The Future Of Forecasting
Indeed, there's no stopping the proliferation of predictive analytics apps. It will be up to the people who deploy the technology to do so responsibly. Ultimately, predictive analytics could be used to mine unstructured content across the Internet, which the University of Rhode Island's Hamel calls "the largest text database on the planet."
Predictive analytics remains an analyst-intensive undertaking, but in the future it will be built into business processes, shortening the distance between analysis and actions, says Chid Apte, senior manager of data analytics at IBM Research. IBM is studying ways to embed predictive analysis into service-oriented architecture apps so that businesses can act immediately on the results.
"Predictive analytics is going to become more operational," says Scott Burk, senior statistician and technical lead for marketing analytics at Overstock.com, which predicts demand for specific products at specific prices using a Teradata-based data warehouse, Teradata Warehouse Miner, and models built using Kxen tools. The online retailer uses that information to manage its inventory. Says Burk, "We're definitely doing things a lot smarter than we were six months ago."
So the past really can be used to predict the future. And all arrows are pointing in one direction: Your company will be doing it, too.
Illustration by Steven Noble
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