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Guidance and results for the data-rich, yet information-poor.

Posts Tagged ‘predictive analytics’

Predictive Analytics Helps Sales Teams Become More Productive

salesrepresentativesAny business that has a sales team knows that reducing wasted time is one of the biggest challenges sales managers face. And nothing wastes more time than pursuing the wrong leads.

This is why good leads can make the difference between a good sales team and a great one.

A recent Forbes article discusses how one company is using predictive analytics to solve this problem. Forbes had a conversation with Jascha Kaykas-Wolff, the Chief Marketing Officer of Mindjet, a company who has used predictive analytics to make this difference.

Mindjet is using predictive analytics to understand which leads are the highest quality and have the highest probability of turning into sales. With several thousand leads and trials being generated every week, traditional lead scoring techniques were not reliably segmenting out which leads had the highest probability of closing. With dozens of attributes included in their lead scoring application, Mindjet still wasn’t effectively providing the sales team with highly qualified and prioritized leads.

Getting only the highest qualified leads to sales can make the most of their selling time is a high priority for Mindjet marketing. This required the marketing team to get beyond lead scoring and determine which factors most and least contributed to lead quality.

Mindjet’s efforts resulted in 4.4 times more qualified leads than the company had previously enjoyed. That’s a lot of closed deals and a huge return on investment that will continue to play out in the very near future.

Do you want to win similar results for your business? If you approach predictive analytics the right way, you can! You just need the strategic training to use these methods appropriately.

If you’re ready to get started, try TMA’s free webinar. Or sign up for any of TMA’s advanced training courses. The Modeling Agency will arm you with the tools you need to get great results for your business.

Data Mining Helps Dannon Yogurt Increase Market Share

YogurtThe Dannon Company is using data analysis to make excellent business decisions. The company’s data mining efforts were recently featured in this article from FoodNavigationUSA.com.

Like retailers, Dannon uses the data (gathered from store shelves and not directly from consumers) to take the guesswork out of making customers happy.

“Dannon works with retailers across the country to make sure their shelves are filled with the precise product volume and promotion for each store location to meet shopper demand…Through the use of predictive analysis, Dannon is able to understand, plan, and predict their business in ways that were unimaginable a few years ago.”

As the article pointed out, this type of analysis is particularly helpful because yogurt has a very limited shelf life. Success in the yogurt industry therefore means taking advantage of just-in-time supply and delivery. The company must be careful to avoid overstocking and under-stocking, since being too conservative could lose crucial sales.

It’s easy to extrapolate how other companies in the food industry (from suppliers, to food retailers, to restaurants) could benefit from this type of work, since all food has some kind of shelf life. Reducing or preventing waste is always a concern.

Dannon’s success also demonstrates how important it is for each business to isolate and track the right factors. There are a myriad of things you could track and measure, but only some of those parameters will actually lead you to information that will help you make good business decisions.

Good data analysis takes good training. That’s why The Modeling Agency offers a free data analysis webinar as well as a host of other predictive analysis training courses. Better training means better results and an increased data analysis ROI, so sign up today.

Data Analysis, Predicting the Weather, and Business Decisions

ThunderstormMany people believe that weather impacts us only when it is severe. However, weather impacts people and businesses in a myriad of other ways.

Some of the ways that weather impacts business are obvious. For example, food prices go up after a rash of bad hail, drought, or extreme heat.

Some of those impacts are less obvious. Retail sales can plummet when the weather is bad because nobody wants to be out in the middle of a storm.

The science of weather prediction itself is getting better. National Geographic outlined NOAA’s improved hurricane forecasting software quite recently.

Business is finding ways to turn improved weather data to its advantage. This CNBC report titled “Big Data Companies Try to Outwit Mother Nature’s Chaos” outlines some of those methods.

“While it’s still virtually impossible to predict an event like [the Oklahoma tornado,] the models and forecasts from big data companies can be extremely valuable to a variety of businesses, ranging from retailers to insurers, as they plan ahead.

Earth Risk, for example, focuses on the energy trading market. By focusing in on probability models for extreme heat and extreme cold it can help investors profit in the futures market.

[John Plavan, co-founder and CEO of Earth Risk Technologies] points to the winter of 2011-12, which many traders in the natural gas market expected to be cold, driving up futures prices. Earth Risk’s models, though, showed that the atmosphere wasn’t setting itself up for a high probability of cold weather, letting clients position themselves to make money when natural gas prices declined.”

Some private weather prediction models may even have an edge on NOAA. For example, IBM’s “Deep Thunder” draws its data from multiple sources, including NOAA itself. It also uses Earth Networks, NASA, and the U.S. Geological Survey.

If weather has an impact on your business it is a good idea to learn more about data mining and its many uses. TMA offers a variety of data analytics training courses to help companies learn how to use these powerful tools. Get started with TMAs’ free webinar today.

Data Mining Reduces Fraud, Combats Waste

FraudData mining typically provides some staggering returns on investment, especially when it comes to preventing theft, fraud, and other forms of waste. For hard numbers which back up this statement one has only to look to the ways that federal, state, and local governments plan to use data mining in the near future.

The numbers came up in this article which discusses new laws allowing Medicaid Fraud Control Units to use data mining in ways that will help them spot patterns of abuse. The article also helps to demonstrate how more people and institutions are starting to embrace the useful, helpful elements of this science.

Here’s what the Office of the Inspector General had to say about the new law. Note the expected ROI for government institutions:

“The OIG said that it expects that federal and state governments will spend a collective $12.3 million on data mining activities during the next decade, activities that it predicts will help recover $71.9 million during the same period, for a total savings of $58.9 million over 10 years.”

Data mining has long been used for loss prevention purposes in the private sector, particularly in the retail industry. Sophisticated programs can help spot employee theft as well as conditions which encourage shoplifting.

Almost every organization is vulnerable to some kind of fraud or abuse, so it pays to take these two examples to heart.

If your organization is ready to unleash the incredible power of data mining then it may be time to invest in data analysis training. Start with TMA’s free webinar, then move on to other data analytics training courses.

Solving Municipal Issues with Data Analytics

ChicagoEvery city faces problems and challenges. According to Information Week: Government, Chicago is beginning to turn to basic predictive analysis to solve some of those challenges.

They’re starting small, targeting the variables that lead to garbage cart thefts. The thefts create a surprisingly large drain on city finances.

Data analysis says that the thefts are more likely to occur in areas where alley lights are broken. City officials are responding by devoting resources to these repairs.

The new data analysis system is known as “Windy Grid,” and it’s still fairly simple. Mostly, it handles simple “cause-and-effect” tests on the results of Chicago’s data collection efforts.

However, the city is working to upgrade the system in order to make it a much more useful tool, one that could potentially help Chicago solve bigger problems.

“Developing a full-blown predictive analysis capability is much more ambitious. As envisioned, the system will flag for city leaders…indicators of coming problems including those that, unlike the out-of-commission street lights, they hadn’t considered.

The goal is to apply historical analysis to predict and prevent future problems. ‘We have the bones of this,’ Goldstein says, referring to Windy Grid. The next step is ‘taking it and saying if we’re seeing this in a given neighborhood, what’s likely to happen next?’

Goldstein’s team talks of ways to prevent graffiti, rodents, and garbage cart thefts. But what about Chicago’s more serious scourges, like its alarming homicide rate…or struggling schools?

Graffiti and rodents are mere starting points, says Brenna Berman, an ex-IBMer who’s now first deputy CIO. ‘This is the approach for how this department will be part of the answer for tackling the murder rate or addressing complex emergencies like snowstorms or improving the water infrastructure,’ she says. The harder-to-solve problems will take more data and analysis of more variables, but ‘it’s the exact same story for how you figure out which water mains are going to explode this year, so that we use our limited budget to improve the water infrastructure the right way over the next 10 years.’

Every organization faces challenges, even if few organizations find themselves tackling city-sized problems. The first step in making sense of data collection efforts is to receive the appropriate training. That’s why TMA offers data analytics training courses and a free webinar to help organizations make the most of these powerful capabilities.