18 Oct: Do you do analytics?

This is one question that I have been faced with repeatedly while making sales pitches. What is analytics anyway? While everyone has their perspective of what analytics actually is, this is how I see things – Problem statements fall into two fundamental categories (along the Y-axis as shown in the figure above): Problems where the physical relations between the data-sets to be analysed are known – the relations can be captured by some mathematical formula, by rules, logic or structures. Problems where the physical relations are unknown or too complex to be modeled. Q1: Known Problem Statement + Known Physical Relations between datasets Suppose a refiner is analyzing its working capital and wants to know how much of that is tied in crude oil inventory, intermediates, and in finished product inventory. He needs the analysis sliced and diced by refinery, by region, by material group, etc. The analysis also needs…