SPSS Digs Deep In the Data Mine
SPSS today released the latest version of its data mining product, Clementine 10, which the company says will significantly improve and simplify CRM efforts. Enhancements include a new feature selection algorithm, anomaly detection, the ability to incorporate Web surveys and site behavior into predictive models, and to integrate with Microsoft Excel.
The need for predictive applications and for an enterprise platform to integrate with them is becoming increasingly important, as is the need for easy-to-use products that enable companies to build more models and conduct more analysis in less time, according to Tom Khabaza, director of product marketing for SPSS. "We want as few things as possible to distract [users] from the business problem by making the whole analysis process smoother," he says.
Guy Creese, managing principal at Ballardvale Research, says that Clementine helps accomplish this task. "[This version] continues the trend to bring data mining more into the mainstream of business," he says. "Five years ago data mining was an island unto itself. You needed to be a statistician to use it. It was always somewhat difficult to integrate it with the operational business."
Some of the enhancements in Clementine 10 help make that integration possible. For example, the new feature selection algorithm lets companies understand which data attributes are relevant to a particular problem, such as predicting churn or campaign response, in one step. Anomaly detection helps find fraud or slight compliance errors, making it easier for less analytics-savvy employees to understand and help protect companies, according to Creese. Khabaza also notes the importance of integrating with Excel, which end-users are comfortable with and serves the need for ad hoc explorations of small data sets.
Beyond simplicity comes the ability to analyze different kinds of customer information, including unstructured data like Web surveys and behavior. Analyzing more than just numbers gives companies valuable information into customer attitudes as to what they are likely to do and why, Khabaza says. "A 360-degree view of the customer is an overused phrase, but it says something. The more data you have about the customer, the more insight you're going to get."
Robert Lerner, a senior analyst at Current Analysis, says SPSS's application will help companies move toward this goal. "With Clementine 10, the company is helping users boost productivity, as well as improve the ability of applications such as CRM, to deliver a 360-degree view of their customers," he said in a written statement. "[That] 360-degree view is a critical, competitive necessity for both customer service and customer segregation. Clementine has been one of the strongest data mining solutions in the market, and this version is the strongest yet and should increase SPSS's position in the market."
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