Data mining programs analyze relationships and patterns in data based on what users request. For example, data mining software can be used to create classes of information. To illustrate, imagine a restaurant wants to use data mining to determine when they should offer certain specials. It looks at the information it has collected and creates classes based on when customers visit and what they order. In other cases, data miners find clusters of information based on logical relationships, or they look at associations and sequential patterns to draw conclusions about trends in consumer behavior.
The data mining process breaks down into five steps. First, organizations collect data and load it into their data warehouses. Next, they store and manage the data, either on in-house servers or the cloud. Business analysts, management teams and information technology professionals access the data and determine how they want to organize it. Then, application software sorts the data based on the user's results, and finally, the end user presents the data in an easy-to-share format, such as a graph or table.