The five rules for data discovery

Despite the wealth of information, abundant tools and increasing computing power, most enterprises still can't get what they want from analytics. So what's the problem?

Fundamentally, the main premise of analytics for enterprises is to leverage information to gain insight to drive the right actions, which in turn can lead to greater success in business, better competitive results, increased customer loyalty, higher profits and greater market share.

However, there are not many enterprises today are the analytics overachievers, because despite the wealth of information, abundant tools and increasing computing power, most enterprises still face numerous challenges to achieve relevant business insights that they need via analytics. For instance, traditional IT platforms which have been painstakingly standardised across the enterprise, now becomes the very bottleneck that inhibits information analysis.

‘Enterprise Data Discovery’ emerges as the natural complement to existing business intelligence practices that offers analytic agility. It simplifies access to wildly diverse information, making it convenient for instant exploration for business analytics regardless the type of data.

Today, enterprises need for fast, easy, intuitive access to any data to perform analysis for both the business and IT decisions. ‘Enterprise Data Discovery’ allows them to move beyond the current stalemate to be more agile and confident in the data results of their analysis without abandoning the current analytics platforms and infrastructure. Following are the five core rules for ‘Enterprise Data Discovery’:-

Govern self-service for results without risk

Take an example of the company experiencing a sales spike in one of the regions in a certain month. How can you find out why and then replicate the successful sale model? You have a hunch that a recent media campaign could be playing a part. To ascertain it, the company requires combining sales data — not just the report, but the actual raw numbers resulting from the media campaign. How do you quickly combine the sales data with these results?

Governed self-service discovery capability provides quick and easy access to diverse sets of data from the IT department, within, and outside of the organisation. As the result, business users are empowered to upload and combine data on their own, with the confidence that they can get good results.

Blend diverse data for deeper insights

What if the combination of various sales data and media campaign results still didn't quite get you there? Additionally, your business users are suggesting the use of social feedback to get more information about the campaign.

With governed self-service data discovery platform, enterprises can easily access to a wide arrays of data including the unstructured and text-heavy information that is often not included in today's analytic environments. It also means business users can quickly blend and mix current data with new information of any type across blog posts, customer reviews, survey text, tweets, call logs and more, to retrieve a new view of what's driving the business.

Equip yourself with integrated search navigation and analytics

In the quest for the cause of that sales spike, your business users want to search all that diverse data just as they would on the Web without needing any training.

Full-featured search, guided navigation, and powerful visual analytics built together from the ground up are the critical toolkits for data discovery. When a company is looking for deeper insight to enhance its competitive edge, there's always the risk of going down a blind alley. Therefore, companies need to have everything for exploration to help stay on course.

Have a dialogue with your data

You also discovered the spike in sales occurred in the middle of the media campaign and during the time of the spike, there was a major sporting event. This new clue prompts a new question. - What could a sporting event have to do with the spike? Again, the data reveals its value by providing a new answer—one of the advertisements from the campaign got additional play at the event. Now, you have something solid to work on.

Traditional analytics take you on a well-traveled path through your operations based on established questions. However, with self-service discovery capability, the data can give business users the speed, flexibility and agility to follow the road less traveled. It allows them to continue the dialogue and get the answers whenever they need as the data discovery platform had have information indexed.

Enrich diverse data and keep on discovering

Towards the end of the sales spike analysis journey, do you really know if advertisements contributed to the source of the spike in revenue? Traditional analytics don’t typically include qualitative information such as the hidden critical connections that reveal what people really think and what is driving their behavior. Yet, that's often the key to the root causes that can explain the sales spike —Posts in social media show that the crowd at the sporting event loved the advertisements which drove a viral reaction across the region.

Enterprise data discovery also can give business users the power to get the most out of raw text by enriching text to unlock the hidden insights in unstructured content. Combining text enrichment with enterprise-class sentiment offers enterprises a comprehensive view of business to make truly informed decisions.

Today, enterprises face the challenge of managing the overwhelmingly rich amount of information that is all potentially relevant to decision making. For IT departments, they are under massive pressure to manage costs while still being responsive to the business.

‘Enterprise Data Discovery’ built upon the five rules is a comprehensive solution that offers enterprises fast, intuitive access to both traditional analytic data and non-traditional data, including external and unstructured information. Enterprises should consider leveraging ‘Enterprise Data Discovery’ as part of their analytics strategy to realise significant benefits with innovation and confidence.

Joshua Koh, general manager for Endeca at Oracle Asia Pacific