By Bill Franks, Jun 08, 2017
Artificial intelligence is one of the hottest topics in analytics today. Currently the most popular member of the AI family, deep learning is solving some very difficult problems very well. Best known for image recognition, it is now being applied to a wide range of other problems. Given the success of the approach, it is easy to forgive people for thinking that deep learning is incredibly intelligent. However, once you dig into deep learning, you’ll find that as opposed to being a generally brilliant algorithm akin to Albert Einstein, it is much more akin to a savant like the famous movie character from Rain Man.
By Bill Franks, May 18, 2017
Any new leader in any field will have to face several challenges in the first few months on the job if he or she is to succeed. On May 11, IIA hosted a webinar where co-founder Tom Davenport and I discussed some of the challenges analytics leaders face and what they can do to ensure success. While the action steps apply broadly, we focused on how they apply specifically within the realm of analytics. This blog explores the key themes at a high level.
By Bill Franks, May 11, 2017
There have been many science fiction stories (as well as video games!) that revolve around the tradeoffs between powerful, strong, hard to harm combatants and those that are small, nimble, but easy to harm. Both have their merits and both can be useful in different situations. However, the same profile doesn’t work best in every situation.
By Bill Franks, Apr 13, 2017
As I write this, I am finishing a major leg of my personal analytics journey. As many readers are likely aware, I will be leaving Teradata this month. I had a terrific 14-year run with Teradata where I made a lot of friends, worked with some amazing clients, and got to witness firsthand how the world’s largest organizations have dealt with the rise of big data and analytics. Teradata treated me well and I like to think that I, in turn, contributed a lot to the company. It wasn’t an easy decision to leave, but I came across a great opportunity and every good run has to end at some point.
By Bill Franks, Mar 09, 2017
It used to be that a doctor was a doctor for the most part. Even a century ago, unless you lived in a large city, people likely had a town doctor who handled most every type of ailment and guided most any type of treatment. Given the limited medical knowledge and lack of sophisticated treatment options during this time, these generalists could often provide a level of care that was comparable to the best available. Today, that is no longer true in medicine and a similar trend is playing out in analytics.
By Bill Franks, Feb 09, 2017
Last month, I wrote about why simply making predictions isn’t enough to drive value with analytics. I made the case that behind stories of failed analytic initiatives, there is often a lack of action to take the predictions and turn them into something valuable. It ends up that identifying and then taking the right action often leads to additional requirements for even more complex analyses beyond the initial effort to get to the predictions! Let’s explore what that means.
By Bill Franks, Jan 12, 2017
Almost by definition, advanced analytics or data science initiatives involve applying some type of algorithm to data in order to find patterns. These algorithms are typically then used to generate one or more of the following: Predictions about future events. For example, who is most likely to respond to a given offer? Forecasts of future results. For example, what sales can we expect from the upcoming promotion? Simulations of various scenarios. For example, what will happen if I shift some of my budget from paid search to television advertising?
By Bill Franks, Dec 08, 2016
Most people think that in the age of big data, we always have more than enough information to build robust analytics. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. In fact, there are situations where even massive amounts of data still don’t enable even basic predictions to be made with confidence. In many cases, there isn’t much that can be done other than to recognize the facts and stick to the basics instead of getting fancy. This challenge of big data that can’t be used to predict seems like an impossible paradox at first, but let’s explore why it isn’t.
By Bill Franks, Nov 10, 2016
As analytics are embedded more and more deeply into processes and systems that we interact with, they now directly impact us far more than in the past. No longer constrained to providing marketing offers or assessing the risk of a credit application, analytics are beginning to make truly life and death decisions in areas as diverse as autonomous vehicles and healthcare. These developments necessitate that attention is given to the ethical and legal frameworks required to account for today’s analytic capabilities.
By Bill Franks, Oct 13, 2016
I recently had someone ask me, “For years we’ve talked about changing analytics from 80% data prep and 20% analytics to 20% data prep and 80% analytics, yet we still seem stuck with 80% data prep. Why is that?” It is a very good question about a very real issue that causes many people frustration.