Too often strategic decisions are made relying only on company’s internal data sources such as sales figures and estimations, customer feedback, and production cost developments. “One can lift the quality of the decisions to a whole new level by complementing the internal structured data sources with external unstructured ones. Examples of external sources are media articles and discussion threads on social networks”, tells M-Brain’s CEO Christian Cedercreutz.
According to Cedercreutz, it is very important to ensure the relevance of external information sources. “No-one wants to browse endless lists of irrelevant articles. That’s why at M-Brain we pay special attention to selecting proper information sources. We operate on a hybrid model where a human analyst validates the choices made by computer.”
Cedercreutz knows what he is talking about. He joined M-Brain in 2018, after a twenty year career at IBM behind him. He had worked with various software, content, and analytics in several positions and locations across Europe. He had experience for example with Watson, the famous AI. His interest in data and applying it in novel ways finally led Cedercreutz to M-Brain.
From a research project to a global player
M-Brain is a global company operating in 13 countries. They help other companies in three domains: media monitoring & analysis, market intelligence solutions, and strategic consulting. At the moment around half of the company’s revenues come from content, a quarter from technology, and a quarter from consulting. The company is growing rapidly.
The story of M-Brain started in 1998 as a research project lead by Marjukka Nyberg. In recent years they have strengthened their operations with several company acquisitions: Cision (2011), Esmerk (2012), Whitevector (2013), GIA (2014), and Opoint (2016). Each of these acquisitions has complemented M-Brain’s offering in its own way. For example GIA brought in strong strategic knowledge & consulting skills, Opoint on the other hand paved the way to Nordic countries.
M-Brain creates insights from data. Their goal is to become the world’s number one partner for companies who want to solve data related challenges or who think about how to utilize data when making strategic decisions. They aim to address these challenges with their media and market intelligence solutions. Customer companies need to start treating data and insights as a “must-have” in decision making, not just as a “nice-to-have”.
Competitive advantage from human-computer co-operation
The before mentioned hybrid model ensures the relevance and usefulness of information. First, M-Brain’s software extensively scans the web and data sources: their AI algorithms perform daily as many as 25 billion decisions when figuring out which content is relevant for which companies. They then compare the new article with the ones provided to the particular customer previously. Texts can be written in 80 different languages. Finally, the analysts make sure that chosen articles are relevant. All analysts have specific domains which they follow closely.
To save customer’s valuable time, the analysts also write summaries of the articles. Via summaries the customer can also navigate to the original sources, if they are openly available on the web or if the customer has rights to access them. The customer can also order a personalized newsletter or browse the articles on M-Brain’s Intelligence Plaza platform, on their computer or smartphone.
When Cedercreutz joined M-Brain, he believed the company should focus on one or at most two industry domains. However, quite soon it became apparent that the same operating model is applicable virtually for any industry. This model combines utilizing technology, analyst know-how, and a vast amount of content. At the moment M-Brain has seven broad areas they concentrate on.
There is still a lot to do but the model has already proven successful. “If you think that your company doesn’t have all the needed information at its disposal in decision making, you know where to find us”, Cedercreutz sums.
At the moment M-Brain has its 2019 Global Intelligence Survey open. You are invited to visit here and leave your opinion on how market understanding could help your company to make the right decisions.
This is a feature in our monthly ‘Portfolio insight’ blog series, where we showcase our portfolio companies and provide insights on their businesses.
Text: Santtu Toivonen