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2 years ago
Wise Practitioner – Predictive Analytics Interview Series: Dr. Sarmila Basu at Microsoft Corporation


In anticipation of her upcoming conference presentation, Predictive & Prescriptive Analytics Helps Keep Kids in School at Predictive Analytics World London, October 12-13, 2016, we asked Dr. Sarmila Basu, Senior Sarmila Basu IMAGEDirector, Data & Decision Sciences Group at Microsoft Corporation, a few questions about her work in predictive analytics.

Q: In your work with predictive analytics, what behavior or outcome do your models predict?

A: We do predictive analytics for business groups within the company as well as for customers outside. For internal groups our predictive analytics involves things like:-

  1. Predictive models for customer attrition for a specific subscription based product.
  2. Models for anti-piracy efforts to identify compromised license keys
  3. For some of our external customers we have built models for predictive maintenance to plan for potential failure of their machinery.

Q: How does predictive analytics deliver value at your organization – what is one specific way in which it actively drives decisions or operations?

A: Predictive analytics has delivered impact through revenue enablement and cost savings. When we are able to identify pirated/compromised license keys, that helps with revenue recovery. In cases of customer attrition modeling, we were able to start proactive retention efforts.

Q: Can you describe a quantitative result, such as the predictive lift of your model or the ROI of an analytics initiative?

A: Our antipiracy analytic effort has led to revenue recovery worth $130million last year.

Q: What surprising discovery or insight have you unearthed in your data?

A: Surprising discovery varies from project to project. We sometimes find unexpected information or insight by combining multiple data sources. People often complain about their data being inadequate for any meaningful conclusion, but it is more an issue of broken data than bad data. Data Scientists have to be able to stitch data from multiple sources together and build a cohesive story.

Q: Sneak preview: Please tell us a take-away that you will provide during your talk at Predictive Analytics World.

A: I will be talking about some of the use case scenario that has led not only to revenue impact for us but more importantly in terms of social good, it has delivered great impact.


Don’t miss Dr. Basu’s conference presentation, Predictive & Prescriptive Analytics Helps Keep Kids in School on Thursday, October 13, 2016 at 11:45 am at Predictive Analytics World London. Click here to register to attend. USE CODE PATIMES16 for 15% off current prices (excludes workshops).

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