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Posts Tagged ‘business’

UK Supermarket Chain Uses Big Data to Reduce Energy Costs

TescoThe UK supermarket giant Tesco already uses big data in all of the ways that are standard to the industry. They use loyalty card data and data on the ways that customers interact with the store to drive more sales and create good promotions. Now, however, they’re using big data to tackle a new problem–energy consumption and costs in their stores.

The initiative targets in-store refrigerators and other equipment. Computer Weekly explained the project in a recent article.

“The move will help the retailer cut its refrigeration energy costs by up to 20% across 3000 stores in the UK and Ireland.

…The project, which used sophisticated computer systems to analyze gigabytes of refrigeration data, revealed that, without realizing it, many Tesco stores in Ireland were running their refrigerators at a lower temperature than necessary.

“Ideally, we keep our refrigerators at between -21 degrees Celsius and -23 degrees Celsius, but in reality we found we were keeping them colder. That came as a surprise to us,” said John Walsh, Tesco’s energy and carbon manager for Ireland.

…The data warehouse takes readings every three seconds from in-store sensors, processes the data in real time, and displays the results on a Google map which shows the performance of refrigerators in more than 120 Irish stores. It is also able to monitor and control the performance of Tesco’s heating and lighting systems.”

Whether it’s making changes, cutting costs, detecting fraud or predicting the effects of proposed changes in a store, big data, properly utilized, is a big help to business.

It all starts with getting the proper training on how to make the best possible use of that data. The Modeling Agency offers a free webinar to help business owners get a handle on the possibilities, and TMA’s other predictive analytics training courses can help you refine and strengthen your strategy so that your business enjoys the best possible results for its efforts.

Research Report Reveals How Top Companies Use Big Data

BoardroomThe Silicone Angle blog recently covered some of the insights to be found in an SAS and International Institute for Analytics report called “Big Data in Big Companies.” The report is available as a free download on the SAS website.

Each of the companies that the report covered spoke of using data to make smarter business decisions. Big data, when it’s functioning properly, creates real value for the companies who choose to make use of it.

One case study came from UPS. It’s a good study, one that comes with impressive numbers.

“UPS has more experience with Big Data than most, given that it first began tracking the movements of its vehicles and the packages it delivers back in the early 1980s. The firm reckons it tracks in the region of 16.3 million packages a day, whilst dealing with 39.5 million tracking requests from its customers each day. To date, the company has now accumulated over 16 petabytes of Big Data.

UPS’s ORION (On-Road Integrated Optimization and Navigation) initiative is said to be one of the largest operations research projects in the world. The majority of its data comes from telematics sensors installed in its vehicles, together with mapping data and other real-time reports of drop offs and pick-ups from drivers.

According to UPS, the ORION initiative has helped it to shave around 85 million miles off its daily routes during 2011, something that saved it more than 8.4 million gallons of fuel. The company estimates that this has led to $30 million in savings.

GE provided another great example. They use data to prevent mechanical failure.

“Bill Ruh, Vice President and Corporate Officer for GE’s Global Software Center…highlights GE’s industrial business as a prime target for big data, referencing the health of blades on the jet engines the company manufactures. “Our sensors collect signals on the health of blades on a gas turbine engine to show things like ‘stress cracks.’ The blade monitor can generate 500 gigabytes per day–and that’s only one sensor on the turbine. There are 12000 gas turbines in our fleet.” The value in integrating all the sensor data onto a big data platform can reveal patterns on when blades break, allowing GE to time its manufacturing and repair process before a break occurs.

The big companies all use data in ways that are as unique as their businesses are. However, they each have something in common, as well. Each company has set sensible targets for their business which allows them to create real, actionable results.

This kind of effectiveness starts with the proper training about data analytics. If you’re ready to put data to work for your business, start with TMA’s free webinar. Then, take a look at any of The Modeling Agency’s predictive analytics training courses to get more insight about what big data can do to help your business.

An Overview of the Data Mining Process


How Does Data Mining Work?

Perhaps you have heard of data mining and are wondering how this useful tool could help your business, but you aren’t sure where to start. It’s likely that you have a wealth of data amassed from your various business transactions, but how does the process of mining actionable information from this overwhelming collection of data really work?

Certainly, the ability of a company to collect data about their operations has improved with the growth of technology. With today’s emphasis on digitized processes, and the necessity of a company to maintain reliable historical transaction data, most companies can be described as ‘data-rich’.  However, just as many business are also ‘information-poor.’  They are awash in data, but don’t really understand what all that data is telling them.  The process of data mining allows a company to extract valuable insights and actionable information from data which will ultimately assist and inform important business decisions.

How to Prepare for Data Mining

When one sets out to mine data for useful insights, one must first assess the quality of the available data in the context of business objectives. Hopefully, the data to be mined is comprehensive and thorough; however, analysis can only begin once records have been checked for accuracy and completion and updated as necessary. Once this type of preparation has been done, the result is a clean set of data through which associations and predictive measures can be developed.

But most importantly, an organization should first conduct a comprehensive, methodical assessment to fully itemize and evaluate business objectives, team capability, environmental readiness and data capability.  A separate full article written by TMA’s president and published as the feature in BI Trends & Strategies  focuses on how and why to prepare for predictive modeling, …and why those who jump directly into the data are destined for failure.

Beyond the Basics

Although most organizations can acquire software and start building adequate models, it’s rare that they succeed at the project level.   Training and guidance from highly seasoned data mining consultants goes a far way to avoid starting projects prematurely, ensure that technology investments are right-sized, and establish a solid project definition that ensures a low-risk / high-impact methodical approach to the practice. When a company works with The Modeling Agency, they gain the advantage of the most current practices in data mining, allowing them to extract truly useful and accountable information with which to make informed and anticipatory decisions.

To learn how The Modeling Agency can help your company gain insights that will reduce costs and increase revenue, consider attending one of TMA’s training courses, or register for a free data mining webinar.

Make Data Mining Your 2013 Business Resolution

Fireworks for the New YearIt’s time time again – the time of year when everyone makes grand resolutions for the bright, shiny new year. This year, if incorporating data mining and predictive analytics into your business isn’t on your list of resolutions, it should be.

Your business has data, perhaps volumes of data – valuable data that can tell you a great deal about your customers or potential customers, and how to increase sales. But without a way to find the actionable information and insight in that data, it’s useless. That’s where data mining comes into play. Learning data mining – even just the basics – is a goal truly worthy of completion in 2013.

With data mining you can identify patterns and trends in your data and then build and apply predictive models to them, and produce an uncanny prediction for the behaviors that you need to anticipate to create more sales.

On The Modeling Agency blog, data mining has been thoroughly explained, as have the reasons why you need to make it a priority to learn the techniques that will help you unlock the wisdom in your data. Here are some of The Modeling Agency’s posts of note from 2012:


If you’re ready to take the next step with data mining in 2013, register for one of The Modeling Agency’s free data mining webinars. Or get to know the topic in-depth with one of The Modeling Agency’s data mining and predictive analytics training courses.

Happy New Year!