Analytics is, I would say 200% important. That's what the gist of my job entails, what I do on a daily basis. Until you find out what you're looking for in the data that you have, there's is no way to determine what you have. The excel spreadsheet is what we used back in the day, but now with all the fraud analytics tools on the market, we have a different version of getting things done – what once took a week, software tools are now getting them done in 15 minutes.
In the mortgage fraud case, I was able to use analytics to find out exactly what the loss, or potential vs actual loss in the investigation was, which saved us quite a bit of time. Mortgage fraud cases, it's a lot of paper, very time consuming and tedious. Using analysis, like I said, cut down a lot of time. Once you get a group of analysts it always makes the task much easier, because everyone has one common goal, and that is to find the red flag. With analysis you can do that.
I started using IDEA several years ago because I was teaching advanced fraud analytics at Utica College and one of the requirements of the course was to use the IDEA software, and I gave the students a case study – based on the study they had to find all of the information using the IDEA software. That's how I got started with IDEA and I've been using IDEA ever since. I'm hoping in the future to be super IDEA user.
Bringing IDEA into the classroom, and what I would say to students now – is that they need to start using it early on, find out what analytics is about. Analytics is the tool to the future. Analytics has always been around, but I think with hearing more about big data and data mining tools – it's an 'in' word now, it's a trend now. It's a trend that will never get old – it's just going to continue to grow by leaps and bounds. Students whether they are business students, accounting, finance, criminal justice students, computer specialists students, I think they all should have an introductory class to analytics.
Of course, I would recommend IDEA. IDEA is mentioned in my book, it's mentioned in chapter 6 and there's about 20 pages of info on IDEA. There are graphics in there to show you what the product can do. I would recommend IDEA to any and everyone, particularly on the academic level, to get students interested in it now. When they get in the workforce they're going to have to know how to use these tools, so the first tool I would recommend is IDEA.