Recently there have been cases where corporate companies are increasingly tapping into their corporate databases in order to extract information, a process referred to as data mining, and in the process, they gain competitive advantage. The data mining process, a business can make use of data collected from the daily processes then use the collected knowledge to come up with solutions for problems. Data warehouses and data marts mark the most common forms of repositories. A data warehouse is a system that accommodates data from which companies can derive their sources of knowledge for decision making. Within this system, the information on clients, their products, and business transactions is stored for future reference. The source of information is either from inside or outside the company. A data warehouse enables one to apply tools, effectively analyze, and view data as current information on which one can take action (DiSabatiano, 2002, p 97).
Sources of data include internal operational activities such as sales and marketing. External sources that can assist in data collection are statistics from the government and other commercial researches and studies. Data mining aims to identify and highlight patterns within a given data that would otherwise be hidden. These patterns would serve as foundations to problem solving. (Cary, Wen, & Mahatanankoon, 2003).
Its application in the army
Being an extensive activity, research is undertaken in not only business organizations but also government institutions. One of the institutions that have witnessed research development is the department of Defense. According to Tactical-Life (2009), the research and development has resulted into 25 improvements in the Army Combat Uniform since 2004. This is important noting that the ACU is very important in an army man’s activities at the war front. All these have been done considering that, the army needs to be more effective.
As mentioned earlier, most information used in an effective research is developed from database in a process called data mining. Tactical-life (2009, para. 4) points out that the ACU has always been, “developed by soldiers for soldiers.” By identifying the flaws in the ACU within the database, it became necessary for policy makers to push for more effective Uniforms that would improve the effectiveness of the Army.
From the data warehouses and the data marts, the researchers are able to develop improvements that will help the army men during maneuvers, comfort, fit, and camouflage. Just as a good research in business entities gives it a competitive advantage, the department of defense develops effectiveness that places the country’s defense above its enemies. Its military preparedness also becomes better as compared to other countries. Consequently, the ACU has witnessed improvement that range from padded elbows and knees, varying colors to enhance camouflage, better positioning of the infrared light.
Factors that impede data mining
Four reasons namely; inadequate resources, cost, lack of top management support and the concerns about the relevance of data mining form the main issues of research implementation (Fulda, 1999). Equally, the department of defense has been characterized by similar drawbacks in their endeavors to come up with the best outfit for its contingents.
Their application in the army
The functional areas of a business are the ones that are highly concerned with information. Compared to other functional areas in a business, accounting and finance make extensive use of information. The information systems, marketing and purchasing are the other domains in a business that apply data mining. Although finance and accounting highly make use of data mining, marketing and purchasing function should make use of the data mining a lot, because if the research translates into sales there would be high revenue(DiSabatino, 2002, para. 4). This translates into high profits for the business. Equally, information plays an integral role in ACU formulation and improvement. Information from data sources within sensitive areas make the main points from which improvements need to be done. A good example is the United States forces in Afghanistan where much research is being done to identify the best ACU for this group. Information from the regions has been used to identify the unique needs, which will equally increase the effectiveness of the army.
Data mining techniques
The design of the new form of uniform can be said to be excellent. Many aspects of the ACU have been modified to meet the needs and challenges of the daily operational and environmental aspects. However, one thing remains a challenge. The material used in the ACUs is not very comfortable. According to Coulson (2007, para. 6), this material is easily torn. He argues that using Velcro in environments like Iraq or Afghanistan could be detrimental. Its resistance to pressure is too low. As a result, this can result into a soldier being mistaken for an enemy. In addition, valuables of the army men are likely to be lost if the pockets are loose. This is especially so considering the challenging environments like Iraq and Afghanistan where several US Army operations are underway.
It is therefore important that the policy makers engage in a research that will identify an appropriate material that will guarantee quality within the rough environments. Tougher materials should be experimented so that the best one is chosen. This may reduce the chances of tear and wear which are likely phenomena in rugged war zones.
In conclusion, research entails a lot. Researchers must understand these challenges in order to come up with the most appropriate solution. Equally, researchers in the department of defense must understand these challenges whenever designing the Army Combat Uniform. All the necessary elements should be put in consideration. The internal and external environments must be considered. The current material used in the development of ACU is weak. The department of defense should include relevant research strategies to come up with the best. This will be the best tool to facilitate military activities.
Cary, C., Wen, J., and Mahatanankoon, P. (2003). Data mining: consumer privacy, ethical policy, and systems development practices. Human Systems Management, 22, 157-168
Coulson, E. (2007). New Army uniform doesn’t measure up. Web.
DiSabatino, J. (2002), Unregulated databases hold personal data, Computerworld 36.4. pp 7
Fulda, J. (1999). Solution to a philosophical question concerning data Mining, Computers and Society.
Montãna, J. (2001). Data mining: A slippery slope, Information Management Journal 35 pp 450–54.
Tactical-Life. (2009). Army always seeking improvements to combat uniform. Web.