Perhaps the only universal truth about big data analytics is that it is a new field and everyone is still learning. That was true Monday as data scientists, quants and business intelligence managers gathered in San Francisco to swap ideas about what's working.
While retail corporations dominated Monday's schedule, the Predictive Analytics World conference also drew financial executives, marketing managers and others who know all too well that the success of their companies may depend on making better use of the river of data flooding in from social media, transaction records, web surfing, retail outlets and other sources.
Two early presentations came from executives at Sears Holdings and eBay, two of the companies that have led the industry in growing successful online operations. Their presentations were minutes apart, and both stressed the importance of experimentation, but they covered widely divergent areas from different perspectives.