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#1 elgose  Icon User is offline

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Use of Optimization and Analytic Programs

Posted 14 September 2011 - 07:36 AM

I've heard it called all sorts of things (Decision Support Systems, Business Intelligence, Business Analytics and Optimization, etc.). Do any of you use any related software, such as SAS, SPSS, SAP BusinessObjects, Cognos, ILOG, etc.? More than the products you use, I'm curious what kind of stuff you might do with it?

It's a pretty big focus at work, mainly used as one would expect - there's a large source of data, we want to try to figure out less-than-obvious trends to help optimize, perform predictive analytics and/or make it easier to create visualizations that might be too complex to do with other applications. For instance, in-house review of monthly performance, budget, etc. stats.

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Replies To: Use of Optimization and Analytic Programs

#2 tlhIn`toq  Icon User is offline

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Re: Use of Optimization and Analytic Programs

Posted 14 September 2011 - 07:48 AM

Everything but the last sentence was giberish buzzwordspeak to me.

Reviews are easy:
  • You said it would take 6 weeks and it took 12. You failed.
  • You said you could do it in 8 weeks, and we all agreed that was reasonable, and you did it in 6. Good job.


If you want to not worry about performance reviews, stop paying people by the hour. Pay them by the assignment. If they can do a 30 hour assignment in 20 hours they make more money per year because they can complete more work. What could be more fair than that? Of course not all jobs or all companies are structured in a way that can make use of that model. Some people, such as myself, are torn from project to project so often they are never actually allowed to complete one and move to the next. So you have to pay them hourly under those conditions.
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#3 elgose  Icon User is offline

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Re: Use of Optimization and Analytic Programs

Posted 14 September 2011 - 12:16 PM

Sorry, the last sentence was probably the most limited scope I've seen. I didn't mean for use in individual reviews as that's better suited, as you described, going through it in a logical manner. Rather, one example would be creating an OLAP cube based off stats from every employee and every project we have (with consideration for which location the employee is at, their "level" or title, etc.), rather than just an individual's performance review.

I know it sounds buzzy, but I think most of the terms give pretty good insight (except for the "Decision support system"/"Business Intelligence"/... terms - that's just marketing). The less than obvious trends and view formats not possible with, say, Excel may be from OLAP cubes or statistical algorithms not readily usable/available to most people, and predictive analysis is exactly that - a best guess at what's going to happen next based off trends that aren't as clear as "hey, this number keeps going down". From the projects I've been on, I've only ever seen this stuff applied to analysts or C-level exec's at big corporations, and the stuff these products can handle and produce is often pretty amazing.

To clarify: In my quest for a better understanding of this area, I wanted to see what other people have done with this. There's a lot of demand in big businesses, but I'm quite ignorant about usage outside of huge companies.
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#4 J-e-L-L-o  Icon User is offline

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Re: Use of Optimization and Analytic Programs

Posted 14 September 2011 - 11:25 PM

It is not buzzwords..its an actual discipline. That is covered in operations research. I am thinking of changing my major to Industrial Engineering (using optimization methods to increase efficiency) that covers a lot of those areas.

This is the wrong forum for that kind of stuff. Its a lot of math, linear algebra, statistics and maybe stochastic methods. Not necessarily the core areas of programming.

Try to look up I.E. or O.R. forums (industrial engineering or operations research forums). Try www.physics.org as well

Here is Berkeley's Industrial Engineering program home page:
http://www.ieor.berkeley.edu/
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#5 elgose  Icon User is offline

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Re: Use of Optimization and Analytic Programs

Posted 15 September 2011 - 05:10 AM

Thanks for the info, J-e-L-L-o, I didn't think of searching IE/OR sites. Since this involves use of the software, rather than the design, algorithms, theory, etc., I was hoping there'd be a few people here who've had some experience to share.

I'll be sure to look into IE/OR stuffs.
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