Data mining is the term for the algorithmic techniques, similar to that used in artificial intelligence and other neural networks, used in the automation of data analysis by the use of specialised decision support processes and tools. The aim is to allow the data mining tool to discover relationships and other useful information that can be used effectively by a decision support system to enhance the organisation. For example, a tool may be used to examine buying behaviour of customers on certain ranges of products to learn if any relationship exists and, if so, to use this information to sell more products based on the identified buying behaviour.
Data mining differs from traditional DSS tools as data mining tools used act proactively rather than reactively. Traditional DSS tools require the user to analyse selected data whereas data mining will automatically seek relationships and attempt to discover useful information and opportunities without user interaction or guidance towards a particular solution. Data mining therefore presents the user with data knowledge and an immediate advantage.