The IDC’s latest big data report contains several new observations on the big data market, which the research firm says grew by almost 15 percent in 2011. IDC found that warehousing software and apps were the two fastest growing segments in this industry, with business intelligence following suite just 0.1 percent behind applications.
BI vendors are starting to pay special attention to this data-driven shift, and SAP’s recent update to several of its most popular products is one of the newest examples to validate this trend, a trend that has most certainly not gone unnoticed.
Last week the business software vendor rolled out a third feature pack to SAP Business Objects Business Intelligence 4.0, which includes a number of expanded capabilities. The solution is now integrated with Hadoop for the first time, and existing support for HANA and several other SAP platform has been strengthened as well. To top that off, the 1.0.1 release of SAP Visual Intelligence features more analytical tools for business users. The head of the company’s BI unit commented on the update:
“While we talk a lot about the data and the impact of that data, at the end of the day … analytics is about giving people information so that those people can have an impact on the success of an organization,” said Adam Binnie, global vice president and general manager of the Business Intelligence Solutions division at SAP.”
Information delivery with a vision and a purpose is a torch being taken up by many in the industry, including Quantivo. They’ve found a particular niche in customer behavioral analytics, positioning themselves deep in the market thanks to their foresight and early experiences.
“It’s a mainstream big data problem,” says Paul O’Leary, founder and CTO at Quantivo. ”There’s all kinds of data sets that can be called big data and we can play in any space we want, but BI is where we see a big data problem.
“Where companies are struggling is taking these big, nasty, messy data sets and trying to shove them into traditional warehouses. So the mainstream big data problem is in customer behavior and its marketing-type problems.”
Addressing all of the top key drivers for big data, Quantivo’s expertise in warehousing, apps and BI results in a focus on data visualization that truly helps them deliver the right information to the right people. More than analytics, the best BI solutions today are ones that leverage prediction technology and help organizations act on that data. Visualization is a “big component in BI,” says O’Leary, and its an area that’s continuously evolving for Quantivo.
“The big challenge in big data vizualization is going from lots of raw data and turning it into a form where you’ve done the calculations,” O’Leary continues. ”It becomes very easy to visualize once you’ve done the heavy lifting.”
This will be an important segue point for Quantivo’s partnership strategy in delivering data across multiple platforms like Tableau, providing a Services angle to BI that really expands data delivery and access for business users.
In the meantime, dedicating resources to that heavy lifting technology is a primary goal for most companies in the BI space, especially if you’re looking to add value through aggregating multiple data sets. The information you gain from varied perspectives is beneficial in BI, especially when you can tap into customer sentiment directly.
One company that’s scouring the social web specifically for business-specific data is FirstRain, a startup with Penny Herscher at the helm. Her company extracts the hard-to-find nuggets of relevant Twitter data for sales and marketing professionals.
The big perk with FirstRain is the automation–the heavy lifting. It adds context to the data it’s found and packages it up for business use so a sales professional can immediately understand their customers. Working with the broad range of companies seeking big data and analytics solutions, FirstRain has clients in the pharmaceutical industry, finance, insurance and beyond. ”My job is to make it look easy,” Herscher says.