In This Chapter
Figuring out how you use data mining
Discovering data mining techniques
Keeping data mining stats by using algorithms
Finding data mining products
The distinguishing characteristic about data mining, as compared with querying, reporting, or even OLAP, is that you can get information without having to ask specific questions.
Data mining serves two primary roles in your business intelligence mission:
The "Tell me what might happen" role: The first role of data mining is predictive, in which you basically say, "Tell me what might happen." Using hidden knowledge locked away in your data warehouse, probabilities and the likelihood of future trends and occurrences are ferreted out and presented to you.
The "Tell me something interesting" role: In addition to possible future events and occurrences, data mining also tries to pull out interesting information that you probably should know about, such as a particularly unusual relationship between sales of two different products and how that relationship varies according to placement in your retail stores. Although many of these interesting tidbits are likely to exist, what questions would you ask if you were using a querying or OLAP tool, and how would you interpret the results? Data mining assists you in this arduous task of figuring out what questions to ask by doing much of the grunt work for you.
Data mining is particularly suited ...