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October 2016, Volume 4, Number 5

Mastering descriptive data analysis yields better predictions

Big data and business analytics may not be considered ubiquitous quite yet, but they are getting there. Total big data revenues over the past several years have grown exponentially and will approach $50 billion by 2017, according to business technology consultancy Wikibon. Forbes cited a 2015 Capgemini global study predicting a 56% increase in big data investments over three years. And Computer Science Corp. estimates data production overall by 2020 will be 44 times what it was in 2009. The analytics needed to work with all of that data is growing just as fast. But analytics comes in many flavors, with the descriptive and predictive varieties being the biggest and most useful. Yet, of the two, descriptive is embraced far more by businesses than predictive. Today, 90% of organizations use some form of descriptive analytics, which includes methods of mining historical data as well as real-time streams to extract useful facts to explain the data. The functions employed by descriptive data analysis include social analytics, ...

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