Chapter 20

Ten Useful Kinds of Analysis That Complement Data Mining

There’s an old saying: “When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” It’s common to become so comfortable with your tools that you feel reluctant to try alternatives. You can become convinced that there’s nothing your favorite tool can’t do. Beware of this sort of thinking. It puts you at risk. It may prevent you from getting the information you need, to waste your time and money, or to even damage your reputation. You don’t have to be an expert in every technique, of course, but a little knowledge about other tools and approaches can prepare you well for new challenges. This chapter introduces you to ten such approaches. Follow up these introductions by exploring the topics on your own.

Business Analysis

Business analysis is the study of business systems and processes with the aim of improving them. Business analysis can help organizations run more efficiently, comply with the law and other standards for good practices, and avoid costly missteps. Business analysts facilitate organizational change by identifying stakeholder needs and evaluating the feasibility of alternative solutions to business problems. Many are experts in information technology and organizational structure.

As a data miner, your first encounter with a business analyst might come when your organization decides to explore data mining. The business analyst might take the lead in identifying how data mining can be applied in ...

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