data enablers

Data Enablers: Enova’s Decision-Making Tech

Life — and business, for that matter — is full of decisions. Some small, some big, many with the use of data in real time.

“Enova Decisions, an Analytics as a Service (AaaS) business, delivers on-demand decision-making technology and real-time predictive analytics services to businesses that want to make fast, data-driven decisions within an instant and at scale,” Joe DeCosmo, Enova’s chief analytics officer and head of Enova Decisions.

The Chicago-based business falls under Enova International, Inc., which for more than a dozen years has been a technology- and data analytics-focused online financial services company. After operating 11 brands in six countries, DeCosmo leveraged the data and analytics to launch Enova Decisions in 2015 and provide clients with custom, real-time analytics services that improve credit risk, fraud protection, operations and marketing.

“Enova Decisions is built on the same engine — which we call Colossus — that Enova, which is an online lender, uses to make its decisions,” said DeCosmo, adding that as Big Data evolves, the business recognized that industries could benefit from these insights. “We could translate our own proven experience into a business that was relevant to a number of industries — it was exciting to contemplate doing something that is probably unexpected from an online lender.”

The applications of Enova’s work has connectivity to a variety of industries and businesses, from telco to higher education.

And when it comes to payment processing, DeCosmo said Enova aims to identify the ideal time to auto-debit the customer’s account or when the client is more likely to successfully secure a payment that has been authorized and to ultimately avoid missed payments and overdraft fees.

“We also help companies in a variety of industries make decisions about what kind of offers to make to consumers, whether those offers are designed to increase retention, decrease defaults or allow them to extend credit to a customer who, based on less robust models, may not seem eligible,” said DeCosmo.

But over those 12 years, there have been hurdles. Namely, DeCosmo said, those hurdles include ensuring that clients are comfortable with how the business handles their data and then getting those clients to take that data to make solid, forward-looking decisions quickly.

“We’re very disciplined about how we handle and protect their data, as we realize that data has real, proprietary value,” said DeCosmo. “And we start most customers with a data study, which enables us to show them the difference — in real metrics like sales and retention –— that they’re able to achieve. We find that makes believers out of them quickly and also gives them the insights they need to build internal consensus.”

The evolution of Enova includes a team that includes Sean Naismith, head of analytics services, and Garry Weiss, who leads sales and lead client solutions. The business has rooted its focus in the financial services industry but seeks to expand into other areas as it looks ahead to the new year.

“In 2017, we plan to continue to prove out our real-time predictive analytics services in new industries, including higher education, telecommunications, insurance and real estate, with a ramp up in revenue goals through 2018,” said DeCosmo.

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