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Could somebody indicate to me where I can find test reports,case study or research information regarding data mining quality in relation to business intelligence reporting accuracy.

    Ask The Experts published in DMReview.com
August 26, 2002
  By Larissa Moss and Joe Oates


Could somebody indicate to me where I can find test reports, case study or research information regarding data mining quality in relation to business intelligence reporting accuracy.

I heard there are some reports available that indicate that in practice about 80 percent accuracy can be reached. While BI is used to make business decisions, these experiences make me worry.


Larissa Moss? Answer: And worry you should. If your organization can achieve 80 percent accuracy, you are fortunate because 80 percent accuracy is actually quite high. In my experience, some of the large organizations that have many old operational systems on mainframes have such enormous data quality problems that some of their most critical data elements (from a decision support perspective) have no more than 50 percent accuracy. Besides the poor quality of the data, the tremendous amount of redundancy also creates a problem for data mining. While some organizations attempt to cleanse their data and reduce the redundancy, most organizations find that effort overwhelming in time and cost; and they do little or nothing about it. Some organizations hope to find the "silver bullet" solution in a data cleansing tool. But tools cannot perform the analysis that is needed to find and diagnose the data quality problems (data domain violations are relatively unique in every organization), Data analysis is, and always will remain, a human effort; hence, the overwhelming amount of time and money. The true business impact of poor quality data has not been studied and published enough for business executives to comprehend the associated risk and exposure to their organizations. I recommend Larry English?s book: Improving Data Warehouse and Business Information Quality, John Wiley & Sons, 1999. ISBN 0-471-25383-9.

Joe Oates’ Answer: Data mining is a statistical tool. Statistics do not guarantee 100 percent accuracy. If a tool, such as data mining can provide 80 percent accuracy in prediction, that is very good. Without sophisticated statistical tools, when one guesses, the best that can be hoped for is 50 percent accuracy. In business, an organization that is 5 percent better in predicting product and market trends than their competition, enjoys a huge advantage.


For more information on related topics visit the following related portals...
Data Mining and Data Analysis.

Larissa Moss is founder and president of Method Focus Inc., a company specializing in improving the quality of business information systems. She has more than 20 years of IT experience with information asset management. Moss is coauthor of three books: Data Warehouse Project Management (Addison-Wesley, 2000), Impossible Data Warehouse Situations (Addison-Wesley, 2002) and Business Intelligence Roadmap: The Complete Project Lifecycle for Decision- Support Applications (Addison-Wesley, 2003). Moss can be reached at methodfocus@earthlink.net.

Joe Oates is an internationally known speaker, author and consultant on data warehousing. Oates has more than 30 years of experience in the successful management and technical development of business, real-time and data warehouse applications for industry and government clients. He has designed or helped design and implement more than 30 successful data warehouse projects. He can be reached at joates_48323@yahoo.com.

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