Companies are collecting leagues of data every day. Typically, that data just sits in a warehouse, with the enormous task of analyzing it and implementing the findings.
A recent business intelligence (BI) class has retooled the way I view data. Until I took the class, I was only concerned with collecting data and shaping it into a nice, neat, little package to sell to customers. I am just now diving into the world of BI and predictive analytics, and I’m not looking back. I had heard the unavoidable buzzwords for years, but never paid attention until now.
BI is shifting. It’s moved from being something that was nice for companies to have to a necessity for competing in the marketplace. Businesses can make smart decisions based on data, eliminating the guessing game of yesterday.
With the constant influx of data firms collect daily, using BI to process that data can increase efficiency and effectiveness and better help them understand customers’ wants and needs. Companies use analytics to save money on marketing by targeting customers and potential customers with advertisements that lead to revenue. The advertisements they send are “smart”, therefore have higher success rates than advertisements not based on analytics. For example, Target uses predictive analytics to figure out when women are pregnant and estimate their due date to within a small range. Is this creepy or amazing? My inner data geek seems to win out on this debate.
After sharing my excitement and passion (my boss calls it an obsession) over the electrifying world of BI with my company’s founder and technologist, we decided to take a closer look at our own data. We have data going back over 23 years and collect more every day. That data has to be useful, right?
Over the next few weeks, we’re going to start experimenting. Maybe we can predict next month’s volume of tax lien filings? I’m not looking for miracles, but I will be blogging about the results here. If you like data, keep reading to follow our geeky adventures – the good, the bad, and the ugly!