Pentaho on big data -- George Clooney, margarine divorces & the Cheesecake Factory

Forrester analyst Mike Gaultieri always gives one of the most colourful presentations at the PentahoWorld conference and exhibition every year.

Last year’s George Costanza story is linked here.

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George Clooney

Gualtieri this year at PentahoWorld 2015 reminded us that the number one (and two reason) for doing data analytics is to improve customer relationships — hold that thought in mind for a second.

So imagine George Clooney walks into the Cheesecake Factory restaurant.

Although most of us would be handed the same standard menu that every consumer gets when they enter this franchise, we can imagine that if George Clooney walked in… he would get special treatment based on who he is.

Like any celebrity, his preferences and likes might be reasonably well known to the public in magazines and/or on the Internet.

The point is… big data analytics allows firms to treat EVERYONE as if they were a celebrity.

Although no firm can know everything about each person, we can use analytics to fill in the blanks and start to work in information on weather, location, time and date, popular social trends etc.

The opportunity now exists for big data analytics to start creating enough knowledge about every consumer that we get to a point where new (as Forrester’s Gaultieri calls it) hyper-personal real-time relationships are enabled with every consumer.

This is where predictive analytics starts to come online… and predictive models are about possibilities, not absolutes. – and accurate predictive models may not even exist for every question.

Lessons from margarine

But let’s remember that correlation does not always imply causation — for example, the divorce rate in Maine is directly linked to the per capita consumption of margarine in the USA — so two seemingly congruent data sets might follow each other for no logical reason at all.

The lesson is to love big data analytics, but never place blind faith in it without knowing what its context is.

Image credit: I can’t believe it’s not butter