Your data is trying to tell you something – data mining services help you listen to messages hidden in piles of reports on sales, service, production and billing, little cries of actionable information too scattered to be noticed. Data mining services might show you how to better segment your customers or pick a new location for a branch or get early warning on a defective product or a fraud attempt, just by spotting patterns in the data you already collect. Data mining services are available from a wide range of tech consulting companies that come at it from different directions, such as business intelligence, information management, content management, knowledge management, data analysis, data warehousing or statistical analysis. By any name, you should gain these basic capabilities: 1. Quick data mining to hit your database with a need-to-know query to answer an immediate budget, sales or other question. 2. “Predictive analytics” data mining to suggest an opportunity, such as a certain group of customers who should be open to a certain sales offer. 3. Data mining for forecasting and modeling to try out scenarios for budgeting, purchasing or other projections. As a start, see what data mining software can do Your data services vendor is going to first whip your data into shape, then use a mix of off-the-shelf data mining software, its own programming skills, and its real-world experience to craft a specific data analysis solution for you. The websites of data mining software companies are a good place to get a feel for what data mining can do. Plan your data mining services job Besides writing the checks, your main job is defining the questions you want answered by a data mining services project -- and getting your organizational ducks in a row so that data mining becomes part of ongoing decision making. Your data mining services partner should provide project management, setup, testing, staff training and ongoing support. Do you really want text mining services or maybe web data analysis? The data mining you need could be mostly ripping through text documents not databases. And your e-commerce site could be the key to understanding your customers' needs, if you could better understand the data in your web logs. There are specialists for each. Contract for data mining services from a big-name tech consultancy Major firms bring a wide range of experience to bear on your data mining project, as well as considerable in-house expertise in data mining software. Find data mining services specific to your industry Smaller data analysis firms may really dig into your industry exclusively and have a good grasp on tailored best practices in data mining. health care IT consulting listings. Some examples of focused data mining service firms: Deep Web Technologies for science and R & D and Frogfish Solutions for the garment industry. The old IT adage "garbage in, garbage out" still applies; data mining services can't make up for sloppy record keeping in your database. Data mining answers questions, but you have to ask them first; it won't sit watching your database and send you an email when it notices a new trend. One key issue to settle with your data mining services provider is how you want to see data displayed. One solution is a "dashboard" displaying key metrics.