"If only we had a crystal ball that could tell us about the future."
Given how quickly the business landscape changes these days, making decisions that impact the future of a company without knowing the future context for those decisions can be a seriously daunting prospect.
Enter: Concentric. The simulation software company has set out to solve the business forecasting problem, enabling business leaders to navigate uncertainty and avoid decision fails in the process. They're doing it via the power of simulation at a speed that's virtually unprecedented.
Since its software launch, Concentric has grown 100 percent year over year--a stat that speaks to the level of demand for this kind of product. To date, Concentric has worked with more than 100 Fortune 500 companies, answered more than 100,000 questions, and informed more than $20 billion in investment decisions. Here's how the company is using rapid-fire simulation to transform the landscape of business analytics.
Solving Two Major Business Problems
"Concentric really set out to solve two problems," says Concentric VP of Marketing Melissa Todisco. "There's a business problem and there's an analytics problem."
On the business side of things, companies are under increasing pressure to figure out how to navigate an ever-changing landscape. "There's more volatility in the market, and business leaders are under pressure to figure out, 'What do I do and how do I avoid a decision fail and things not going right for my business?'," Todisco says.
When it comes to analytics, she says, "There's a gap in the ability to be able to accurately and quickly forecast and look at what's going to happen in the future." Most analytics tools exclusively offer historical or present-day information about key data such as website traffic, conversions, market trends, and so on. And while simulation as a concept isn't new, there are very few tools that deliver quick and accurate forecasting.
"Historically, simulation was a slow, manual process," Todisco says. "With machine learning and cloud computing , we're able to make [fast forecasting] available to business leaders." Rather than waiting months for future-focused insights, Concentric's users can obtain answers to their most pressing questions in a matter of minutes.
Concentric's team has developed a simulation model that delivers 95%+ accuracy across any industry and a huge range of questions. (Anything from "How do you improve the subscriber experience to meet growth goals?" to "How do we allocate our marketing for a new alt-fuel vehicle?" or "What happens to appliance sales when we change our pricing?" has been fair game.) Users can purchase any or all of Concentric's software products, which together are meant to provide an end-to-end solution for companies looking to obtain forecasting answers and integrate that information into their business strategies.
"We started with the model and we had to get the model right," Todisco says. "Then we translated that into a software experience. We really wanted to be a step-by-step process to guide people down this path to getting their answers."
In addition to its breadth, the software also distinguishes itself through its flexibility. Rather than having to run a new simulation for every question, users can integrate data into one model and then run multiple questions off of it. "[This] increases your ability to answer questions a lot faster," Todisco says. "It's incredibly flexible. It was designed to be exactly that way."
The Future of Analytics
Because of the software's flexibility, Concentric works with a huge range of businesses across a variety of industries, including entertainment, media, automotive, and consumer goods companies.
"We've definitely delivered some insights that have shifted business strategies for our customers," Todisco says, pointing to a recent report on the future of streaming services and the example of The E.W. Scripps Company, a media company that set out to tackle an ad sales problem.
"When you look at media companies, all of them are using basic data [such as show ratings and viewership] to sell their ad sales," Todisco says. "[E.W. Scripps] wanted to give their buyers different data and forecast ROI for their advertisers. Now they're doing it. They're able to run hundreds of analyses in minutes and run reports on a daily basis."
To hear Todisco tell it, examples such as E.W. Scripps suggest that without simulation, most companies are only halfway through the analytics journey. They've figured out how to obtain and analyze historical and present analytics, and they're incorporating those insights into their business strategies. But they haven't figured out how to integrate future forecasting into those processes.
"Now everybody's asking, 'What's next?'," Todisco says. And Concentric's ongoing growth suggests that simulation is one way to find out. "[Simulation can] reduce risk, improve efficiency, and drive growth... What we really believe is that simulation is the future of business analytics."