NCDM Notes: Pragmatic Analytics

Presented by Portrait and AAA South

Overwhelming amounts of data combined with rapid growth (especially in unstructured data) makes our job difficult: difficult to gather isight and difficult to implement chages once we have insight.  We also need to make sure we are solving the right problem, and not waisting time on results which are not actionable.

Analysts need to minimize time required to understand and prepare the data: tasks that are necessary before any analytics or modeling can be started. 

There are a couple of solutions:

First, create analytical tables that summarize and aggregate data that is now manually pre-processed.  AAA builds a big table that aggregates data at the household level.  It icludes activity summaries (could be transactional and promotional), prefereces, and  demographics.  For AAA this includes about 150 colums, with some colums updated weekly and some monthly.

AAA uses SAS to create this analytical table, but Portrait could do this too.  AAA is moving towards having Portrait create the analytical table.  This table is kept on its own server that the analytics department controls, unlike the primary DB surver (DB2), which MIS controls.

This more structred data table allowed AAA to help managers do some analytics theselves.

Second, use tools that ease the analytical and modeling process.  AAA uses Portrait software.  The output AAA uses is a matrix of various segment intersections, which simplifies the understand of how each segment will perform; it shows how each element in the matrix will perform relative to the norm.

These two efforts shortened AAA’s modeling process from 5 months to 2 months.

Take-away: Modeling can be easy.  You only need the right structure and tools.

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