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Mining Your Own Business? Best Practices for Data Analytics Success

Jeff Deal

September 23, 2016

BLOG-Mining-Your-Own-Business.jpgElder Research has been a leader in the data science field for more than 21 years. In that time, we have done work for hundreds of companies including Fortune 100 businesses, major hedge funds, massive government agencies, and high tech start-ups. About three years ago, we did a study on the success of our past projects and found some interesting and troubling results.

COVER_Mining_Your_Own_Business.jpgIn 90% of our engagements, we had technical success. That is, we succeeded in working with our client’s data to predict behavior, find the anomalies, optimize the system, or use advanced analytics to solve whatever challenging problem the client gave to us. Not every problem can be solved with analytics, but this is a great success rate. Sadly, our analysis also found that only 65% of our technical successes led to business success. We were solving the hard science part of the problem, but our solutions weren’t being implemented by many of our customers and as a result they were not realizing the business value from our work. This provided us with strong evidence of a disconnect between the business leaders and the quants. Realizing there weren’t many resources to guide business leaders interested in using data analytics, we decided to share our experiences in a new book titled “Mining Your Own Business: A Primer for Executives on Understanding and Employing Data Mining and Predictive Analytics”.

Bridging the Gap

Gerhard Pilcher and I wrote, “Mining Your Own Business” because the general lack of business understanding about advanced analytics was leading to bad decisions, wasted resources, and poor return on investment in analytics. Organizations were trying to build an analytic infrastructure or manage small data science programs, but often lacked a basic understanding of the business and what it takes to manage an analytics program though its entire lifecycle—from concept to implementation.  As a result, many of these early analytics efforts ended in disappointment and failure. Our book is intended to provide business leaders with a general understanding of data analytics in order to increase the likelihood of organizational success.

Learn About Best Practices

Mining Your Own Business draws on Elder Research’s 21 years of experience working with hundreds of clients. It is full of anecdotes and lessons learned from the fascinating world of advanced analytics. We want our readers to learn from our successes and mistakes, as well as what we learned from our client’s side of the engagements. We’ve witnessed adept understanding and managing of the analytic engagements and we’ve seen some spectacular mistakes leading to wasted money, time, and political capital. For example, many managers do a great job of planning and managing an analytic model building program, but fail to plan for how the model will be deployed in the production environment. Sometimes, they fail to consider whether or not there is even organizational support to act on the valuable information the model will produce. These are the types of mistakes we want to help leaders avoid.The_Ten_Levels_of_Analytics_Chart.png

Other topics in the book include:

  • Understanding different levels of analytics
  • How to lead an analytic initiative
  • How to staff an analytic project
  • How and when to acquire software tools
  • An overview of the analytics modeling process
  • Deploying the analytic solution

This is just a short list. There is much more.

The book was designed to be an easy read and one that can be consumed in easily digestible pieces, such as when traveling. The technical depth is limited, but we do provide some general knowledge on how models are built and deployed.

Elder Research is in the business of helping organizations attain actionable value from their data. We have the technical expertise to address a broad range of technical challenges. Mining Your Own Business is intended to provide business leaders with a foundation of knowledge that will help them to turn technical success into business success resulting in organizational and personal wins.

Download the Ebook to learn more about how to get started Mining Your Own Business.


About the Author

Jeff Deal Jeff Deal, Vice President of Operations, leads tasks involving contracting, finances, logistics, planning, and regulatory/legal issues. Jeff has worked with dozens of clients to understand their business needs and organizational goals and, in the process, has gained insight into organizational obstacles to successful data mining engagements. His talk on the Ten Most Common Data Science Business Mistakes has been well received at analytic conferences. Mr. Deal is the Program Chair for the Predictive Analytics World – Healthcare conference, and co-author of Mining Your Own Business.