Machine Learning for Business
Doug Hudgeon, Richard Nichol
  • MEAP began September 2018
  • Publication in Spring 2019 (estimated)
  • ISBN 9781617295836
  • 300 pages (estimated)
  • printed in black & white
  • Imagine predicting which customers are thinking about switching to a competitor or flagging potential process failures before they happen
  • Think about the benefits of automating tedious business processes and back-office tasks
  • Consider the competitive advantage of making decisions when you know the most likely future events
Machine learning can deliver these and other advantages to your business, and it’s never been easier to get started!
Table of Contents detailed table of contents

Part 1: Machine learning in business automation

1 How machine learning applies to business automation

1.1 Why are our business systems so terrible?

1.2 Why is automation important now?

1.2.1 What is productivity?

1.2.2 How will machine learning improve productivity?

1.3 How do machines make decisions?

1.3.1 People: rules-based or not?

1.3.2 Can I trust a pattern-based answer?

1.3.3 How can machine learning improve our business systems?

1.4 Can a machine help Karen make decisions?

1.4.1 Target variable

1.4.2 Features

1.5 How does a machine learn?

1.6 Getting approval in your company to use machine learning to make decisions

1.7 The tools

1.7.1 What is AWS, what is Sagemaker, and how do they help me?

1.8 What is a Jupyter notebook?

1.9 Setting up Sagemaker in preparation for tackling the scenarios in chapters 2 to 8

1.10 The time to act is now

Part 2: Seven Scenarios: Machine Learning in Business Automation

2 Should you send a purchase order to a technical approver?

2.1 The Decision

2.2 The data

2.3 Putting on your training wheels

2.4 Run the Jupyter notebook and make predictions

2.5 Part 1: Load and examine the data

2.6 Part 2: Get the data into the right shape

2.7 Part 3: Create training, validation and test data sets

2.8 Part 4: Train the model

2.9 Part 5: Host the model

2.10 Part 6: Test the model

2.11 Delete the endpoint and shut down your notebook instance

2.11.1 Delete the endpoint

2.11.2 Shut down the notebook instance

2.12 Summary

3 Deciding whether to call a customer because they are at risk of churning

3.1 What are you making decisions about?

3.2 The process flow

3.3 Preparing the dataset

3.3.1 Transformation 1: Normalize the data

3.3.2 Transformation 2: Calculate the change from week to week

3.4 XGBoost primer

3.4.1 How XGBoost works

3.4.2 How does the machine learning model determine whether the function is getting better or getting worse?

3.5 Getting ready to build the model

3.5.1 Upload a dataset to S3

3.5.2 Set up a notebook on Sagemaker

3.6 The code

3.6.1 Part 1: Load and examine the data

3.6.2 Part 2: Get the data into the right shape

3.6.3 Part 3: Create training, validation, and test data sets

3.6.4 Part 4: Train the model

3.6.5 Part 5: Host the model

3.6.6 Part 6: Test the model

3.7 Summary

4 Should a customer support ticket be handled by a senior support person?

5 Should you query an invoice sent to you by a supplier?

6 Does a staff member qualify for a higher hourly rate for their shift?

7 Should maintenance be performed on some machinery?

8 Bringing it all together: Should you investigate an insurance claim?

Part 3: Moving machine learning into production

9 Setting up your machine learning system on the web

10 Case studies

Appendixes

Appendix A: Signing up to Amazon AWS

A.1 Signing up for AWS

A.2 AWS Billing overview

A.3 Summary

Appendix B: Setting up and using S3 to store files

B.1 Set up a bucket in S3

B.2 Set up folders in S3

B.3 Upload files to S3

B.4 Summary

Appendix C: Setting up and using AWS Sagemaker to build a machine learning system

C.1 Getting set up

C.2 Start at the Dashboard

C.3 Create a notebook instance

C.4 Start the notebook instance

C.5 Upload the notebook to the Notebook Instance

C.6 Run the notebook

C.7 Summary

Appendix D: Shutting it all down

D.1 Delete the endpoint

D.2 Shut down the notebook instance

D.3 Summary

About the Technology

Big companies use machine learning to drive decision-making and automate business processes by learning from their data. Now, easy-to-use tools, well-defined practices, and readily-available services bring the advantages of machine learning to organizations of any size! Bottom line? Companies that don’t use machine learning to gain cost savings, reliability, and efficiency will soon be overtaken by those that do.

About the book

Machine Learning for Business teaches you how to make your company more automated, productive, and competitive by mastering practical, implementable machine learning techniques and tools. Thanks to the authors’ down-to-earth style, you’ll easily grok why process automation is so important and why machine learning is key to its success. In this hands-on guide, you’ll work through seven end-to-end automation scenarios covering business processes in accounts payable, billing, payroll, customer support, and other common tasks. Using Amazon SageMaker (no installation required!), you’ll build and deploy machine learning applications as you practice takeaway skills you’ll use over and over. By the time you’re finished, you’ll confidently identify machine learning opportunities in your company and implement automated applications that can sharpen your competitive edge!

What's inside

  • Identifying processes suited to machine learning
  • Using machine learning to automate back office processes
  • Seven everyday business process projects
  • Using open source and cloud-based tools
  • Case studies for machine learning decision making

About the reader

For technically-inclined business professionals or business developers. No previous experience with automation tools or programming is necessary.

About the authors

Doug Hudgeon runs a business automation consultancy, putting his considerable experience helping companies set up automation and machine learning teams to good use. In 2000, Doug launched one of Australia’s first electronic invoicing automation companies. Richard Nichol has over 20 years of experience as a data scientist and software engineer. He currently specializes in maximizing the value of data through AI and machine learning techniques.

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