A number of people and companies are using the term “iterative analytics”. This is confusing, because it can mean at least three different things:
- You analyze something quickly, decide the result is not wholly satisfactory, and try again. Examples might include:
- Aggressive use of drilldown, perhaps via an advanced-interface business intelligence tool such as Tableau or QlikView.
- Any case where you run a query or a model, think about the results, and run another one after that.
- You develop an intermediate analytic result, and using it as input to the next round of analysis. This is roughly equivalent to saying that iterative analytics refers to a multi-step analytic process involving a lot of derived data.
- #1 and #2 conflated/combined. This is roughly equivalent to saying that iterative analytics refers to all of to investigative analytics, sometimes known instead as exploratory analytics.
Based both on my personal conversations and a quick Google check, it’s reasonable to say #1 and #3 seem to be the most common usages, with #2 trailing a little bit behind.
But often it’s hard to be sure which of the various possible meanings somebody has in mind.
Monash’s First and Third Laws of Commercial Semantics state: