SPSS updates data mining tool
- By Dan Caterinicchia, Dan Caterinicchia
- Dec 27, 2000
Government agencies seeking to mine data for purposes ranging from detecting
fraud to improving customer service have a new tool at their disposal.
SPSS Inc. began shipping Clementine 6.0, an update of its flagship data
mining solution, this month. Clementine is designed to help the public sector
and businesses gain an in-depth understanding of data to help them attract
and retain customers, detect fraud, reduce risk and improve government service
delivery, said Peter Caron, senior marketing manager for the Chicago-based
"Clementine is a data-mining workbench that helps users make predictions
based on data," Caron said. "For the government, it helps predict what citizens
are going to do."
Federal, state and local agencies are using Clementine in many ways:
* The Defense Finance and Accounting Service is testing data mining
as a way to discover billing errors and fraud. DFAS' vendor pay branch uses
data mining to search through 2.5 million financial transactions for inaccurate
charges. The software enables DFAS to screen each transaction for 80 elements,
including the item bought, the price and how it compares with previous purchases.
* The Internal Revenue Service uses Clementine to schedule its workers
in call centers and elsewhere to help improve customer service.
* The Georgia Department of Education recently began using Clementine
to help determine the best curriculum structure for its schools by analyzing
whether students tend to perform better if their classes flow in a certain
"The key to data mining is delivering personalization, predicting what's
going to happen in the future," Caron said. "That predictive aspect leads
to smarter business decisions."
Fiona McKenna, industry marketing manager for the public sector at SPSS,
added: "It helps determine why something is occurring and allows an agency
to prepare itself for X, Y and Z to occur," she said. "That provides a real
value for citizens who find government confusing."