Step No. 1: Understand the Data

By Jim Falgout  |  Posted 2011-02-16 Print this article Print

Step No. 1: Understand the data

Even though the operations team has been looking at the CDR data for years, this is their first foray into deeper analytics. They have to begin by taking a more in-depth look at their data and determining what attributes in the data may be useful. They suspect fraud is being accomplished using specific phone numbers distributed across regions, so they start there.

What is extremely useful at this point is a data profiling tool. A good profiling tool allows the operations team to begin to discover trends in their data. The team's use of fields in the CDRs has been limited to this point. They need to ensure the quality of values in the fields targeted for the fraud detection project.

Along with a good profiling tool, the operations team also needs a data analytics tool. Besides profiling the data for discovery, they'll also want to experiment with different aggregations of the data. For example, aggregating the data by region and phone number may show that certain phone numbers are used much more than others. This in itself does not mean their use is fraudulent but it may help support the team's suspicions.

Jim Falgout has 20+ years of large-scale software development experience and is active in the Java development community. As Chief Technologist for Pervasive DataRush, Jim's responsible for setting innovative design principles that guide Pervasive's engineering teams as they develop new releases and products for partners and customers. Prior to Pervasive, Jim held senior positions with NexQL, Voyence Net Perceptions/KD1 Convex Computer, Sequel Systems and E-Systems. An officer with Toastmasters, Jim is an experienced public speaker. He has delivered presentations to user groups, client conferences and IEEE working groups. He is a popular analyst and go-to thought leader. Jim has a Bachelor's degree (cum laude) in Computer Science from Nicholls State University. He can be reached at

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