One of the most interesting articles I’ve read today is “Turning Math into Cash” by W.Bulkeley in MIT TechReview.
“The mathematicians collected several years' worth of data about every sale IBM made around the world. They compared the results with the sales quotas set at the beginning of the year, most of which were developed by district sales managers who negotiated them with sales teams on the basis of past experience. To spot opportunities the sales teams didn't recognize, the researchers collected external data on IT spending patterns by industry and combined that information with the internal sales data. Then they used a technique called high-quantile modeling--which tries to predict, say, the 90th percentile of a distribution rather than the mean--to estimate potential spending by each customer and calculate how much of that demand IBM could fulfill.”
I’ve already found articles regarding the High-Quantile method application.