Five years from vision to the cutting edge of analytics and AI

Houston Analytics’ story is one which proves what a clear vision and the passion to achieve this can, at best, achieve. The story describes the long and winding but inspiring path taken by Antti Syväniemi’s vision towards a meaningful goal that is worth all the trouble it took to reach it.

It was the early 2000s. Antti Syväniemi was just starting out on his career, but he already knew something was not right. He had noticed there was something wrong in the world around him: more and more data was available but people did not want to or know how to use it. Antti came up with a clear vision: analytics must be introduced into everyday decision-making. This was the only way to improve customer service, to make pricing smarter, to optimise the assortment, to enhance processes and make activities support the strategy.

Houston Analytics was founded in early October 2013. Within three weeks, it entered a partnership with a major food industry company. In 2014, Houston Analytics took another big step and acquired a well-known heavy industry company as a customer. It also started to license its analytics solutions.

The company’s collaboration with IBM has played a key and a successful role from the start. Very early on, the start-up won an important incentive: the IBM Business Partner Award 2014. This showed that Houston Analytics’ expertise was highly ranked also internationally.

The company soon gained more customers in new sectors, including finance. Its reputation and net sales grew hand-in-hand. The next step was to set up a subsidiary in Sweden. With the company’s excellent reputation, it was easy to recruit more top talent. To top it all off, Colin Shearer, also known as the father of data mining, joined the company. A book about Syväniemi’s ideas, entitled Analytiikkamatka datasta tietoon ja tiedolla johtamiseen(An analytics journey from data to knowledge and data-driven management), was published in autumn 2015.

The company’s first joint venture was with the Danish marketing automation company Agillic in 2016. Houston Analytics boosted Agillic’s marketing automation system with artificial intelligence and the result was a pioneer in the field, the AI-enhanced Armstrong One (Agillic AI).

“Now that everyone is talking about AI, or artificial intelligence, Armstrong One is proof that we have been doing the right things. Last year we were the only North European company to win the IBM Business Choice Award and we made it on the Forrester list of the leading customer analytics companies. Today, we operate in the Nordic countries and the UK and we are in the process of starting operations in Germany and the USA with partners,” says Antti Syväniemi, Houston Analytics ‘s CEO.

Making your vision a reality is possible in five years, but it requires a great deal of perseverance, or Finnish SISU.