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What’s The Best Data Mining Tool?

TooMuchSoftware“What’s the best data mining tool?” This question comes up a lot at TMA webinars.

It’s a natural enough question to ask. It’s not unusual to believe that the right piece of software will produce the great results that you are hoping for.

However, getting fixated on the software is a very common mistake. It’s one of the most common data analytics mistakes that you can make! That’s because data analytics isn’t about the software.

In fact, most organizations don’t need to spend a dime on software. They already have exactly what they need.

For example, sometimes you can get the job done with an Excel spreadsheet. Just Excel, without any add-ons, bells, or whistles.

You need to focus on growing your skills, abilities,and mindset. Doing so will teach you the right tool for the task. A concert pianist is not his piano, and a painter is not a paintbrush. Either may invest in really good tools when the time comes, but when they do they do so with an eye towards a specific end result.

Does this mean you should never purchase data analytics software?

Of course not. A piece of software that’s solely meant for data and predictive analytics still offers advantages, if you know how to use those advantages.

For example, a piece of data analytics software can make you more efficient as you work with your data, allowing you to run 20, 30, maybe even 50 operations at a time if that’s what you need to do in order to meet your objectives.

Second, software can broaden your data capabilities. That’s not a bad thing…if you need broader capabilities to achieve the objectives that you are trying to achieve.

What to Do Before You Purchase Any Software

Start small. There are plenty of open-source alternatives out there if you feel like your existing software packages just won’t get the job done.

Using open-source alternatives allows you to run pilot projects. These pilot projects can help you understand what can and can’t be done with your data and can give you a better understanding of how you can put that data to its best possible use.

After you’ve taken this step you’ll be in a better position to evaluate whether or not any given software package will offer the best possible ROI.

Why? Because you’ll actually know what you need.

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