Data mining can play a key role in developing business strategy and is a fundamental and compelling factor for justifying, designing and building intelligent data warehouses. The transition from data mining buzz to practical implementation, however, has been slow to come although it is quickly gaining momentum. There are many reasons why it has taken time for the technology to take off. First, it is extremely powerful, and companies are reticent to adopt a technology without the core competency to utilize it. Second, there is an enormous cultural shift that comes with automating and integrating application intelligence into the decision-making process. Third, the technology has been somewhat raw and geared toward analytics researchers and experts, not necessarily toward mainstream business. In the last few years, companies have been quietly adopting data mining with success. What is the essential difference that has caused acceptance and usage of the technology? First, vendors have become proactive in teaming up with universities and consulting groups to provide the massive education required to bring business and IT up to speed. Second, vendors are tuning into the natural marriage of warehousing and mining and are developing more robust architectures that take advantage of warehousing as the enabling infrastructure for enterprise mining. Third, both vendors and consulting groups have been packaging data mining into software and processes, respectively, enshrouding the raw horsepower with sleek, application-oriented, user-friendly systems. Fourth, the competitive urgency is overshadowing the tendency to watch and wait.

With company mission statements focused on "customer- centric" objectives, it is becoming critical to organize and manage processes from the customer perspective. Data mining is a powerful ally in aligning business strategies to acquiring, retaining and growing customers. The best asset available to organizations in realigning business processes to the customer perspective is internal historical data integrated with external demographic and psychographic data. Building warehouses with mining at the heart brings a streamlined focus to design and content and delivers immediate exploitative capability to warehouse users.

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