Statistics in court: the story of a dataset

Like a lot of consultants working in the analytics industry, I’ve built up an extensive portfolio of materials to illustrate different kinds of applications and approaches. Some of these consist of files and slide decks used to explain quite esoteric procedures such as TURF analysis or Partial Least Squares. However, there are certain materials that can be used to demonstrate such a wide number of statistical and predictive analytics techniques, that I’ve found myself immediately reaching for them again and again over the years. One of these is the SPSS Statistics sample dataset ‘Employee data.sav’. Most statistical software programs come […]

What’s new in IBM SPSS Statistics v26?

In April of this year, IBM released the latest version of SPSS Statistics. Version 26 introduces a number of additional analysis procedures as well as new command enhancements. If you’re an existing SPSS user and you’d like to upgrade to v26 there’s more information about how to do that here. If you’re interested in trying SPSS Statistics for the first time then do please get in touch – we’ll be happy to help.  New analytical procedures Quantile Regression In standard ‘least squares’ regression the model predictions are based on a single regression line. This line can be used to estimate the […]

Expert insight: Clifford Budge, Head of Ecommerce Data Science, major toy manufacturer

Lorna: Please could you start just by talking a little bit about your own background and how you’ve come to be working in data? Cliff: I went to university to do a mapping science degree, during which time I had a year out in industry. I worked as a surveyor for a company that was laying the cables for the first optical fibre telecommunications network in the UK. Within about six weeks of starting the job, I got access to the marketing data and thought I could use my mapping skills to create a visual representation of the sales and […]

I work for an analytics company, but I don’t want to talk about analytics

Here is an interesting confession. I work for an analytics company but I would really rather not think about or talk about analytics. Let me explain. I once worked with an operations director. He had a great team of analysts. He valued their work and was interested in the information they gave him but the mention of algorithms or spreadsheets made his eyes glaze over. When I met him for the first time he happened to be in the room where we were meeting his team. The technically-minded contingent quickly got caught up in fast-paced conversation. There was a feeling […]

Regular Expressions for IBM SPSS Modeler: performance comparison

The Regular Expressions for IBM SPSS Modeler node pack provides 4 nodes that integrate the power and flexibility of regular expression pattern matching into SPSS Modeler. However, some of these capabilities can be supported using the extension nodes built into SPSS Modeler and that begs the question – why buy the Regular Expression nodes? One obvious answer is ease of use. The extension nodes built into SPSS Modeler require expertise in either R or Python programming languages since they are general “code” nodes. Although many data scientists may already have that expertise, most people use SPSS Modeler because of its […]

Don’t overlook the value of quick wins in your analytics project

I was talking to a potential client recently who was frustrated by the lack of ‘real analysis’ happening in his organisation. He had a team of analysts working for him, most of whom were using Excel when he really wanted them to be using Python. Although we don’t generally recommend Excel for advanced analytics – see my earlier blog on this topic – it’s still a useful tool that can generate real insight and is heavily in use in many organisations. Quick wins are important This idea that ‘real analytics’ only happens if you’re using what are, for many people, […]

Expert insights: Major Lester, founder of SPSS UK talks about fifty years of SPSS

This year SPSS is 50 years old. Development started in 1965 by a team of political scientists, frustrated at how much time they had to spent on manual data cleaning before they could start their analysis. The first release was in 1968 and by the end of the 1960s SPSS was in use in over 60 universities. SPSS expanded into the UK in 1985 and Major Lester was its first employee. We spoke to him about the history of SPSS, why it’s been so successful and how he sees its future. Lorna: Could you start off just by talking to […]

Three questions to ask when reading articles about artificial intelligence

You may have noticed by now that there seem to be a couple of recurring themes in the plethora of articles and news programmes about artificial intelligence (AI). These themes can be summed up as a) “The dangers of AI” and b) “The limitations of AI”. Articles addressing the dangers of AI tend to focus on issues such as the threat of widespread job losses to AI, the possibility of inherent bias (such as racism and sexism), the lack of transparency in decisions made by AI systems and, as a result, the inability to plead your case with AI (“Computer […]

Thinking of using spreadsheets for advanced analytics? Think again.

When we’re talking to potential clients about advanced analytics we often ask them what tools they’re currently using. More often than not they say they’re using spreadsheets. Spreadsheets are one of the most widely used tools for statistical analysis and of course, most businesses couldn’t run without them. However, when it comes to advanced analytics spreadsheets have some very significant limitations. Use them beyond their capabilities and the potential cost can be significant. As with anything, it’s important to use the right tool for the job. So, what are the things you need to consider when it comes to using […]

Expert insight – Paul Jackson, Head of Advanced Analytics, Bonamy Finch

Can you tell us a bit about yourself, your background and how you came to be where you are career-wise? I started my career in 2001 at Research International’s Marketing Science Centre, following a degree in Sociology and Social Policy. Back then I was working mainly on analysis of market research surveys. Over time I built up my expertise in branding and segmentation and then joined Bonamy Finch, providers of advanced analytics services to global clients around the world, in 2007. Back then we were mainly serving clients and agencies with statistical analysis and support on surveys, mostly Segmentation, but […]

Expert insight – John Gill, Head of Insight and Analytics, Betfred

Can you start off by telling us a bit about your background, and how you came to be working in the analytics field? I came to analytics via a somewhat circuitous route. My first degree was in psychology, then I did a postgraduate qualification in newspaper journalism. Obviously psychology is all about the science of behaviour which is very relevant to the field I’m now in – analytics and gaming. Newspaper journalism has also been very useful as it’s given me an ability to communicate facts in a way that’s compelling, and that people can understand. Professionally, I started out […]

Expert insight – Nick Di Paulo, Lead Customer Researcher, Hyde Housing Group

Can you start off just by talking a little bit about your background and how you came to be working in analytics in the first place?  Yes, I did research methods at university and was experienced at using spreadsheets and things like that, and that’s where I picked up SPSS, and then I got into survey design and have been working with it for seven or eight years now. In terms of job roles, I’ve moved around quite a bit but in similar kinds of areas with a focus on not for profit, and I’m now in a Customer Insight […]

5 key trends affecting technical training provision in predictive analytics

I have been in the business of delivering software applications and solutions that have advanced and predictive analytics at their core, in one form or another, for last 25 years. In a recent conversation with colleagues we were discussing how the wider market has changed and, more specifically, how this has affected the way that people who analyse data, create predictive models and help their organisations use them go about developing their skills and keeping them up to date. It feels to us that the dramatic developments in the availability and use of technology have had an equivalent impact on […]