half of the responding organizations suffer from weak analytics capabilities, ranging from siloed data, outdated technology and a lack of analytical talent.

In February, Accenture and SAS partnered to develop, implement and manage industry-specific predictive analytics applications, starting with the financial services, health-care and public service sectors.

"During previous downturns, companies that thrived used data insights to produce lasting competitive advantage," Dave Rich, managing director of customer relation management for Accenture Analytics, said in a release. "Companies today can use predictive analytics to gain deeper insight that has not been previously obtainable, allowing decisions to be made more quickly and business performance to be improved."

In tough financial times, research shows that the integration of predictive analytics and data mining technologies with business operations can help organizations succeed. The top-performing 20 percent of companies that use these solutions achieved a customer retention rate of 93 percent and a profit margin of 23 percent, according to a recent Aberdeen Group research report, Predictive Analytics: The Right Tool for Tough Times. In contrast, the other 80 percent of respondents achieved a customer retention rate of only 80 percent with a 13 percent profit margin.

It's too early for the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice to predict the exact return on investment for the software and training, which Greenwald said cost several thousand dollars. But Brethenoux points to an independent assessment of SPSS customers by Nucleus Research, which found that "94 percent achieved a positive return on investment with an average payback period of 10.7 months."

These returns, the report showed, came as a result of reduced costs, increased productivity, increased employee and customer satisfaction and greater visibility.


Russell Nichols  |  Staff Writer