Data. It’s something that everybody has and everybody wants more of.
Over time, the amount of data in the universe has piled up in huge amounts, with more and more being added to the pile every day. Now, the term Big Data is being used to describe data that is extremely vast and cannot be easily measured.
Every company needs data to function- whether it’s based on customer reception to a product or service, or client-based information or data within your own system. Sometimes it is freely available and easy to get, but sometimes you have to dig a little deeper. Usually, a data scientist or analyst is hired to do the job of digging up data.
But the truth is anybody can do it. You don’t necessarily have to be a data scientist to do the job. This is where the concept of data mining steps in.
In simple terms, data mining is a way to extract useful data from a large pile of raw data. It also involves checking or analyzing patterns in the data you’re collecting, using various kinds of tools and software.
You could use a tool like a web crawler software, for example, to extract the data you’re looking for.
Let’s take a look at the various other tools you could use to mine data.
Tools Used to my Data
Data mining software can either be an open source or a paid mining tool. Now, an open source tool is freely available, sure, but you might need to have the good coding knowledge to use it. The paid tools are a lot easier to use and give you immediate results. There several out there to choose from, but it’s important to choose one that meets your needs.
Understand what kind of data you need before you move ahead. If you’re going to go for data from your own system, then you can probably go ahead without expecting trouble. But if you need to go for data outside, then you might have to use a proxy server to cover up your footprints.
Now that you’ve chosen a tool and understood what kind of data you need, it’s time to take a look into the actual mining process.
Mining for Patterns
As mentioned before, the most important part of mining data is looking for a set of patterns.
There are various kinds of pattern. Some common ones are Association Learning Patterns, Anomaly, and Cluster Detection.
Association Learning consists of looking for patterns where you find items that are often bought together. Let’s say a man wants to buy a mobile phone, he might also want to buy a phone cover or a memory card. You find out which items customers usually buy together and then offer it next time a customer chooses the item.
Anomaly pattern is when there is a complete deviation from the usual selections. A Cluster pattern is when you categorize a customer under one cluster that has the same buying patterns. This helps predict what they usually buy and offer something along the same line.
Hence Data Mining is an important tool for businesses to understand their customers and for several other measures like database marketing and upselling their products.