PLATFORMS: WizWhy runs on a Pentium 200 MHz PC running Windows NT.

BACKGROUND: ACNielsen is the largest market research firm in the world.

PROBLEM SOLVED: We needed a methodology that was able to determine rules for distinguishing different consumer segments that were identified in a market research survey. In addition, we needed the ability to forecast the consumer segment that was not in the market research survey.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: WizWhy has provided us with the necessary functionality to find rules and then make forecasts based on these rules. WizWhy does an excellent job of finding all rules. Wiz Why calculates the probability and the significance level of each rule. WizWhy can predict new cases on the basis of these discovered rules. The data of the new case can be entered manually or may be read from a specified file. WizWhy computes the value of the prediction, its conclusive probability and its significance level. These figures indicate the extent to which the element to be predicted can be relied upon as true. The program also lists the rules underlying the prediction.

STRENGTHS: WizWhy's major strengths are: ODBC capability, speed, the ability to find all rules, the ability to assign probability levels to the rules; and cost.

WEAKNESSES: WizWhy's major weaknesses are as follows:

* It does not have the ability to automate many data mining tasks--each boolean prediction must be performed separately

* The software expects the user to select parameter values
* There need to be separate minimum N values for if-then rules and if-then-not rules. If-not rules are not currently supported.

SELECTION CRITERIA: The following criteria were used to make the software selection of WizWhy:

* Runs on Windows NT
* Supports ODBC
* Speeds of the algorithm
* Reveals all rules
* Lists all rules
* Responsiveness of software vendor to make enhancements

DELIVERABLES: The major outputs are the rules and a text file containing forecasts of observations not used to generate the rules.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Vendor support has been outstanding. I have been able to communicate directly with the president of the company. WizSoft has committed to support additional functionalities that are required. They have also included our group in the beta test of the OCX version of WizWhy.

DOCUMENTATION: Documentation is fine, but it is not needed. The software is easy to understand.

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