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Wouldn't You Like to Predict the Future?

by Dave Hannon

April 6, 2012

By Dave Hannon


"Predictive Analysis."

That was the term that stuck in my mind this week as I was reading SAP's announcement about its new solution, SAP BusinessObjects Predictive Analysis. As IDC's Dan Vesset, vice president, Business Analytics solutions, points out in the press release, "Predictive capabilities help businesses explore and identify the opportunities and risks hiding in the sea of all that big data." The business case for this exciting technology is clear.

But what about BEYOND business? When you really think about it, there are a number of applications outside of the business world for predictive analytics. Wouldn't you like to know if your home value was going to rise or fall this year? Or your taxes? Each year we try to figure out if home heating oil prices are going to rise or fall before locking in a contract.

What about your health? Wouldn't you benefit from knowing the likelihood of your being diagnosed with diabetes based on family history and your current diet and lifestyle? (For an intriguing look at predictive analytics in healthcare, read this paper from Zementis, a Sybase partner).

Even predicting simple things like knowing if the concert you hope to see this summer is likely to sell out would make your life easier, right? 

While many of us are focused on the business case f or predictive analytics, I think this concept and/or technology is going to be much bigger than that. While it's the enterprise application that's driving development right now, I think it will follow the trend of other technologies and find its way into our daily lives. When you first used email was it for business or personal use? The mobile revolution we're all enjoying was really born in the enterprise with the Blackberry before it was embraced by the consumer. I think predictive analytics will be no different.

What do you think? Do you see other applications for predictive analytics in our daily lives? And how will that affect the enterprise solutions in this area?

And speaking of predicting the future, in the new issue of insiderPROFILES, we've included a case study on NVIDIA's work to improve its inventory forecasts significantly. It might not be predictive analytics, but it's a step on that path with real bottom line impact. 

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