Failure is the only success

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection at Australia has done some amazing work in reducing immigration fraud by using advanced analytics indifferent areas. They reduced fraud by building a risk score card that associated a risk based score to every visa applicant. The idea is to prevent fraud by denying a visa to the wrong person. As per what they state their initial pilot was so successful that they have now extend the system to all applications and with about 50 million people travelling to Australia every year that is definitely a big number.

The real take away from this story is not what they achieved but how. And I think this is an important lesson that business leaders should learn. The most important strategy they followed is to prototype with some very basic rules – don’t break the law, don’t break the infrastructure and don’t break the bank. They kept trying different approaches and worked on different projects and eventually things started falling in place with some outstanding results.

Another aspect that I really appreciated was the fact that they only bothered about the business problem and did not bother about which technology was used to solve it, the result being very low costs by using open source platforms.

The key take away from this story for business leaders is that advanced analytics is a game of possibilities and one needs to keep trying and addressing different problems with different approaches. Businesses need to try and fail at smaller projects at lowers costs, the learning from these failures will not only help in understanding the nuances of the business better but also build a great data acquisition and analytics strategy that will eventually convert these failures to successes.

Companies are getting bogged down with using standard tools to solve standard problems while trying to achieve non-standard results. The game is going to be won by people who break the rules.

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