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Trending Data

A news report might start with a paragraph similar to the following: “The Smallville County overall crime rate fell by 3% compared to last year. This continues a downward trend for the last 5 years, as the crime rate has fallen an average of 1% per year.” This is a simple trend example. In analyzing business data, trending helps to

  • Measure the effectiveness of decisions over time. For example, if a car rental company decides to hire more sales agents at the beginning of a year, and the time required to service customers decreases over the course of that year, the company could use the trend to state that their hiring decision may have led to tangible customer benefits. (Of course, there might be other reasons that customer wait times decreased, which would require further data analysis.)

  • Alert you to potential business problems. If you notice that a particular data value is worsening over time, you would want to find out why and decide what you could do to reverse the trend. To measure your proposed solution to the problem, you could keep looking at the trend over a longer period of time.


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