What’s New in the FICO Decision Management Suite Q4 2017 Release?

Blog Post created by angelacarducci Advocate on Jan 9, 2018

FICO is a cloud first company. We’ve invested significantly in FICO Decision Modeler, a product that brings the FICO Blaze Advisor Decision Rules Management System to the cloud. We’ve added capabilities to the product that eliminate the need to use the Blaze Adviser Integrated Development Environment (IDE). This makes Decision Modeler quicker & easier to use in the cloud.


Our FICO Xpress Optimization product line has several new and exciting enhancements. Our biggest news is about Xpress Mosel, FICO's market-leading analytic orchestration, algebraic modeling, and programming language. Xpress Mosel is now FREE and OPEN. Not only is Xpress Mosel FREE, but it is now OPEN to connect to 3rd party solvers (not just FICO Xpress Solver). Anyone can download Xpress Mosel through the FICO Xpress Community license here. FICO is responding to strong customer demand for these features and we believe they will have a positive effect on the market, benefitting academic users and commercial enterprises alike.


Here are some of the additional highlights of this release:

  • Greater cross-component integration
  • Increased capability to better track decision performance for campaigns or treatments designed across the suite
  • Expanded analytics support for R and open source ML/AI libraries.
  • Significant performance improvements for our optimization components.
  • Introduction of the DMS Hub, which provides new collaboration features


The products with updated features in the cloud include:


FICO Decision Management Platform 2.3

Visit the DMP Community

FICO Decision Management Platform 2.3 introduces DMS Hub, a new and expanded algorithmic collaboration capability. The DMS Hub is a collaboration capability that allows data scientists to leverage the DMP to post, download, edit, share and collaborate analytic algorithms and best practices. DMS Hub, in conjunction with FICO Drive (the built-in cloud storage facility to share non-algorithmic assets, data files and other decision assets), provides the FICO Decision Management Suite a unique and highly leverageable solution for cross-organizational collaboration, best practices, and decision management solutions scale. Stay tuned for more information on DMS Hub, as well as further integration announcements around Analytics Workbench and Xpress Optimization.


DMP 2.3 also introduces a new Event Data Access API for better integration with Strategy Director.  This API allows Strategy Director to read and write execution data to coordinate decision logic execution leveraging the Decision Management Platform.


FICO Decision Modeler 2.3

Visit the Blaze Advisor and Decision Modeler Community

Decision Modeler 2.3 provides new capabilities to further expand its functionality in the cloud by adding features that eliminate the need to use the Blaze Advisor IDE. Included in 2.3 functionality is native support for double-axis decision tables and native support for SAS program importation.


In addition, Decision Modeler 2.3 provides:

  • Decision tree data profiling: customers can now upload custom data into a decision tree to see how data will flow into and through decision tree logic, the distribution of assigned actions, and how they are proportioned in each node in the tree.
  • Quick search: new and easy search functionality that will make it much faster to search for and identify decision logic and attributes directly from the Decision Modeler navigation bar.
  • Support for large decision tables: an optimized way to generate code for decision tables. This will enable much larger decision tables to be created, compiled more quickly with a smaller memory footprint, and executed with a significant performance increase.
  • Use of decision data from the Analytic Datamart in decision testing and analysis: in addition to being able to upload data directly to Decision Testing, a user can now access and leverage data from previous decisions stored in the Analytic Datamart to run through testing and analysis scenarios.


FICO Analytics Workbench 2.0 Trial

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FICO® Analytics Workbench, introduced last June, is a cloud-based analytics toolkit that powers business users and data scientists with sophisticated yet easy-to-use data exploration, visual data wrangling, decision strategy design and machine learning. Analytics Workbench is designed for teams of varying skill sets, as it can be used to tackle a diverse set of high-value modeling problems. Users can quickly build analytic models that can be easily deployed independently as a web service or as a service on the Decision Management Suite. The cloud-based/SaaS environment improves time-to-value and user collaboration. Analytics Workbench supports seamless integration with other analytic solutions and, ultimately, with the Decision Management Platform, allowing for high-speed model execution.


FICO® Analytics Workbench 2.0 continues to drive a vision of delivering a unified data science experience -- including data ingestion, wrangling, analytic modeling and algorithm development -- on the FICO Decision Management Platform. The new version of Analytics Workbench delivers:

  • Target driven strategy design to enable customers to better segment populations by variables they care about.  A target-driven tree will result in segmentation that better separates the targets of choice (good vs. bad, responder vs. non-responder, etc.).
  • Support for expanded machine learning and artificial intelligence libraries -- specifically xgboost and H2O -- to provide greater utility and integration of artificial intelligence algorithms, as well as support for R and the scalable SparkR package in Analytics Workbench. These two new capabilities will help yield much more precise decisions.


FICO Xpress Optimization

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As a reminder, FICO Xpress Optimization is now comprised of four core components: Xpress Insight, Xpress Executor, Xpress Solver and Xpress Workbench. Xpress Insight enables businesses to rapidly deploy optimization models as powerful applications. It allows users to interact with models in business terms and runs all FICO Xpress Optimization Solutions, including Decision Optimizer. Xpress Executor provides standalone support for optimization execution services, allowing businesses to deploy and execute optimization models quickly and easily.  Xpress Solver provides the widest breadth of industry leading optimization algorithms and technologies to solve linear, mixed integer and non-linear problems. FICO® Xpress Workbench is an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) for developing optimization models and complete solutions. FICO® Xpress Workbench integrates with Xpress Insight for seamless development and deployment of complete optimization solutions. It includes Xpress Mosel, the market-leading modeling, programming language and orchestration language. While this release delivers new capabilities to all components, these are the major advancements:


Xpress Insight 4.9

  • Xpress Insight includes usability and performance enhancements specifically designed to make solutions development easier and faster for our customers.  Please see the Xpress Insight 4.9 Release Blog


Xpress Executor 2.1

  • Xpress Executor now includes rules execution for the fast and repeated execution of rules within an optimization model run. This feature is used in solutions that need to run a very high number of rules with a very low latency while running an optimization model in the cloud.


Xpress Solver 8.4

  • Xpress Solver includes significant performance enhancements. With these algorithmic enhancements, FICO runs up to 25% faster in linear programming benchmarks and up to 20% faster in mixed integer programming benchmarks compared to 6 months ago. With this release, FICO has regained its #1 position in LP benchmarks.


Xpress Workbench 2.1

  • FICO Xpress Mosel, the premier analytic orchestration, algebraic modeling, and programming language is now FREE and OPEN
    • FICO is deeply committed to the field of mathematical optimization. By providing Xpress Mosel FREE to our users, the industry-leading modeling language is now accessible to everyone. We believe that every optimization or analytics project can benefit from the power of Xpress Mosel.
    • Not only is Xpress Mosel FREE, but it is now OPEN to connect to 3rd party solvers (not just FICO Xpress Solver). We believe OPEN Xpress Mosel is the best choice for modeling any problem type and then solving it with any solver technology available.
    • For more details, read the full OPEN and FREE Xpress Mosel announcement.
  • The 2.1 update also includes several additional usability and performance enhancements, including an updated IDE (Integrated Development Environment). For technical details, please see the Xpress Workbench 2.1 Blog.


Decision Optimizer 7.2

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  • Time series equation component support: functionality that allows users to create equations that undertake a series of calculations, such as a Time Series calculation for example, to calculate deprecation of an asset over a number of years or collections action over a number of days. In addition to bringing back this functionality from 6.0, the support in 7.2 also adds the ability to identify outputs created during the series calculation as temporary. This allows users to remove data created during the different series steps, which helps to reduce clutter and improve performance.
  • Tree aware optimization treatment constraints: this fully replicates the 6.0 functionality, but also provides a simpler, more visual user interface for setting criteria. Tree aware optimization allows users to define both eligibility criteria and consistency criteria.
      • Eligibility criteria allows users to define which end nodes of a tree qualify for which treatments.
      • Consistency criteria allows users to define which treatments can be assigned to each end node based on the rank ordering set on a decision tree variable or variables.
    • This functionality will help users get to a final refined Decision Tree Strategy more quickly, potentially saving days during a professional services development project.
  • Project and scenario package importation and export: this new capability will significantly help users export and import whole DO7 projects for sharing, review, etc. A Project Export / Import will now support all the core details of the Decision Impact Model, Scenarios and Results. It will make the moving and upgrading of DO7 projects much more efficient.


Strategy Director 2.2

Strategy Director has been updated to version 2.2. This release includes a number of enhancements to make decision configuration and testing easier to help Strategy Director become an integral part of the DM Suite best practices. The key enhancements include:

  • Home page and usability improvements that are based on usability studies. These improvements not only make the user experience more visually appealing, but also dramatically improve navigation to ensure key features are easier to find and access.
  • Strategy Flow: Strategy Director 2.2 enhances strategy flows to connect multiple trees to better articulate and manage strategy objectives.
  • Decision area and strategy parameters augment the inputs that users can configure to parameterize settings into decision components.
  • Parameter families: Historically, parameters would be single values that are sometimes augmented to include multiple values across multiple parameters. In Strategy Director 2.2, users can now create arrays of parameters and configure longitudinal actions with ease, providing a lot more flexibility and accuracy in outline decision parameters and outcomes.
  • Simulation capabilities provide users with the ability to trigger simulation jobs to test what-if scenarios.
  • Write to the underlying DM Suite Analytic Data Mart and provide decision reporting as a native DMP component.


DMP Streaming 3.5

DMP Streaming is FICO's industry leading in-stream analytics solution. FICO Decision Management Platform Streaming should appeal to customers who are considering:

  • Acquiring or building high-performance event processing systems for use cases such as: operational monitoring, Internet-of-Things (IoT), real-time anomaly detection or contextually aware marketing solutions.
  • Organizations looking for alternatives to spending hundreds of hours on traditional code-heavy approaches to developing and deploying enterprise-grade, high-performance solutions. These organizations will see value in the integration of FICO's streaming analytics and job-step approach, along with the integration with FICO Application Studio.
  • Solutions to accelerate and improve decisions by integrating existing applications to consume decision-ready data without rip and replace changes to the application ecosystem.


Want to try these products?

This quarterly update, and the formal GA notification, is only applicable to the FICO Decision Management Suite implementations for on-premises, unmanaged Amazon Web Services (AWS) implementations (e.g. customer deployed AWS installations).  The AWS hosted, FICO managed offering general availability is scheduled for the near future. You can find and trial the majority of these products on the FICO Analytic Cloud.