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Selling thanks to big data brains

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Italy, April 19, 2017
Giampaolo Colletti

They are partly mathematicians and partly analysts. 

Certainly they are people who know very well the dynamics of an increasingly liquid market. Here we find the generation of data scientists - hybrid figures that today give life to an Anglo-Italian startup working in predictive analytics. What this means in practice is that this team of experts, by combining data and its context, can predict the future sales of one or more outlets. And all this in addition to allowing you to have inventory costs savings. Together, this provides the opportunity to sell in a much more targeted manner.

This is Evo Pricing, a startup born four years ago thanks to Fabrizio Fantini, a 38-year-old native of Jesi, Fantini has a Master’s from Harvard University and for ten years worked as an advisor in Italy, the United States and England. The idea for Evo Pricing was the brainchild of Fabrizio and his father, Nino Fantini, who worked at IBM for thirty years. 

"With predictive analysis we help companies to become more competitive and we already have customers all around the world, from Mexico to California," says Fabrizio proudly. The startup recruits data scientists from the University of Turin, a centre of excellence in big data analysis. It was here, working hand in hand with the Polytechnic University of Turin, that the first Master’s course in Data Science was pioneered. "With this entrepreneurial experience, I have come closer to Italy. Today, in our Turin offices, we hire young professionals of great quality, while we are still keeping a foot abroad looking for computing experts and developers."

In Italy, the Evo Pricing approach brings together more than three hundred people, from shopkeepers to store managers, who contribute vital data every week thanks to a structured system. Variables such as past sales, geographic area, climate, and product characteristics are used for the initial data-based forecast. But later, stores can modify this forecast, even getting to trade goods directly.

Fabrizio has no doubt regarding the dialectical relationship between man and machine. The combination of artificial intelligence and human experience is winning, even in retail, defeating any computer system. "Algorithms feed on data and, for this reason, they are bound to what has been observed in the past. Instead, operators can use their own direct experience to quickly formulate hypotheses about the future. 

“An algorithm alone is less powerful without human intuition."


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