Company data are some of the company’s most valuable assets. Such data as customer and vendor lists and financial transactions are collected routinely and are critical to a company’s operations. The data is used to show how the company is performing financially and in other important ways. Company changes are based on decisions driven by what the data shows.
A key to company success is making changes based on what the data shows. A primary responsibility of the company accountant is to analyze financial data for conclusions about needed changes. Others in the company depend on company data to complete their tasks and to make decisions.
For these and other reasons, the company’s data is one of its most valuable assets. The company would be wise to improve the use of this asset by thinking about new ways of using the data it collects and of looking for what may be in the data that provide important decision-making insights, but which has gone and can easily go unnoticed.
Data mining is a method of looking for what may be in the company data that provide important decision-making insights but which has gone and can easily go unnoticed. Two websites provide good overviews of data mining. At a Federal Reserve Bank of Boston site, Miriam Wasserman has an article giving examples of data mining use. The Center for Data Insight at Northern Arizona University has an article entitled “A Perspective on Data Mining” that delves deeper into what data mining is and its use. Both of these articles are dated but still provide some basics of data mining that continue to be true. Click here and here (PDF file) to go to these articles.
Although data mining can involve a lot of resources in large companies, Microsoft has developed add-in technology for use with Excel that should make data mining more simple and double for a smaller company. You can read more about the Microsoft’s data mining product by clicking here. From this site, you can watch videos on the use of Excel and the data mining add-in. Whitepapers are also available from this site on Excel and data mining. YouTube has several videos on using Excel for data mining. Search on “Excel data mining” at YouTube.