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Applying Analytics is Broader than You Think

Big data cloud

The word analytics is floating everywhere these days. It's unavoidable if you work in an industry that uses a lot of mathematics, simulation, modeling, statistics, numerical analysis, and a broad range of information technology-based solutions. But what if you don't? What if you're a law firm? A plumbing supply store? A small manufacturer?

If you're not surrounded by numbers all day every day, you might think you have no need for analytics and the need to harness and analyze your data. These words may mean nothing to you by themselves. But it's surprising how new insights can arise from applying advanced techniques in places of your business where they haven't been applied before.

  • A law firm might use data mining to predict what times of year different types of cases come in to assist in planning workloads for staff with different skills. For example, they might find patterns in their customer data indicating more divorce cases come in the several months after taxes are due, requiring a surge in the associated legal skill set.

  • A supply store can use predictive modeling to fit a broad range of forecasting algorithms to their demands. The better they predict demand, the smarter decisions they can make about inventory and ordering—saving time, saving money, and potentially reducing lost money on stock that doesn't move.

  • A small manufacturer can do statistical analysis of equipment breakdowns vs. line speed. They might find that increasing line speed to try to increase output actually decreases output because it causes more machine breakdowns and maintenance requirements.

In a recent case, CANA had the opportunity to investigate intellectual property protection for a manufacturer of specialty products. Intellectual property protection relates strongly to information security, which is ripe for analytics. Predictive models help call out unusual behavior in shared drive file access, internet access from outside countries, or even employee behavior with badging in and out of a building or room. These help increase security and information protection, and protect overall profits.

"Analytics" is one of those buzzwords that is so prevalent right now you may wish you never hear it again. But look beyond the buzzword to the types of business intelligence you could gain from digging into your data, and you might be surprised at the opportunities. Our CANA team would be delighted to join you in the dig. We want to hear your comments on how your organization is using analytics, and we encourage you to give us a call at 703-317-7178 or comment for more information on how we can join forces.

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