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Going Green with Data Mining

for problems like store site location, direct marketing, CRM and traveling salesmen, data mining can have a "green" impact.


By Tim Graettinger, PhD., Discovery Corps

Green fields Are you and your company "going green"? As the 2010 decade rolls along, more individuals and firms are taking steps to reduce their carbon footprints: switching to compact fluorescents for lighting, turning off idle computers, and recycling printer cartridges, to name a few. What about data mining - can it contribute to these efforts to have a positive effect on the environment?" My answer is an unequivocal "yes", and in this article, you'll learn the reasons why. We'll explore a sampler platter of data mining applications that can benefit you, your company, your employees, your clients, your prospects - and your planet, too.

If You Build It, Will They Come?

Let's start with a data mining application that is particularly relevant if you are a retailer, or if you have multiple facilities where customers come to shop, work out, receive medical treatment, or otherwise obtain products or services. For several years, I've worked with such businesses, and the questions they all face are similar:

  • "Are we in the right locations?"
  • "Where should we open a new site?"
  • "How big should it be?"
  • "Which existing sites should be closed?"
  • "Which sites should be relocated to bigger/smaller facilities?"
Data mining (DM) can help answer these questions. Using a combination of geographic, demographic, and behavioral information for existing customers and sites, DM can estimate how many people will come to a new location, how many will switch from an existing one, and the like.

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