# “DEEP LEARNING PROJECT for Digital marketing” starts today. I present probability of visiting the store here

At the beginning of this year,  I set up a new project of my company.  The project is called “Deep Learning project” because “Deep Learning” is used as a core calculation engine in the project. Now that I have set up the predictive system to predict customer response to a direct mailing campaign, I would like to start a sub-project called  “DEEP LEARNING PROJECT for Digital marketing”.  I think the results from the project can be applied across industries, such as healthcare, financial, retails, travels and hotels, food and beverage, entertainments and so on. First, I would like to explain how to obtain probability for each customer to visit the store in our project.

1. What is the progress of the project so far?

There are several progresses in the project.

• Developing the model to obtain the probability of visiting the store
• Developing the scoring process to assign the probability to each customer
• Implement the predictive system by using Excel as an interface

Let me explain our predictive system. We constructed the predictive system on the platform of  Microsoft Azure Machine Learning Studio. The beauty of the platform is Excel, which is used by everyone, can be used as an interface to input and output data. This is our interface of the predictive system with on-line Excel. Logistic regression in MS Azure Machine Learning is used as our predictive model.

The second row (highlighted) is the window to input customer data.

Once customer data are input, the probability for the customer to visit the store can be output. (See the red characters and number below). In this case (Sample data No.1) the customer is less likely to visit the store as Scored  Probabilities is very low (0.06)

On the other hand,  In the case (Sample data No.5) the customer is likely to visit the store as Scored Probabilities is relatively high (0.28). If you want to know how it works, could you see the video?

2. What is the next in our project?

Once we create the model and implement the predictive system, we are going to the next stage to reach more advanced topics

• More marketing cases with variety of data
• More accuracy by using many models including Deep Learning
• How to implement data-driven management

Our predictive system should be more flexible and accurate. In order to achieve that, we will perform many experiments going forward.

3. What data is used in the project?

There are several data to be used for digital marketing. I would like to use this data for our project.

When we are satisfied with the results of our predictions by this data,  next data can be used for our project.

Digital marketing is getting more important to many industries from retail to financial.   I will update the article about our project on a monthly basis. Why don’t you join us and enjoy it!  When you have your comments or opinions, please do not hesitate to send us!

If you want to receive update of the project or want to know the predictive system more, could you sing up here?

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# Salesforce and Microsoft. Is the team a game changer of digital marketing?

Since Salesforce announced partnership with Microsoft® in May 2014 (1),  there might be a lot of rumors about this team.  Dreamforce in 2015 was held in San Francisco in the U.S on 15-18 September.  I found that this partnership is progressing rapidly.  As you  know, Salesforce is a king of CRM and Microsoft dominates the enterprise software market. Most of us use MS office365™ in our daily life.  Let us consider why this team might be a game changer in digital marketing.

1. One to one engagement

Salesforse said “How can you create One to one engagement with your customers? (2) There must be many answers. In my view we need to know what customers want more deeply in a real-time basis, then we should react it. To do that, we should have a mechanism to process massive amount data from customers effectively. I want to call it “Front, Back and Middle” mechanism. Front should face customers directly and collect data such as e-mails, phone calls, click-logs on mobile devices, purchases of products, payments, claims, and so on.  Back should record and store the data collected from front into storages or database.  Middle should analyze the data and provide insights to front so that front can make better business decisions. These processes are recurrent an they should be done many times in a seamless manner.  Sales personnel can obtain information and insights from this mechanism in real time-basis and face each customer one to one basis. In my view, that is “one to one engagement”.

2. The combination of strong Front and Strong MIddle/Back

Salesforce(SF) is a king of CRM. It means that SF is the strong front.  Microsoft (MS) expands its PaaS,  MS AZURE™ aggressively.  MS AZURE™ has a function of machine learning called AZURE ML . In MS AZURE™, there are many choices of database. Therefore, MS has strong middle and back.  Users can enjoy this strong combination of “front, middle and back” as the partnership between SF and MS is deepened recently.  I hope I can choose many functions from SF/ MS and set up systems based on my own preferences  in the future.   In my view,  this combination might be better than combinations between other big IT companies as corporate culture of SF/MS seems to be similar each other.  Since Satya Nadella became CEO of MS in Feb 2014,  MS culture seems to be changed from a traditional software company to a startup-minded cloud company.

3. More choices for users

PaaS can be used independently. Technologies are developing so fast, however, it seems to be difficult, that only one company covers everything to satisfy users’ needs. Therefore, partnerships like SF/MS may appear in IT industry in the future. It is good because users can have more choices  to reach their goal.  You can combine tools/ modules and try to pursue your own “one to one engagement”.

Since Facebook appeared in 2004,  SNS and message tools are getting popular and popular, especially in younger generations all over the world.  In principle, communications in SNS and message tools are one to one basis.  Therefore, it is natural that marketing activities by companies are also shifting from mass communication-type marketing to one to one engagement.  Mobile phones will be available at lower cost in emerging markets in the future and more people will be connected to the internet. It means that one to one engagement will be more important than it is now for companies that want to reach customers.

Although there are overlaps between two big IT software companies,  it seems that their partnership is strengthened going forward. I would like to keep watching what is going on between the two companies.  It must be exciting, isn’t it?

Source

1. Salesforce and Microsoft

https://www.salesforce.com/campaigns/microsoft/

Salesforce, Dreamforce and others are trademarks of salesforce.com, inc. and are used here with permission.

Microsoft, Encarta, MSN, and Windows are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.

Note: Toshifumi Kuga’s opinions and analyses are personal views and are intended to be for informational purposes and general interest only and should not be construed as individual investment advice or solicitation to buy, sell or hold any security or to adopt any investment strategy.  The information in this article is rendered as at publication date and may change without notice and it is not intended as a complete analysis of every material fact regarding any country, region market or investment.

Data from third-party sources may have been used in the preparation of this material and I, Author of the article has not independently verified, validated such data. I and TOSHI STATS.SDN.BHD. accept no liability whatsoever for any loss arising from the use of this information and relies upon the comments, opinions and analyses in the material is at the sole discretion of the user.

# What can computers do now ? It looks very smart !

Lately I found that several companies such as Microsoft and IBM provide us services by machine learning. Let us see what is going on now.

These new services are based on the progress on Machine learning recently. For example, Machine translation services between English and Spanish are provided by Microsoft skype. It uses Natural Language Processing by Machine learning. Although it started at Dec 2014, the quality of the services is expected to be improved quickly as a lot of people use and computer can learn the data from such users.

It is beneficial for you to explain what computers can do lately so that you can imagine new services in future. First, computers can see the images and videos and identify what it is. This is image recognition. Second, it can listen to our speech and interpret what you mean. This is speech recognition. It can translate one language to another, as well. This is machine translation. Third, computers can research based on concepts rather than key words. Fourth, it can calculate best choice among the potential options. This is an optimization. In short computers can see, listen to, read, speak and think.

These functions are utilized in many products and services although you cannot notice it. For example, IBM Watson Analytics provides these functions through platform as a service to developers.

I expect these functions enable computers to behave just like us. At the initial phase, it may be not so good just like a baby. However, machine learning allows computers to learn from experience. It means that the computer will perform better than we do in many fields. As you know, Shogi, one of the popular Japanese board game, artificial machine players can beat human professional teams. This is amazing!

Proceeding forward, it is recommended that you understand how computers are progressing in terms of the functions above. Many companies such as Google, Facebook invest a great deal of money in this filed. Therefore, many services are anticipated to be released in near future. Some of new services can impact our jobs, education and society a lot. Some of them may arise new industries in future.

Some day, when you are in the room, the computer can identify you by computer vision. Then ask if you want to drink a cup of coffee. The computer holds a lot of data, such as temperature, weather, time, season, your preference in it and generates the best coffee for you. If you want to know how this coffee is generated, the computer provides you a detailed report about the coffee. All settings are done automatically. It is the ultimate coffee maker by using powerful computer algorithm. Do you want it for you?

Note:IBM, IBM Watson Analytics, the IBM logo are trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation, registered in many jurisdictions worldwide.

# I have started Nanodegrees in Udacity this week. Yes, I will develop my website by myself!

I have started Front-End web developer course of Nanodegrees in Udacity this week.  I would like to obtain the skills of front-end web development, such as a website and mobile service because I would like to develop websites and mobile services, which are backed by machine learning.  So I am going to  set up the prototype website on Microsoft Azure and use visual studio online for writing codes of HTML, CSS and Java script.  When I learn methods to write the codes in Nanodegrees, I try to use these methods to develop the prototype website on Microsoft Azure.  I think it is good because I can learn the methods of wiring codes through Nanodegrees and develop my websites on Microsoft Azure at the same time.

As I said before, Nonodegrees focus on industries practices and applications for jobs.  It looks like an open training on the job.  It introduces a project based method, where participants should make several web sites by themselves according to instructions. I hope I can develop websites by writing HTML, CSS and Java script by the end of this course.

Actually, it is my first online course, which is required to pay for.  It costs 200 USD per month. I took more than 10 MOOCs (massive open online courses) in Coursera and Edex before.  Unlike Nanodegrees, these courses are free so I do not pay any fee at all. Most courses in Coursera and an Edex are provided by professors of the universities.  So Nanodegrees are contrasted to Coursera and Edex, which are major providers of MOOCs. I would like to explain what the difference is between Nanodegrees and other free courses going forward.

I want to make it a kind of parallel processing to develop websites and mobile services. When new methods of developing of websites and mobile services are provided through Nanodegrees,  I will deploy prototype websites on Microsoft Azure at the same time.  In addition to that,  the project to develop recommender engines is going on in my company and the prototype engine will be expected to be developed within this year.  This engine will be combined with the websites to enhance their services. I think it might be possible as Microsoft Azure has machine learning as a service.

This is a scheme to set up the platform to develop websites and mobile service backed by machine learning. Front-end developer course of Nanodegrees in Udacity might make it possible even for beginners like me. I hope this program keeps a high standard to provide skills and methods to participants so that everyone thinks it is worth paying fees to participate in this course.  I am sure Sebastian Thrun, CEO and cofounder of Udacity makes it happen.

# Is this a real game changer in data analysis, isn’t it ?

Machine learning (ML) is considered to be difficult to be implemented in practice. However, it has not been difficult anymore because new service is available from Microsoft.  This service is called “Microsoft Azure ML“. It can change the way to use Machine Learning in business.  It can be a game changer in data analysis, too.

1.  ML is integrated in the seamless processes.

ML can not be exist independently. Data should be gathered and cleaned up, models should be generated and validated correctly and results of data analysis should be shared among corporate managements and used for making better business decisions. Microsoft Azure ML realizes this ideal environment. So it is a user-friendly tool and can be fit for beginners of data analysis. It can be a strategic management tool, too.

2.  We can use R.

R is a popular language in data analysis. Microsoft Azure supports the R language. Even though there is no need to write code  by ourselves to start analyzing data,  the code for the models written in R can be seen on the screen.  It is very good because you can do fine tune to the models if you have expertise on computer languages.  In addition to that, more than 350 packages written in R are available, too.  Therefore, we do not need to write the code of  models by ourselves.  We just use these packages, which are open source in order to analyze data.  If you try to develop your own models by using R, of course  it is possible.  So Microsoft Azure ML is also good for experts of R language.

3.  The cost is dramatically decreased to start data analysis by ML.

10 years ago,  proprietary software of data mining was too expensive for individuals and start-up.  But Microsoft Azure ML can be used with “Pay as you go”. So initial cost can be decreased dramatically.  It means that  application services can be developed even by individuals with less cost.  It must be wonderful for entrepreneurs who try to make the world better by data analysis.  I want to do that.

This service has just started as preview and only available in the US south central so far.  Whenever it is available in Asia, I would like to try this service.  When I write this blog,  I heard the news, which says Apple and IBM team up to expand cloud services in corporate business.  Therefore, this kind of services about data analysis based on the cloud may be released from competitors of Microsoft in the future.  It must be good for us as we can choose the ML services based on our needs.  In the near future,  I am sure ML dominates the digital services for customers to choose good products and services.  Let us start now!