Big Data Prompts 'Analytics Everywhere' Solutions
Everyday users can turn data into insight.
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Big data analytics was supposed to unlock a wide variety of secrets for the benefit of entire companies, but so far its use--and the insights it uncovers--has remained in the lofty confines of the IT department. That is starting to change with the birth of "analytics everywhere," a type of big data analytics solution that makes mountains of insight available across the entire enterprise.

The problem, for the most part, has been that business intelligence and big data analytics solutions have typically targeted the 10 percent of employees with very extensive data science backgrounds. Instead, the focus needs to shift to the remaining 90 percent of employees, especially the marketing, sales, and customer service personnel, says Brian Brinkmann, vice president of products at Logi Analytics, a company that in January launched its own analytics everywhere solution.

Gartner predicts these types of analytics everywhere solutions will reach 50 percent of potential users this year, 75 percent by 2020, and 100 percent not long after that. The firm further reported that interactive data visualization and data discovery tools are expected to drive the most activity, which is expected to grow three times faster than traditional business intelligence (BI) software and reach $10 billion in value by the end of this year.

Logi Analytics' Logi Vision platform, one such application, contains three main components: DataSmart, which performs complex data profiling, modeling, and blending algorithms within the application; ThinkSpace, a recommendation engine; and InfoBoard, which enables users to collaborate to uncover, share, and improve on the insights found.

"We took the user-friendliness of Microsoft Excel and combined it with the rank and relevance capability of Google, the recommendation function of the likes of Amazon and Netflix, and made use of a Twitter-like trending feature," Brinkmann says.

Another entry into the market is Birst's Visualizer, which was released in early December. The company claims to have combined "Google-like search and Amazon-like recommendations" to reduce time to answer for most business users and offer self-service analytics best suited for most business roles and skill sets. The guided experience speeds information discovery by plotting data instantly, auto-suggesting proper chart types based on selected data combinations, and searching as the user types.

Jim Molnar, business development representative at Birst, says with Visualizer, the company is putting the power of analytics into the hands of everyday business users."Birst Visualizer thinks like you do and lets you make even your most challenging enterprise data easy to understand and meaningful."

Gartner principal research analyst Dan Sommer notes that so far newer vendors, such as QlikTeck, Spotfire, and Tableau, have dominated the market, but other more established BI vendors, such as MicroStrategy, IBM, Microsoft, and SAS, have launched similar products in the past few months, bringing simplified data discovery solutions to the mainstream.

Lindy Ryan, research director of data discovery and visualization at Radiant Advisors, expects solutions such as these to continue to gain tremendous traction. "Data-centric companies realize that generating business value from innovation, optimization, and insights are a function of the analytic culture within an organization," she says. "This analytic mindset toward data will continue to drive basic information consumption to higher levels of business analytics at every level of the organization, and information and analytics governance will serve as the guidance for achieving this efficiently."

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