How Hard Could It Be?

By Reid Cleveland

July 5, 2017

Category: Business Perspectives

Business Intelligence and Analytics is critical for professional development. Analytics can provide the cutting-edge information needed to advance and improve your company. However, data analysis is also a complicated and intricate art. It is not as straight forward as one might assume. There are many pitfalls in trying to analyze data yourself without a strong background in statistics.

It is important for advanced statistical analysis to be done by someone with a strong background in the field. Assuming analytics can be easily done is dangerous and misguided. Knowing how to properly create models or make predictions takes a strong knowledge of statistics. Proper models require creating intervals, cross validating samples, statistically testing hypotheses, and countless other statistical methods. Such analytics cannot be replaced by intuition or an educated guess.

Five minutes on Buzzfeed or a similar mass media site is enough to find at least one example of statistics getting misused or abused. Obviously, it is not actually that easy to determine what type of vegetable a person is. However, there are similar misguided applications of statistics in the professional world. An excellent example is Charles Reep, professional accountant, amateur analyst, and inventor of the first widely used notation system for "on-the-ball actions" in soccer. His findings showed that most soccer goals are scored in three or less passes. This even lead English teams to take up the "long ball" game style to reduce their number of passes. However, the theory was completely incorrect. The findings did not consider that, due to the rate of interceptions, most goal shots result from a short number of passes. It is more likely that a goal will be scored from fewer shots, but fewer shots are not more likely to score a goal. To see this properly, one would need to calculate the probability of scoring a goal conditional to the number of passes. Due to this lack of proper analysis, English soccer players formerly adopted an erroneous playing style.

Business Intelligence and Analytics is a vital part of business and industry. Seeking professional help will avoid improper implementations of data. Van Buren Advisors specializes in providing businesses with accurate and efficient analytical insights. You can count on us to make the statistical conclusions that will help your business grow.

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1) James, N. (2006). Notational analysis in soccer: past, present and future. International Journal of Performance Analysis in Sport, 6(2), 67-81. Retrieved June 27, 2017.

2) Sykes, J., & Paine, N. (2016, October 27). How One Man’s Bad Math Helped Ruin Decades Of English Soccer. Retrieved June 27, 2016, from

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