Decision intelligence
buzzword dictionary.

The data world is teeming with data science buzzwords and acronyms. We’ve put together a handy glossary to refer back to when your brain’s fried.

Essential knowledge

Last updated:
November 2022

It’s OK Google, we’ve got this one.

Decision intelligence. CLV. Affinity analytics. Pen portraits. Customer feature store. Layering. Recommendation engine…

Ever feel your eyes glazing over when someone reels off an endless list of data science buzzwords and analytics acronyms? We’ve got you. Here’s a comprehensive compendium of keywords and their meanings; all in one place. You’re welcome.

Decision intelligence.

The application of data science and AI to improve commercial decision making. Invented by Dr Lorien Pratt and Mark Zangari.

Customer data platform (CDP).

Software that aggregates and organizes customer data from a variety of touchpoints into a single customer profile.

Cloud data processing.

Data is stored and processed in a cloud database (typically AWS, Azure or Google Cloud).

Customer feature store.

Data, insight and models stored against a customer record in a database, enabling personalised customer experiences to be delivered to them.

Customer and product attributes.

Describes customers and products in useful ways that help improve marketing and merchandising of products.

Customer segments.

Groups of customers who share similar characteristics.

Affinity analytics.

A data science technique to identify the relationships between customers and products.

Customer need states.

Also known as customer decision trees. A graphical representation of a customer’s buying decision process expressed in a tree format.

Artificial intelligence.

Leverages computers and machines to mimic the problem-solving and decision-making capabilities of the human mind.

Business intelligence.

Presenting business data in user-friendly views such as reports, dashboards, charts and graphs.

Data science.

A field that uses scientific methods, processes, algorithms and systems to extract or extrapolate knowledge and insights.


The extent to which one product is viewed as a good substitute for another product e.g. Coca Cola for Pepsi. Head over to our blog to read more about substitutability.

Recency, frequency, value (RFV).

A simple way to segment customers based on their spending patterns. Also known as RFM (recency, frequency, monetary value).

Customer lifetime value (CLV).

Assesses the likely financial value of a customer over the full length of their relationship with a business.

Customer pen portraits.

A way of describing customer segments, typically in a highly visual way, bringing data to life for non technical people.

First party data.

Data collected as a result of a customer transacting directly with a business e.g. their purchases, web browsing behaviour or customer feedback.

Retail media.

Refers to the digital or physical space a retailer offers brands to promote their products. For example, space on their website, app or digital displays in and around stores.

Customer decision engine.

A piece of software that analyses various data sources to create insights into customer behaviour and needs, then recommend actions.

Layering data science and AI.

Layering involves applying multiple analytical techniques and processes, each building on those previously used to create ever greater insight and value.

Assortment optimisation.

Using analytical techniques to decide on the ideal set of products to sell in order to maximise sales and profit.

Dynamic pricing algorithms.

A set of well-defined instructions to recommend optimal pricing at any given time.

Demand forecasting.

Applying analytical techniques to predict the likely demand for products, based on a combination of factors.

Recommendation engine.

An analytical approach to recommending products that will most likely appeal to a customer or segment of customers.

Markdown optimisation.

Using analytics to determine the optimal price discounts to apply, usually to strike a balance between sales and profit.

What’s next?

Fancy discussing data science buzzwords in more detail? Contact us to find out more about our decision intelligence platform and consultancy.

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