June 19, 2014
Let’s consider two possible models for how to support data-driven decision-making for business.
The first model, which we’ll call the Traditional model, involves two groups of players: the techies and the business-types. The techies get their hands on the data and prepare the data for exploration and analysis. Their customers are the business-types, the people with subject matter expertise about what the data means who access the data and sometimes, to a limited extent, interact with the analytical infrastructure created by the techies. The business-types rely heavily on the techies to get them the data they need and to make any changes to what is being explored, analyzed, and reported.
Unsurprisingly, the Traditional model relies on traditional BI technologies, which provide a view into some of the organization’s data. In the era of Big Data, Gartner says that conventional approaches can get you maybe 10% of the organization’s data. And of course that subset is already at least a little out of date by the time the business-types see it.
The Traditional model worked pretty well back when the world was less connected than it is today — back when data all came from a few sources; back when there wasn’t as much of it; back when it didn’t move quite so fast; back when it wasn’t so intimately connected to every single thing the organization does.
But a new reality is emerging. Today, business-types of all levels need to make decisions on corporate data. Executives need to do it, of course. In fact, they need it more than ever — not only CEOs and CFOs, but also Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs), Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) and Chief Product Officers (CPOs). Yes, executives need these capabilities, and so do many of the people who work for them. And so do some of the people who work for them. And so on. People at every level in the organization, in a rapidly growing number of roles — line managers, sales reps, technicians, shipping clerks, department heads, call center staff — are called on to make data-driven decisions.
And here’s the thing. Each of these individuals have their own areas of expertise, their primary contributions to the organization. You can’t expect them all to be SQL programmers any more than you can expect their bosses to be. But unless you want an IT department that is roughly the same size as the rest of the company combined, these people need to be able to manage their own analytics. The hand-holding in the Traditional model simply will not scale.
Meanwhile, data volumes are growing exponentially. Data is coming from very different sources, with vast amounts of customer interaction and machine-generated data overwhelming the transactional data that was the mainstay of the Traditional model. Plus everything is happening a lot faster than it used to.
It’s time for a new model. We’ll call this one the Hands-On model. In the Hands-On model, business-types of all varieties access and explore the data they need to make the right decision. They do this by and for themselves in an environment that accesses all of the organization’s data and that keeps up with the accelerating pace of business.
Platfora’s Big Data Analytics capability supports exactly this kind of model. With Platfora, business users can dive in and do their own independent analysis on big data. Platfora provides analytics capability directly on raw data in Hadoop, meaning that users have access to all relevant data, not just the tip of the iceberg. And there is no waiting around for ETL or other time-consuming processes to get the data ready for analysis. If it’s in Hadoop or another data source, it’s ready to go.
Here are some of the ways that Platfora delivers Big Data Analytics capability into the hands of business users:
Platfora Vizboards provide an intuitive visual interface for data exploration that makes it easy to produce the appropriate charts or graphs to provide the answers you need. Plus you can modify the data and relationships you are exploring on the fly, with no need for coding or help from IT. (Recent updates to Vizboards make them even easier to use with a fresh visual design to guide novice users toward their goal.)
Platfora Data Lenses are configurable data views that provide the ability to flexibly explore your data, mashing it together in new ways to access tremendous untapped business value.
Platfora’s Event Series Analytics capability enables you to discover trends and correlations in the behaviors of your customers, products, and machines. With Platfora, you can easily consolidate all relevant events into a single timeline — creating a unified narrative out of large numbers of data points from a wide variety of sources.
Platfora’s Entity-Centric Data Catalog automatically organizes raw data from Hadoop into a structure that any business user can understand, assigning data to such entities as customers or products. This catalog provides and easy and intuitive way to specify exactly the data you need.
Platfora allows for robust Segmentation of entities like customers, machines, or sessions. You can create segments based on any possible combination of attributes and behaviors and reveal the hidden relationships, drivers, and roadblocks that you have to understand in order to move your business forward.