Title: Suitability of self-organising maps for analysing a macro-environment – an empirical field survey

Authors: Aapo Lansiluoto

Addresses: Seinajoki University of Applied Sciences, Business School, Koulukatu 41, FIN-60100 Seinajoki, Finland

Abstract: The Self-Organising Map (SOM) algorithm is utilised by thousands of different applications. Despite numerous applications, user satisfaction with SOM and its information products has not been evaluated. The purpose of this study is to evaluate users| satisfaction with a SOM model which was constructed for analysing a macro-environment. The data was collected through a field survey from 13 publicly noted Finnish companies. All the respondents were responsible for business intelligence or corporate development tasks. According to the evaluation, the SOM outperformed the current methods in accuracy, content, ease of interpretation and format. However, only the factors such as ease of interpretation and format had statistically significant differences. Using the SOM algorithm for analysing macro-environment trends, I demonstrate its strong potential for analysing an environment in more general organisational settings if a large amount of data is available and the visualisation capabilities of a method are emphasised.

Keywords: macro-environment analysis; self-organising maps; SOM algorithm; user evaluation; business information systems.

DOI: 10.1504/IJBIS.2007.011616

International Journal of Business Information Systems, 2007 Vol.2 No.2, pp.149 - 161

Published online: 06 Dec 2006 *

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