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Making Sense of Data: A Practical Guide to Exploratory Data Analysis and Data Mining by Glenn J. Myatt

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2.2 OBJECTIVES

It is critical to spend time defining how the project will impact specific business objectives. This assessment is one of the key factors to achieving a successful data analysis/data mining project. Any technical implementation details are secondary to the definition of the business objective. Success criteria for the project should be defined. These criteria should be specific and measurable as well as related to the business objective. For example, the project should increase revenue or reduce costs by a specific amount.

A broad description of the project is useful as a headline. However, this description should be divided into smaller problems that ultimately solve the broader issue. For example, a general problem may be defined as: “Make recommendations to improve sales on the web site.” This question may be further broken down into questions that can be answered using the data such as:

  1. Identify categories of web site users (on the basis of demographic information) that are more likely to purchase from the web site.
  2. Categorize users of the web site on the basis of usage information.
  3. Determine if there are any relationships between buying patterns and web site usage patterns.

All those working on the project as well as other interested parties should have a clear understanding of what problems are to be addressed. It should also be possible to answer each problem using the data. To make this assessment, it is important to understand what the collection of all ...

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