The 5th V

Getting in Touch with Big Data Visualisation to Deliver Insight

The 5th V

Getting to grips with big data is the key to business success but many organisations are struggling to visualise and engage with big data outputs from many sources in one place. In this White Paper, MultiTaction defines big data, explains why it is valuable and explains how to visualise and interact with it to deliver ‘hands on’ business intelligence that drive actionable outcomes around efficiencies and competitive edge.

 

Why is big data important?

In its 2014 report Big Success with Big Data, Accenture highlights the disruptive potential of big data. Of those surveyed for the report, nine out of 10 believed that big data would revolutionise business operations in the same way that the Internet has. Some 85% believed that it would dramatically change the way they do business and 79% said that companies that do not embrace big data will lose their competitive position. Some 83% saw big data projects as the means to seize competitive advantage. This view is echoed in an Economist Intelligence Unit report called Fostering a Data Driven Culture. The report asserts that forward looking companies are integrating data into their day -to-day operations and that they are placing data at the heart of almost all important decisions. The verdict is that ‘working with data is good for a company’s bottom-line.’ However all of these reports highlight the challenges that businesses face when it comes to engaging with big data. In the same report, Jerry O’Dwyer, a principal at Deloitte Consulting, notes that, ‘many of my clients are clearly aware of the importance of data but they don’t know where to start in terms of where they should focus to get the most value, as well as how to translate the data into actionable insight.’

How do I transform big data into business intelligence?

The Gartner Magic Quadrant for BI & Analytics Platforms 2015 report strikes a note of optimism for businesses looking for solution providers who can take data out of the hands of the technologists and make it accessible to business leaders. It notes that ‘traditional business intelligence (BI) market share leaders are being disrupted by platforms that expand access to analytics and deliver higher business value. BI leaders should track how traditionalists translate their forward looking product investments into renewed momentum and an improved customer experience.’ The big shift in business intelligence and analytics is in the demand by business users for access to interactive styles of analysis and insights from advanced analytics without requiring them to have IT or data science skills. Gartner identifies 13 critical capabilities and they are based on three key activities: to enable, produce and consume! But what does this mean going forward? The report suggests that by 2017 most business users and analysts will have access to self-service tools to prepare data for analysis. Data discovery tools will have smart data discovery capabilities to expand reach of interactive analysis and most platforms will support multi-structured data and analysis. The business intelligence market is growing and the main drivers are customer-facing analytics and data monetisation and collaboration and social capabilities.

Visualising, socialising and collaborating

The leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for BI & Analytics Platforms 2015 is a company called Tableau whose strapline is ‘We help people see and understand data’. Vendors like Tableau provide business with the ability to import data from every conceivable database and slice and dice data in many different ways to generate insights through powerful visualisation. But looking at single sources of data on a small screen inhibits the ability to merge many sources of data and to interact with it in a dynamic group context. It’s the difference between small snapshots in a little window and a dynamic big picture.

The real requirement is for a viewer that lets you see the big picture and look at ‘apples and oranges’ in parallel. To get the full picture and derive actionable outcomes, business needs to pull in information from a range of different systems and interact with it. Some advanced large-scale interactive visualization solutions allow you to do just that. You can put all your data on one giant display, presenting information from a number of computers side by side in one place. Then you can explore it by driving the application from the ‘window’.

These new systems support collaborative working, leveraging the latest interactive technology to provide an impressive digital display that users can interact with using touch, infrared pens and other everyday objects. They support Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend by sharing content onto the interactive walls. And seamless integration across PCs, smart devices and the interactive displays mean that users can save and access the content at any time. These live multiple ‘big data’ viewpoints make it possible to get the big picture and engage with big data in each viewpoint. This is important because large organisations have lots of systems and business intelligence requires a totality in order to deliver real value.

Big data is just beginning to emerge and the way we manage the backend is evolving. We need robust tools to visualize the data in meaningful ways that are interactive.”

David Hoffer

Head of user experience at Declara, a personal learning technology company

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