‘The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Customer Success Manager’ …..

September 1962 saw the release of a gritty UK film entitled ‘The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner’ and I have often considered plagiarizing that for a ‘to-be-written’ book for my retirement ‘The Loneliness of the ‘Whatever Job I am doing at the moment which involves a lot of air travel’.

Having spent that last 20+ years on regular business travel during that time working across complex ‘Computer-based’ software Projects – I thought I would share some of my recent experiences as a Customer Success (& Account) Manager – and what makes from my/our view – a Project successful – especially in Big Data, Analytics & Machine Learning at Predikto.

A previous Sales Director/Manager of mine had an old saying :

‘Keep to the plan, follow the steps – if you skip steps, BAD THINGS HAPPEN’.

I truly believe he was right.

Here, at Predikto, we have similar ‘mantra’- and I’ll share the Top Five which keep us focused on delivering successful Projects – namely:

  1. This is a journey – enjoy the trip…

If you are expecting to flick the ‘Predikto switch’ and turn the darkness into some new evangelical ‘Light’, then I am afraid you will be sadly disillusioned. Machine Learning projects are just that – they take time to implement (allow the engine to initially learn) and then to allow the engine to learn and optimize its answers (predictions) over time.

  1. This is a Partnership – not Vendor /Customer Relationship

Partnerships require time, trust & the right skills to develop properly. Sure, we provide the vehicle and the customer provides the data – but it is much more than that. Weekly face-to-face meetings, utilising the software, reviewing the notifications, working out what the top ten features are indicating, etc. It’s a joint effort for a team of subject matter experts – Predikto on their Enterprise Suite (MAX, Recon GUI, etc), Customer on their data, assets, etc.

  1. We provide Notifications – not Root Cause Analysis (RCA)

A notification in our GUI (Predikto Recon) is MAX tapping the user on the shoulder saying ‘hey there Is an issue here’ and MAX will provide as much information as he can as to the reason for the developing issue(s). This notification gives the user a place to start looking for the issue but may not be the root cause.

What do I mean exactly? Recently, on a fleet of locomotives, we saw an alert on one asset for a potential motor drive failure – and (one of) the main feature indicated was high temperature in the windscreen wiper system. What – you might ask – does wiper system have anything to do with driver motor failures? Simple, the motor driver wiring passing around the locomotive body was near the wiper system and was, locally, getting hotter than normal – the hotspot developing nearest the wiper system where only one temperature sensor was available…

So, consider what Predikto MAX is telling you – he might be using a ‘proxy’….

  1. Now I have a ‘helper’ who has ‘got my back’ – so what?

So – then you need to consider regular calls with your Asset Management Team and jointly reviewing the notifications with your Customer Success Team and identify which ones are most relevant and why?

The questions you now need to be asking are:

  • ‘I have this new information – how does it help me?
  • ‘Does this information help me look at the problem differently?’
  • ‘What other information do I have to help me contextualize this alert properly?’
  • ‘Can I also ingest this data to help me visualize, then contextualize – hence improve my predictions & notifications?’
  • ‘Who else needs to know about this information – workshops, depots, logistics, scheduling, contracts & procurement – should we be writing our contracts differently?’
  1. Finally, how do I monetize this Solution properly – get ROI?

Once you have the ‘technology’ – monetization requires an analysis of the current process (as-is) and the potential required changes (the to-be) are in place to ensure that, not only are the people but also the processes are available and that both are ready to implement the required changes.

Typically, for business process change, Predikto recommends baby-steps initially, keep the changes small, manageable and track-able. Perhaps employ a business process change consultant to help with the smooth transition from as-is to to-be!

The changes are likely to be measured over longer periods of time (remember it is not a ‘flick the switch’ activity) and those processes need to be sufficiently flexible so that changes may be made ‘on the fly’.

And, very often, there unforeseen benefits that arise through making such changes, and are often difficult to ‘monetize’ accurately, example below.

A locomotive breaks down pulling a cargo, blocking a track. Not only is there the issue of fixing or recovering the loco, potentially replacing the broken loco or pushing the entire cargo to a siding for loco change, or renting a new loco, etc BUT the track upon which the cargo has been siting for several hours is also blocked. So rail operators do not record these ‘lost loco’ opportunities and almost all do not know the exact cost of the ‘loco(s) behind’ either having to be rerouted, cancelled, delayed, etc.

So for Customer Success – as a customer – please follow us on a journey with your data to make your business processes predictive. We are the experts in our business, you are the experts in yours but together this journey could be AWESOME!

Introducing the New Predikto Maintain!

At Predikto, we take your IoT data and turn it into predictions. We convert unplanned failures into preventative maintenance events. We are very good at data transformation and analysis. We tear it up at modeling and machine learning. We have a cadre of super-smart data scientists, engineers, and subject matter experts.

But we are too smart for our own good. We created an app that is 1) beige (really?) and 2) doesn’t go the final mile to turn predictions into actions. And you can’t use your data to make a decision if you can’t understand the predictive output. Even if that prediction is mathematically sound.

For all the people out there who have ever felt this way about math books:

Predikto heard you, then, they hired me. And bam! Now we have a new app that normal humans can use.

Redoing your app from the ground up is scary. Why are you making such a radical shift? What was wrong with the old app? I am sure we’ve all read those business cases about how Domino’s took a big risk by admitting their pizza stunk and then totally redoing it. But, it worked out for them. Now I can order pizza from an app while driving. Which is totally a good idea.

This time, it wasn’t about old vs. new or good vs. bad. Our old app was quite nice. I just have a personal vendetta about beige (as do many bitter parents  and what is this perfume?), and against people who don’t think normal humans can understand science. As a writing professor once told me, “If your reader doesn’t understand your message, they aren’t stupid, you wrote it wrong.”

Without further ado – here is the new Predikto Maintain. It’s still got our algorithm-mastering, machine-learning, big-brain, MAX™ making amazing predictions. But now, it’s more understandable to mere mortals.

I know, It’s blue. Because we can’t be going too crazy here. Blue it is.

The heart of Predikto is our predictive models. But our end users think about them in three different ways. So now, we offer up three different methods to examine what our Predikto MAX models are doing, and more importantly, what they are telling you to do.

  • Let’s start with the system engineers who actually have to go do things during the day (like fix locomotives or quay cranes or aircraft engines). We let you know when our MAX algorithms predict a critical component will fail. And now, on the same screen, you can see what has happened to this asset, and point-of-failure, in the past – and how long you have to fix it. You can drill down into the events from that asset, reading more about work orders and sensor data relevant to the situation. You can quickly select what to do about this prediction (go fix this, close this) and move on with your day.
  • Moving on to the data scientists, who need to monitor their company’s data, and their overall system health. We’ve developed a Data Science screen where your data folks can geek out to their heart’s content. We’ve got a method to monitor the success of the ETL, a way to check in on model performance, methods to perform data integrity checks, QA checks for data feeds, and much, much more…
  • Finally, for the decision-makers, we show you Predikto’s Value Add. Now you can see exactly how many unplanned maintenance events have been prevented, and how many man-hours (and more importantly, how much money) our system has saved. And you’ll notice how quickly this all adds up to customer success.

All and all, a great, blue, package. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. Soon, we’ll have even more information about our predictions, our models, and your system health. Maps! Drill downs! Sliders! The display options are endless. I promise this: no 1990 my-space pages, and certainly, no beige.

I predict the future is bright. And actionable.

You’re going to need a bigger boat!


With the recent 42nd anniversary of ‘Jaws’ the film, everyone always comes up with the tagline above ‘you’re going to need a bigger boat’ and that led me recently to consider where we have come from regarding engineering, calculations (to solve problems), data, data science and now to Big Data, the Internet of Things (IoT) and its Industrial counterpart and the role of the engineer and the data scientist.

Back in my day, not quite 42 years ago (but close), we did calculations by hand, on paper, with a calculator, often requiring engineering ‘iterations’ to get the right design flow (or whatever). Yes, we made mistakes (probably too many to worry about!) – then we had spreadsheets (to speed up iterations with less mistakes), then static process simulations to speed up the design and test alternatives, then dynamic process simulations to allow us to ‘predict’ the performance of the plant so as to help optimize the design – from there integrating with controls systems to develop control room operator training and from there to 3D Virtual Reality headsets that allow the User to ‘walk’ around the plant integrating control room and field operations etc….

And so into predictive analytics, where engineering meets data science…Predictive analytics has been around for quite some time and the ‘engineering’ approach has been to seek the answer to the question that everyone asks after there has been some kind of process or equipment failure, outage or worse still some kind of accident ‘Why couldn’t we see this problem coming?’ and usually, you can, but you have to be looking at all the variables, all the time and apply your engineering knowledge and skills to ‘spot the problem’ way in advance.

Clearly, you can apply lots of engineers and operators to look at all the data all of the time or you can use computer software to help. Early solutions involved looking at the ‘time series’ data only, as deviations from the ‘normal’ are relatively easy to spot and ‘trending’ solutions can alert and notify the host. But, as referring to my earlier engineering statements, users then want more – from spreadsheets to 3D VR – once you have your predictions based on time series analytics – then you want to add context, add CMMS and Maintenance data, operation logs, does the weather play a part, etc… and by adding each level of complexity, then the ‘problem’ to be solved gets much more complex and your ‘time series’ algorithm, even if it’s a really good one, just doesn’t stack up.

So you need to look at the problem from different aspects and try to find the best way to solve the ‘really big’ problem – which is – ‘How do I take all my relevant data – format it in a way that it can make sense and then contextualize it in a way that I can begin to make sense of it and then use all that data to ‘predict’ whats going to happen’. That’s a big problem that will need a big computer (‘gonna need a bigger computer’) and complex algorithm(s) to solve it.

Cloud computing has been around awhile, as has ETL (Extract Transform Load), and that is what impressed me so much to join Predikto, their ability to take all the data (as much as anyone would need or want), ETL it, put it in the Cloud, allow our ‘MAX’ Predictive engine to chew through it (just once, for 3-4 weeks), and then begin to apply every known algorithm that every Data Scientist might know (and a few of our own) AND, daily, optimize those algorithms for accuracy, applicability, and optimize for the types of features that help the predictions depending on the varying conditions of the process or asset (or weather etc) that are affecting it daily, hourly, etc….

Now that is really, REALLY clever stuff….and things that our customers have been asking for, for over 25 years in the business….

Big Data, IIoT, Industrie 4.0 and all the things that bring these together combined with what we are doing with Predikto – now that’s the future…..and I am honored to be part of Mario and Robert’s team – watch this space – stay on this track (sic), the future is in Predikto and is HERE!

By Paul Seccombe.

Paul joined Predikto in 2017 after his role as Solutions Leader at the GE Predix Oil & Gas for Europe and the Middle East. He was also at Smart Signal for many years. Paul holds a PhD in BioChemical Engineering from the University of Wales. He is based out of London.

Digital Transformations : From Analysis Paralysis to Execution Mode

Digital Trans

I have never been more excited about the future of Predikto. We started 4 yrs ago with the Vision of “Moving Unplanned to Planned”. We wanted to help large industrials “To harness the power of predictive analytics to optimize operational performance”. We are enabling this with:

  1. Our software platform including Predikto MAX which automates machine learning algorithm generation at a massive scale
  2. Our unique approach to data preparation optimized for Machine Learning

So why am I so excited? We have seen a big shift in the past 12 months of organizations going from “analysis paralysis” to “let’s start to execute”. We love it when prospects get what we have built. This was not the case 3 and 4 yrs ago. It takes a sophisticated organization to be ready to capitalize on our technology. We look for:

Clear Strategy

A clear strategy with the Executive support that incorporates AI, Predictive Analytics, Analytics/Digital Transformations, and investments that will enable them to increase revenues or cut costs by leveraging their own data. A recent report by IDC found that 80% of senior executives said investing in digital transformation is critical to future success. Investments in digital transformation initiatives will reach USD2.2 trillion by 2019 which is 60% more than this year.

Organizational Readiness

Organizational readiness is another key aspect of prospects and customers who are ready for our technology. Most customers have hired a Chief Digital Officer who came from the outside to change the way they have tackled innovation and digital transformations. They have dedicated teams with the power and budgets to run multiple pilots with companies big and small to learn how new technology can bring tangible value to their organization. They are learning to move fast and fail fast. The best ones are learning from startups and aligning their key initiatives with true disruptors. If you are looking for Ginni to sell you IBM Watson to solve all your problems, you are going to have a rude awakening in 18 months. We actually look for prospects who have already hired IBM and failed. IBM, please send me your list of Pilot customers from the past 3 years for Predictive Maintenance projects.

Technical Transformation

Technical transformation means a lot of different things depending on the industry vertical. Some customers did not have access to their own equipment sensor data since the OEM would keep it. They had to invest in new hardware to tap into the sensor data inside trains. Others had data stored in siloed on-prem historians and it was a challenge to get their IT Security organization to push that data to the Cloud. Others are trying to figure out which cloud provider to go with? If you are still wondering, there are only two you should consider, AWS and Microsoft Azure.

We are finding that prospects that are moving and executing have figured out all three components of their Digital Transformation. IDC also states that by 2019, 40% of All Digital Transformation initiatives, and 100% of all effective IoT efforts, will be supported by Cognitive/AI capabilities. I am excited about our future and the AI / Machine Learning software we have built to bring value to large industrial transportation companies looking to move from Unplanned to Planned using a data approach to complement their engineering based condition monitoring approach.

Predikto is featured in ARC Advanced Analytics and Machine Learning Guide

Predikto has been featured in the latest “Advanced Analytics and Machine Learning Planning Guide” by ARC.  Predikto is a powerful and innovative technology that helps asset-intensive industrial customers to deploy advanced analytics and machine learning algorithms to predict failures in their equipment.

Founded in 1986, ARC Advisory Group is the leading technology research and advisory firm for industry, infrastructure, and cities. ARC stands apart due to our in-depth coverage of both information technologies (IT) and operational technologies (OT) and associated business trends.

The Planning Guide is designed to help organizations navigate the buying process for advanced analytics.

With an emphasis on predictive solutions, cognitive intelligence, and machine learning, this planning guide will provide useful ways of thinking about analytics. It will clarify the different analytics modes, from the enterprise to the edge. The report will:

  • Explain key concepts needed to navigate the buying process
  • Help you understand how to select a solution that fits your business
  • Detail recent market entrants
  • Provide insight into how traditional technology providers with analytics are positioned in the market
  • Build Business Case Consensus

Predikto Named by Gartner as a Cool Vendor in IoT Analytics


Predikto has been included in the “Cool Vendors in IoT Analytics, 2017” report by Gartner, Inc.

It is an honor to be included in the Gartner Cool Vendor report. This recognition is validation on our ability to bring machine learning algorithm development software at a massive scale to help improve equipment uptime. By automating close to 80% of the process of creating machine learning algorithms, we are able to empower our customers to complement existing condition maintenance rules based systems with the power of machine learning on a massive scale. Our approach includes Predikto Maintain, a software that bridges the gap between machine learning algorithm output and the information required by Maintenance and Reliability Engineers to do their job more effectively and reduce unplanned breakdowns.

The Gartner report “Cool Vendors in IoT Analytics,” by analysts Svetlana Sicular, Jim Hare, Saniye Burcu Alaybeyi, Shubhangi Vashisth, and Simon F Jacobson was published April 27, 2017.

Gartner Disclaimer
Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in our research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

For additional information or a product demonstration
Please contact us at info@predikto.com

Predikto closes $4 Million investment – adds Jim Gagnard to BOD

Last month we announced a $4m VC led round to help us expand.  This latest round was led by Fidelis Capital and our prior investors, TechOperators, also participated in the round.  We also added Jim Gagnard, ex-CEO of Smart Signal (acquired by GE) into our BOD as our latest independent board member.  Investors in this last round also included a strategic with deep expertise in Aerospace and Defense globally.

Looking back at our 4-year history, I would like to take this opportunity to reflect on our past, paint a picture of where we are today, and explain the road ahead for Predikto.

We started with the idea that automated insights from large amounts of industrial equipment data could disrupt how maintenance, operations, logistics, PLM, and after market capabilities for large industrial players.  Organizations spend millions adding sensors, improving business processes, deploying software to improve how businesses are run, but in the end, humans are heavily required to extract insights from data.  With the explosion of new sensors and IoT, more data means more challenges in gaining actionable insights from that data.  Our focus and goal is to try and “automate” machine learning and predictive analytics algorithm development as much as possible to provide targeted solutions to problems faced by our customers.  If we could automatically create lemonade from lemons, we were onto something big.  We raised our first $3.6m of funding in December of 2014.  This enabled us to expand our core team which primarily included Robert, Will and me.  We were able to bring in the right talent with expertise who had scars building large scale complex cloud-based software applications (Roy joined to lead our Engineering team).  We also invested in Sales & Marketing at that time.  We were going to market with a wide net and chasing anything that moved.  After gaining a deeper understanding of our market, customers and how they “do business”, we felt it was critical for us to focus in one vertical and then expand from there.

About 18 months ago we decided to focus in Rail.  We had some early customers and a lot of new opportunities in Rail globally.  We also had a few channel partners who would help us expand in the rail vertical.  We hired 4 team members who came from Rail and this brought credibility, expertise, and a much deeper understanding of our customers and prospects that we lacked from the start (Greg joined to lead of Services / Solutions team).  Our success enabled us to expand our use cases, experience, and gain more scars.  Our success made it possible to begin to expand beyond Rail and open up the dialog with prospects in Aviation, Shipping, and now Wind Turbines.  We invested heavily in productizing and improving the Predikto Enterprise Platform for fast data ingestion and ETL.  We also continued to invest in automating and expanding the capabilities of Predikto MAX.  This has made it possible to do more with less (people and time).  In the last 6 months, we have been focusing on the latest release of Predikto Maintain which we believe is a huge step forward in helping asset-intensive organizations to operationalize in the real world how a maintenance engineer would translate the predictive output from very advanced and sophisticated machine learning algorithms into maintenance notifications or actionable warnings.  The context and supporting information provided by the Predikto Maintain application is critical in helping a Maintenance Engineer feel comfortable and answer the questions to:

 – Why should I believe this Predikto MAX prediction that my motor is going to fail?
 – How much time do I have until the asset or component is most likely to fail?
 – What are the risk and business impacts of my action (or lack of action)?

Today, we are expanding in multiple accounts globally across Freight Rail, Commuter Rail, Shipping (terminals), and Aviation.  Our platform and messaging are working. The space is still trying to sift through all the cluttered messaging from big and small competitors.  Our approach is to let our results speak for themselves.

So now what? This latest round of funding is to expand the team to ensure the current customer expansions and deployments go well.  We have a backlog of work and deployments for the year that is forcing us to continue investing in our software to ensure partners and customers can expand the deployment of Predikto software on their own.  We are also expanding into Azure later this year due to pressure from customers (we are in AWS EU and North America today).  Our team is solid and we continue to add key resources on a monthly basis.  I am proud of what we are doing and the direction we are going.  We are landing new huge customers who are leaders in their space.  They have invested in Data Science and advanced analytics, and they feel they need our help to get to the next phase in improving asset uptime with our analytics capabilities.