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How powerful and widespread can predictive analytics become? Most analysts are upbeat about predictive- analytics applications. Says Dan Vesset, research director for analytics and data warehousing at IDC: "I believe we'll see increased sales, deeper penetration into industries that never used predictive analytics before, and widespread use in companies for which customer segmentation is strategic."
Some form of predictive analytics will increasingly be incorporated into other applications such as CRM, call-center software and industry-specific applications, Vessel believes. "More and more packaged applications will include predictive-analytics modules," he says. And while those modules will not be as full- featured as dedicated applications from SAS, Oracle Corp., SPSS, Insightful and others, they will be easier to implement.
Overall, the good news for companies is that predictive analytics is becoming more robust and more widely used. They should allow companies to make better predictions about outcomes of strategic maneuvers. And while these applications will never replace the judgment and intuition of experienced professionals, they will provide a good tool for testing hypotheses and for creating automated systems.
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