Common Analytical Tasks

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Some common analytical tasks from the diary of the glamorous life of a business analyst-

1) removing duplicates from a dataset based on certain key values/variables
2) merging two datasets based on a common key/variable/s
3) creating a subset based on a conditional value of a variable
4) creating a subset based on a conditional value of a time-date variable
5) changing format from one date time variable to another
6) doing a means grouped or classified at a level of aggregation
7) creating a new variable based on if then condition
8) creating a macro to run same program with different parameters
9) creating a logistic regression model, scoring dataset,
10) transforming variables
11) checking roc curves of model
12) splitting a dataset for a random sample (repeatable with random seed)
13) creating a cross tab of all variables in a dataset with one response variable
14) creating bins or ranks from a certain variable value
15) graphically examine cross tabs
16) histograms
17) plot(density())
18)creating a pie chart
19) creating a line graph, creating a bar graph
20) creating a bubbles chart
21) running a goal seek kind of simulation/optimization
22) creating a tabular report for multiple metrics grouped for one time/variable
23) creating a basic time series forecast

and some case studies I could think of-

 

As the Director, Analytics you have to examine current marketing efficiency as well as help optimize sales force efficiency across various channels. In addition you have to examine multiple sales channels including inbound telephone, outgoing direct mail, internet email campaigns. The datawarehouse is an RDBMS but it has multiple data quality issues to be checked for. In addition you need to submit your budget estimates for next year’s annual marketing budget to maximize sales return on investment.

As the Director, Risk you have to examine the overdue mortgages book that your predecessor left you. You need to optimize collections and minimize fraud and write-offs, and your efforts would be measured in maximizing profits from your department.

As a social media consultant you have been asked to maximize social media analytics and social media exposure to your client. You need to create a mechanism to report particular brand keywords, as well as automated triggers between unusual web activity, and statistical analysis of the website analytics metrics. Above all it needs to be set up in an automated reporting dashboard .

As a consultant to a telecommunication company you are asked to monitor churn and review the existing churn models. Also you need to maximize advertising spend on various channels. The problem is there are a large number of promotions always going on, some of the data is either incorrectly coded or there are interaction effects between the various promotions.

As a modeller you need to do the following-
1) Check ROC and H-L curves for existing model
2) Divide dataset in random splits of 40:60
3) Create multiple aggregated variables from the basic variables

4) run regression again and again
5) evaluate statistical robustness and fit of model
6) display results graphically
All these steps can be broken down in little little pieces of code- something which i am putting down a list of.
Are there any common data analysis tasks that you think I am missing out- any common case studies ? let me know.

 

 

 

Interview Ajay Ohri Decisionstats.com with DMR

From-

http://www.dataminingblog.com/data-mining-research-interview-ajay-ohri/

Here is the winner of the Data Mining Research People Award 2010: Ajay Ohri! Thanks to Ajay for giving some time to answer Data Mining Research questions. And all the best to his blog, Decision Stat!

Data Mining Research (DMR): Could you please introduce yourself to the readers of Data Mining Research?

Ajay Ohri (AO): I am a business consultant and writer based out of Delhi- India. I have been working in and around the field of business analytics since 2004, and have worked with some very good and big companies primarily in financial analytics and outsourced analytics. Since 2007, I have been writing my blog at http://decisionstats.com which now has almost 10,000 views monthly.

All in all, I wrote about data, and my hobby is also writing (poetry). Both my hobby and my profession stem from my education ( a masters in business, and a bachelors in mechanical engineering).

My research interests in data mining are interfaces (simpler interfaces to enable better data mining), education (making data mining less complex and accessible to more people and students), and time series and regression (specifically ARIMAX)
In business my research interests software marketing strategies (open source, Software as a service, advertising supported versus traditional licensing) and creation of technology and entrepreneurial hubs (like Palo Alto and Research Triangle, or Bangalore India).

DMR: I know you have worked with both SAS and R. Could you give your opinion about these two data mining tools?

AO: As per my understanding, SAS stands for SAS language, SAS Institute and SAS software platform. The terms are interchangeably used by people in industry and academia- but there have been some branding issues on this.
I have not worked much with SAS Enterprise Miner , probably because I could not afford it as business consultant, and organizations I worked with did not have a budget for Enterprise Miner.
I have worked alone and in teams with Base SAS, SAS Stat, SAS Access, and SAS ETS- and JMP. Also I worked with SAS BI but as a user to extract information.
You could say my use of SAS platform was mostly in predictive analytics and reporting, but I have a couple of projects under my belt for knowledge discovery and data mining, and pattern analysis. Again some of my SAS experience is a bit dated for almost 1 year ago.

I really like specific parts of SAS platform – as in the interface design of JMP (which is better than Enterprise Guide or Base SAS ) -and Proc Sort in Base SAS- I guess sequential processing of data makes SAS way faster- though with computing evolving from Desktops/Servers to even cheaper time shared cloud computers- I am not sure how long Base SAS and SAS Stat can hold this unique selling proposition.

I dislike the clutter in SAS Stat output, it confuses me with too much information, and I dislike shoddy graphics in the rendering output of graphical engine of SAS. Its shoddy coding work in SAS/Graph and if JMP can give better graphics why is legacy source code preventing SAS platform from doing a better job of it.

I sometimes think the best part of SAS is actually code written by Goodnight and Sall in 1970’s , the latest procs don’t impress me much.

SAS as a company is something I admire especially for its way of treating employees globally- but it is strange to see the rest of tech industry not following it. Also I don’t like over aggression and the SAS versus Rest of the Analytics /Data Mining World mentality that I sometimes pick up when I deal with industry thought leaders.

I think making SAS Enterprise Miner, JMP, and Base SAS in a completely new web interface priced at per hour rates is my wishlist but I guess I am a bit sentimental here- most data miners I know from early 2000’s did start with SAS as their first bread earning software. Also I think SAS needs to be better priced in Business Intelligence- it seems quite cheap in BI compared to Cognos/IBM but expensive in analytical licensing.

If you are a new stats or business student, chances are – you may know much more R than SAS today. The shift in education at least has been very rapid, and I guess R is also more of a platform than a analytics or data mining software.

I like a lot of things in R- from graphics, to better data mining packages, modular design of software, but above all I like the can do kick ass spirit of R community. Lots of young people collaborating with lots of young to old professors, and the energy is infectious. Everybody is a CEO in R ’s world. Latest data mining algols will probably start in R, published in journals.

Which is better for data mining SAS or R? It depends on your data and your deadline. The golden rule of management and business is -it depends.

Also I have worked with a lot of KXEN, SQL, SPSS.

DMR: Can you tell us more about Decision Stats? You have a traffic of 120′000 for 2010. How did you reach such a success?

AO: I don’t think 120,000 is a success. Its not a failure. It just happened- the more I wrote, the more people read.In 2007-2008 I used to obsess over traffic. I tried SEO, comments, back linking, and I did some black hat experimental stuff. Some of it worked- some didn’t.

In the end, I started asking questions and interviewing people. To my surprise, senior management is almost always more candid , frank and honest about their views while middle managers, public relations, marketing folks can be defensive.

Social Media helped a bit- Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook really helped my network of friends who I suppose acted as informal ambassadors to spread the word.
Again I was constrained by necessity than choices- my middle class finances ( I also had a baby son in 2007-my current laptop still has some broken keys :) – by my inability to afford traveling to conferences, and my location Delhi isn’t really a tech hub.

The more questions I asked around the internet, the more people responded, and I wrote it all down.

I guess I just was lucky to meet a lot of nice people on the internet who took time to mentor and educate me.

I tried building other websites but didn’t succeed so i guess I really don’t know. I am not a smart coder, not very clever at writing but I do try to be honest.

Basic economics says pricing is proportional to demand and inversely proportional to supply. Honest and candid opinions have infinite demand and an uncertain supply.

DMR: There is a rumor about a R book you plan to publish in 2011 :-) Can you confirm the rumor and tell us more?

AO: I just signed a contract with Springer for ” R for Business Analytics”. R is a great software, and lots of books for statistically trained people, but I felt like writing a book for the MBAs and existing analytics users- on how to easily transition to R for Analytics.

Like any language there are tricks and tweaks in R, and with a focus on code editors, IDE, GUI, web interfaces, R’s famous learning curve can be bent a bit.

Making analytics beautiful, and simpler to use is always a passion for me. With 3000 packages, R can be used for a lot more things and a lot more simply than is commonly understood.
The target audience however is business analysts- or people working in corporate environments.

Brief Bio-
Ajay Ohri has been working in the field of analytics since 2004 , when it was a still nascent emerging Industries in India. He has worked with the top two Indian outsourcers listed on NYSE,and with Citigroup on cross sell analytics where he helped sell an extra 50000 credit cards by cross sell analytics .He was one of the very first independent data mining consultants in India working on analytics products and domestic Indian market analytics .He regularly writes on analytics topics on his web site www.decisionstats.com and is currently working on open source analytical tools like R besides analytical software like SPSS and SAS.

2010 in review and WP-Stats

The following is an auto generated post thanks to WordPress.com stats team- clearly they have got some stuff wrong

1) Defining the speedometer quantitatively

2) The busiest day numbers are plain wrong ( 2 views ??)

3) There is still no geographic data in WordPress -com stats (unlike Google Analytics) and I cant enable Google Analytics on a wordpress.com hosted site.

 

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 97,000 times in 2010. If it were an exhibit at The Louvre Museum, it would take 4 days for that many people to see it.

 

In 2010, there were 367 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 1191 posts. There were 411 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 121mb. That’s about 1 pictures per day.

The busiest day of the year was September 22nd with 2 views. The most popular post that day was Top 10 Graphical User Interfaces in Statistical Software.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were r-bloggers.com, reddit.com, rattle.togaware.com, twitter.com, and Google Reader.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for libre office, facebook analytics, test drive a chrome notebook, test drive a chrome notebook., and wps sas lawsuit.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Top 10 Graphical User Interfaces in Statistical Software April 2010
8 comments and 1 Like on WordPress.com,

2

Wealth = function (numeracy, memory recall) December 2009
1 Like on WordPress.com,

3

Matlab-Mathematica-R and GPU Computing September 2010
1 Like on WordPress.com,

4

About DecisionStats July 2008

5

The Top Statistical Softwares (GUI) May 2010
1 comment and 1 Like on WordPress.com,

R Journal Dec 2010 and R for Business Analytics

A Bold GNU Head
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I almost missed out on the R Journal for this month- great reading,

and I liked Dr Hadley’s article on stringr package the best. Really really useful package and nice writing too

http://journal.r-project.org/archive/2010-2/RJournal_2010-2_Wickham.pdf

(incidentally I just downloaded a local copy of his ggplot website at http://had.co.nz/ggplot2/ggplot-static.zip

I aim to really read that one up

Okay, announcement time

I just signed a contract with Springer for a book on R, some what in first half of 2011

” R for Business Analytics

its going to be a more business analytics than a stats perspective ( I am a MBA /Mech Engineer)

and use cases would be business analytics cases. Do write to me if you need help doing some analytics in R (business use cases)- or want something featured. Big focus would be on GUI and easier analytics, using the Einsteinian principle to make things as simple as possible but no simpler)

Who searches for this Blog?

Statue of Michael Jackson in Eindhoven, the Ne...
Image via Wikipedia

Using WP- Stats I set about answering this question-

What search keywords lead here-

Clearly Michael Jackson is down this year

And R GUI, Data Mining is up.

How does that affect my writing- given I get almost 250 visitors by search engines alone daily- assume I write nothing on this blog from now on.

It doesnt- I still write what ever code or poem that comes to my mind. So it is hurtful people misunderstimate the effort in writing and jump to conclusions (esp if I write about a company- I am not on payroll of that company- just like if  I write about a poem- I am not a full time poet)

Over to xkcd

All Time (for Decisionstats.Wordpress.com)

Search Views
libre office 818
facebook analytics 806
michael jackson history 240
wps sas lawsuit 180
r gui 168
wps sas 154
wordle.net 118
sas wps 116
decision stats 110
sas wps lawsuit 100
google maps jet ski 94
data mining 88
doug savage 72
hive tutorial 63
spss certification 63
hadley wickham 63
google maps jetski 62
sas sues wps 60
decisionstats 58
donald farmer microsoft 45
libreoffice 44
wps statistics 44
best statistics software 42
r gui ubuntu 41
rstat 37
tamilnadu advanced technical training institute tatti 37

YTD

2009-11-24 to Today

Search Views
libre office 818
facebook analytics 781
wps sas lawsuit 170
r gui 164
wps sas 125
wordle.net 118
sas wps 101
sas wps lawsuit 95
google maps jet ski 94
data mining 86
decision stats 82
doug savage 63
hadley wickham 63
google maps jetski 62
hive tutorial 56
donald farmer microsoft 45

Data Visualization using Tableau

Image representing Tableau Software as depicte...
Image via CrunchBase

Here is a great piece of software for data visualization– the public version is free.

And you can use it for Desktop Analytics as well as BI /server versions at very low cost.

About Tableau Software

http://www.tableausoftware.com/press_release/tableau-massive-growth-hiring-q3-2010

Tableau was named by Software Magazine as the fastest growing software company in the $10 million to $30 million range in the world, and the second fastest growing software company worldwide overall. The ranking stems from the publication’s 28th annual Software 500 ranking of the world’s largest software service providers.

“We’re growing fast because the market is starving for easy-to-use products that deliver rapid-fire business intelligence to everyone. Our customers want ways to unlock their databases and produce engaging reports and dashboards,” said Christian Chabot CEO and co-founder of Tableau.

http://www.tableausoftware.com/about/who-we-are

History in the Making

Put together an Academy-Award winning professor from the nation’s most prestigious university, a savvy business leader with a passion for data, and a brilliant computer scientist. Add in one of the most challenging problems in software – making databases and spreadsheets understandable to ordinary people. You have just recreated the fundamental ingredients for Tableau.

The catalyst? A Department of Defense (DOD) project aimed at increasing people’s ability to analyze information and brought to famed Stanford professor, Pat Hanrahan. A founding member of Pixar and later its chief architect for RenderMan, Pat invented the technology that changed the world of animated film. If you know Buzz and Woody of “Toy Story”, you have Pat to thank.

Under Pat’s leadership, a team of Stanford Ph.D.s got together just down the hall from the Google folks. Pat and Chris Stolte, the brilliant computer scientist, realized that data visualization could produce large gains in people’s ability to understand information. Rather than analyzing data in text form and then creating visualizations of those findings, Pat and Chris invented a technology called VizQL™ by which visualization is part of the journey and not just the destination. Fast analytics and visualization for everyone was born.

While satisfying the DOD project, Pat and Chris met Christian Chabot, a former data analyst who turned into Jello when he saw what had been invented. The three formed a company and spun out of Stanford like so many before them (Yahoo, Google, VMWare, SUN). With Christian on board as CEO, Tableau rapidly hit one success after another: its first customer (now Tableau’s VP, Operations, Tom Walker), an OEM deal with Hyperion (now Oracle), funding from New Enterprise Associates, a PC Magazine award for “Product of the Year” just one year after launch, and now over 50,000 people in 50+ countries benefiting from the breakthrough.

also see http://www.tableausoftware.com/about/leadership

http://www.tableausoftware.com/about/board

—————————————————————————-

and now  a demo I ran on the Kaggle contest data (it is a csv dataset with 95000 rows)

I found Tableau works extremely good at pivoting data and visualizing it -almost like Excel on  Steroids. Download the free version here ( I dont know about an academic program (see links below) but software is not expensive at all)

http://buy.tableausoftware.com/

Desktop Personal Edition

The Personal Edition is a visual analysis and reporting solution for data stored in Excel, MS Access or Text Files. Available via download.

Product Information

$999*

Desktop Professional Edition

The Professional Edition is a visual analysis and reporting solution for data stored in MS SQL Server, MS Analysis Services, Oracle, IBM DB2, Netezza, Hyperion Essbase, Teradata, Vertica, MySQL, PostgreSQL, Firebird, Excel, MS Access or Text Files. Available via download.

Product Information

$1800*

Tableau Server

Tableau Server enables users of Tableau Desktop Professional to publish workbooks and visualizations to a server where users with web browsers can access and interact with the results. Available via download.

Product Information

Contact Us

* Price is per Named User and includes one year of maintenance (upgrades and support). Products are made available as a download immediately after purchase. You may revisit the download site at any time during your current maintenance period to access the latest releases.