CenturyLink Cognilytics: From Startups to Market Leaders

Gary Gauba, President
“A strong leader should exhibit traits in line with the notions of Darwin’s Theory—to adapt, evolve and thrive with one constant factor—change!” declares Gary Gauba, President of CenturyLink Cognilytics. As the founder of three startups Softline, Systech Integrators, and Cognilytics over a span of twenty years, Gauba’s has had to persevere in order to succeed. He has faced numerous rejections as he built all three companies from the ground up– all without outside funding. Gauba stands as a role model for budding entrepreneurs—holding the opinion that a strong financial plan is indispensable for a company’s success. At the end of last year, Gauba merged his 2009 venture Cognilytics, a leading provider of decision science and advanced analytics solutions, with CenturyLink a global Fortune 500 telecommunications and IT services provider. This merger combined the infrastructure strengths of CenturyLink, a global Internet and Cloud provider that carries twenty percent of the world’s Internet traffic, with the advanced analytics, decision science, and Big Data solutions of Cognilytics. This enables the joint entity to deliver full stack analytics and advanced application services to its customers. Gauba firmly believes that this combination will accelerate Big Data adoption and data monetization at some of the world’s largest corporations.

Converting Data into a Monetize-able Asset

With an aim to deliver innovative and monetize-able insights to clients, the company is focused on solving key business problems through the use of technology, data, and statistics. Gauba is fast to point out that in order “to assist clients in making sound business decisions one needs to be fully aware of their needs and their business processes.” He firmly believes that domain knowledge goes hand and hand with technical skills. This is exemplified in Cognilytics’ delivery methodology Analyze-Visualize-Monetize (AVM). In this model, analysts at Cognilytics first determine key business drivers for the problem they are trying to solve. Utilizing the key business drivers, analysts formulate data-driven hypotheses. Each of the hypotheses are then tested against the data and analyzed for business value. This approach finally yields a business solution that reveals new insights and creates new monetize-able opportunities.

To constantly keep up with technical advances in the industry Cognilytics invests heavily in innovation around product development, proof of value solutions for their customers, and a few select corporate partnerships. Cognilytics has formed a strong strategic alliance with SAP. This partnership has become even stronger now that Cognilytics is a part of CenturyLink. CenturyLink is a long-standing SAP client and service provider for SAP solutions. Cognilytics has received numerous excellence awards for the services rendered to the SAP community. “With the combination of SAP, Cognilytics, and CenturyLink we are now able to offer a one stop shop from hosting and Cloud services to managed application services all the way up the stack to advanced analytics and predictive models,” states Gauba. In addition to its relationship with SAP, CenturyLink Cognilytics has a very strong partnership with Cloudera, the leading provider of Big Data technology.

In order to better understand Cognilytics’ capabilities and expertise it is helpful to analyze their work. For example, their high-level of expertise is reflected in a solution it recently provided to a top-tier financial institution that has a large and diverse portfolio of assets on its books. The client requires a solution to value and assess the risk of its assets on a monthly basis.The forecasting models used to predict the asset valuations and underlying risk utilized an advanced simulation-based technique that required enormous computational power.
To solve the bank’s challenge of model execution, Cognilytics delivered an optimized Big Data solution utilizing Cognilytics Decision Analyzer and SAP HANA. Cognilytics Decision Analyzer allows the institution to massively distribute the model execution. It also provides the necessary model management and governance in order to meet the strict requirements established by the Federal Reserve. SAP HANA is leveraged to provide a real-time risk reporting and advanced self-service business intelligence platform.“We are excited about the performance we were able to achieve for our client. We achieved over 500x speed-up on model execution and provided a real-time reporting platform that enables them to slice and dice hundreds of millions of rows of data in sub-second time,” comments Gauba.

Work Life Balance: Principle Trait of an Entrepreneur

“Clients typically choose Cognilytics for of our ability to see a business problem holistically and for the trust that we build alongside them as we help them achieve their goals,” states Gauba. Cognilytics is also focused on delivering value to its customers by reducing total cost of ownership through its Global Center of Excellence, an on-shore off-source comprehensive delivery team model that stresses a unified team approach."Understanding where your organization is heading by having a clear end state vision, while being able to adapt to competitive pressures and meeting clients’ needs is critical," mentions Gauba.

When you stretch yourself beyond your comfort zone; creative and dynamic things happen. Perceiving challenges as a way to opportunities epitomizes leadership

While his customers and their associated success are very important to Gauba, he credits work life balance as an essential component for success. “Leaders today have to be multifaceted and multidimensional. Having a consistent management philosophy with the ability to change work direction, style of leadership, and method of operation based on the situation at hand is a key trait all entrepreneurs should possess,” ruminates Gauba.

Making Strong Advances in Predictive Analytics

Cognilytics has big plans for the future in the product development space with several product releases that will cover core analytical problems and cutting-edge industry solutions. Today, with the big bang in Big Data, the ability to intelligently analyze data will result in greater operational efficiency. “Also, with the focus shifting from increasing sales to customer centralism, what leaders demand today is simplification of the technology landscape and a 360 view of the customer,” explains Gauba. In a recent survey, CenturyLink discovered that 71 percent of CEOs identified technology as the number one factor for success. Keeping this figure and current industry trends in mind, Gauba earnestly advocates to never take “no” for an answer in order to thrive and evolve in the industry. “Always remember a good leader doesn’t create followers, a leader creates leaders, empowers others, ensures that the team has the right level of talent and makes sure that talent is nurtured,” says Gauba. With such a leader steering the company, there is no doubt that Cognilytics is at the top of their game, and will continue to make strong advances in Big Data and the predictive analytics space in the future.

CenturyLink Cognilytics

San Jose, CA

Gary Gauba, President

Provides Advanced Predictive Analytics, Big Data, and business intelligence solutions along with SAP consulting services and training.