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April 2013, Volume 1, Number 2

Analytical modeling is both science and art

Advanced analytics won't produce an ounce of business insight without models -- the statistical and machine learning algorithms that tease patterns and relationships from data and express them as mathematical equations. The algorithms tend to be immensely complex -- mathematicians and statisticians (think data scientists) are needed to create them and then tweak the models to better fit changing business needs and conditions. But analytical modeling is not a wholly quantitative, left-brain endeavor. It's a science, certainly, but it's an art, too. The art of modeling involves selecting the right data sets, algorithms and variables and the right techniques to format data for a particular business problem. But there's more to it than model-building mechanics. No model will do any good if the business doesn't understand its results. Communicating the results to executives so they understand what the model discovered and how it can benefit the business is critical but challenging -- it's the "last mile" in the whole analytical ...

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