Twelve years ago we were deep into updating our aging automation system when our boss announced he needed a performance edge, and that it would come from data mining. Data Mining held the promise of segmenting populations into their “natural” groups so we could address them better, and even more promising, the ability to predict the future so that we could be proactive, instead of reactive.
It all sounded very science fiction, and I was at once both impressed and skeptical since I had no idea how it could deliver on these promises. At the time I was the Project Management Office for the automation redesign. I was sure that this “data mining” thing would be very expensive and would require some very clever people to do it. I was partially right.
Instead of opting in to hire professional consultants to do the work for them, they made the unusual decision to teach some of their own staff to data mine, keeping the knowledge and skills in-house and at their fingertips. I was reassigned to be the lead data miner and to add other miners sourced from our own regular working staff.
It was a bold move with a lot of potential, but none of us knew anything about data mining. nor did we have any infrastructure in place to do the research. There weren’t any “how to” manuals out there to teach us how to even get started. That meant a lot of trial, error and mistakes, some of which were very costly.
We faced many challenges. Our Information Technology Section (IT) had to create an environment for the data to reside in, which is even now an ever evolving endeavour. IT also needed to design a way to incorporate our models into the automated system to assist with the decision making.
We had to form partnerships with our Business Rules Section to add our predictive insights into the decision logic. We had to acquire software to do the data mining research, choosing from among many amazing products. Finally, we had to learn the new skills and then do our homework to refine what we learned into a useful capability. They say the software can be learned in weeks but it takes years to master the skill. This is proved true, but we also came to understand with hindsight, that there were also shortcuts to hasten the ramp up time.
If you are thinking about creating a data mining team within your organization but are not sure how, we can help you. Inside the Monkey Miners you will see everything about how we built our own team, how we got software, what learned to use the software and advice for building partnerships within our organization. Building a data mining team is still very fresh for us and we remember what you are likely thinking and feeling and we can help to see you through it. That’s the advantage of dealing with the monkeys instead of the “elite” of the analytics world, we still know what building a data mining team is like. And we aren’t too proud to talk about our mistakes so that you can see them coming in your start-up and not make them yourself.
The Monkey Miners reveal everything we learned and make it available to you just by clicking on Welcome to the Monkey Miners. We also offer an email newsletter, which provides updates as to what’s going on, data mining tips, upcoming events and opportunities for you to opt in to surveys or questions that might interest you. So click here to get the Monkey Miners newsletter.
We aren’t a marketing sight. You will see some advertising or a few product suggestions, but we promise you don’t need to click on them if you don’t want to, and they are not so intrusive that they get in the way of the material we provide. We offer relaxed but informative information for people building their own data mining teams. Read our stories.
Who are the monkey miners?
Hi, I am a 52 year old researcher from Ontario Canada. Before I found data mining I tried my hand at many careers including programming, managing an A&W and the Canadian civil service. When I am not at work, I am husband of eight years and a father of a four year old little girl, who I think the world of. At the second half century of my life I am only just now becoming properly acquainted with all of the names of My Little Pony.
When I can sneak away from my work, and after my family is in bed, I get to be the geek I was born to be. I enjoy playing Minecraft with my buddy Alex while watching Netflix. I also enjoy a little television with my wife which leans toward British shows about the past like Downton Abbey and Mr. Selfridge, but after she’s in bed I can watch Star Wars and my personal favourite, Doctor Who. Although, truth to tell, my wife likes Doctor Who too.
what can I say about the mysterious Mr. White?
Wanna Learn About the Creation of the Monkey Miners Website?
Head over to the MonkeyLog to get the inside story of the building of the Monkey Miners website, services and brand. It’s a lot more work than we realized, and the challenges just don’t seem to stop coming, but for you, our readers, we think it will be worth the effort.
If you enjoy watching the nuts and bolts of how things are made, head over to the MonkeyLog, where we promise to be open and honest about our ideas, vision and challenges for MonkeyMiners.com.
Be warned, where this site will always be family friendly and safe for work, we get to rant, rave and vent on the MonkeyLog and it will not be safe for work or family. Let’s be honest, frustration, confusion and insecurity are never pretty. See you there. 🙂