The company announced recently that Southwest Airlines and casino operator Caesars Entertainment Corp. are among the first customers for its muUniverse platform.

“The big goal of our new platform is to automate dynamic thinking that is often baked into the DNA of innovators like Steve Jobs and Elon Musk, but now make this available to any major corporation,” Mu Sigma CEO and founder Dhiraj Rajaram stressed in a statement.

Privately held Mu Sigma, which describes itself as the world’s largest pure-play provider of decision science and analytics products, claims a market valuation “north of $1 billion” and is backed by venture firms Sequoia Capital and General Atlantic. A company spokesman said Mu Sigma already works with one-quarter of Fortune 500 companies, including Dell, Microsoft, drug maker Pfizer and Wal-Mart. The analytics services provider said it currently employs more than 3,500 “decision scientists.”

The company said its muUniverse platform released last in October is intended to give corporations “a visual map to help them navigate through complex, interconnected challenges within their ecosystem” along with a data framework to speed business decisions using a web-based interface. Mu Sigma referred to the new business intelligence capability as a “Waze of decisions,” a reference to the Global Positioning System-based traffic and navigation application.

The decision science tool seeks to provide a broader view of an enterprise as a network of interrelated problems. Within a universe of business challenges, to take the metaphor a step further, problems are represented as stars that form constellations and galaxies that need to be solved in clusters rather in isolation in order to achieve and overall business objective.

Marketed as a holistic approach to problem solving, the platform identifies priorities while identifying unexplored options for what the company calls “non-linear returns.”

The new platform builds on top of Mu Sigma’s muPDNA platform that “encodes the intelligence of business problems and serves as the basis of discovering interconnections,” the company said. The company’s “Problem DNA” approach is said to uncover the source of a business challenge by breaking down organizational silos that tend to stifle problem solving.

The name Mu Sigma is derived from the statistical terms symbolizing the mean and standard deviation of a probability distribution.

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