The Chicago IBM Innovation Center regularly hosts Business Analytics events for our entire ecosystem of Business Partners, startups, academics, and more. Our most recent Business Analytics training proved to be a great example of how we as IBMers can help our local ecosystem grow and develop to respond to the challenges and opportunities of big data. The new workshop, “Introduction to Business Analytics: Hands-on with SPSS Modeler” was applauded by all attendees for its use of real world data, lively discussion, and its ability to show how business insights can be generated from big data.
I developed this free workshop after reviewing the data @DivvyBikes publicly released (http://divvybikes.com/datachallenge) for a recent contest. In analyzing the data, I learned so much about data mining and the intricacies of SPSS Modeler that I felt everyone with an interest in analytics could benefit. I decided to make the course completely hands-on; I felt the attendees could maximize their learning by manipulating the dataset themselves, although no previous data-mining or SPSS experience was required to fully participate.
The course was structured across the three types of analytics (descriptive, predictive, and prescriptive) and contained a hands-on workshop for each. Together as a class we reviewed the dataset containing almost 800,000 records, developed new variables via some Modeler functions, then graphed those variables to gain some insights. Later in the class, we performed market segmentation via cluster analysis then ran a predictive decision tree model. We finished the class by discussing what business decisions we would make if we were the CEO of Divvy.
I was overjoyed that the entire class was excited about the business insights we data mined. There was much lively discussion on the meaning of the analysis, the possibilities of future models, and the business decisions that result. The fact that this workshop used real world data made the discussions of future analysis extremely lively. In addition, the entire class was engaged for the whole day and each person left with a complete modeling stream – unusual for a hands-on technical workshop. In short, the workshop gave participants a great understanding on how a data miner could generate meaningful business insight from real world data.
If you’re interested in attending the workshop, a local IBM Innovation Center will be happy to host another. Let us know by Tweeting with hashtag #IBMdataMining or by emailing email@example.com . And if you’re in Chicago, be sure to follow @iicChicago for this and other workshops hosted by the IBM Innovation Center.