WHITE PAPER Developing a Complete DataStrategy — Filling the“Content Blind Spot”
WHITE PAPERDeveloping a Complete Data Strategy — Filling the “Content Blind Spot”A Complete Data Strategy of the “big data” landscape is being missed. The “blind spot” in many companies’ data strategy revolves around semi-At no time has the phrase “Every Company Is A Data Company” structured data that is contained in content like reports, EDIbeen more accurate. In today’s economically challenging, streams, PDF files and many other valuable sources.customer-driven business environment, it has become criticalfor organizations to drive every possible efficiency from their Understanding the “Content Blind Spot”business models, while still keeping a strong customer focus. IT organizations are now recognizing the critical nature of theThe only way to get the insight necessary to continually tune information contained in their “content blind spot” and haveyour business is to leverage every shred of data available. This begun to incorporate it into their overall data strategy. Whymeans companies must use data that comes in every format have they begun to focus their attention on it? Simply, it isand from every source, to gain a comprehensive view of their already a vital part of the decision culture in their organizationbusiness. and it is also an important link to past decisions. Additionally, companies have come to realize that these sources are growing at a tremendous rate; they have become the language Big Data Technologies — Managing Multiple Vs of business for many industries like healthcare, financial services and retail sales. So where do you find these rich sources of information and what do they look like? The answer to the first question is easy — they are everywhere and in vast quantities. As companies have added systems like ERPs and CRMs, they have also added thousands of “standard reports.” With EDI exchanges, businesses are accumulating commerce data. Through the development of Excel spreadsheets, information is being enriched. As PDF versions of invoices and bills of lading are exchanged, vital data is being saved. All of these sources represent semi-structured data that holds vital business insight fitting into a company’s “content blind spot.” Additionally, the information that has been accumulating in enterprise content management (ECM) systems to track corporate history and statutory reporting offers a historical perspective that also fills this rich source of information. So, asFor most IT professionals, this has meant focusing a lot oftime and resources dealing with accessing the structured datasources inside the organization. Projects associated with datawarehousing and business intelligence have been the focusof many companies; these companies have yielded someinsights into the business. Unfortunately the sources are onlythe tip of the data “iceberg” inside most companies. For thatreason, forward looking CIOs and IT organizations have begunto try to deal with other sources of information to get a morecomprehensive view of their business. Many have started todevelop strategies for dealing with what is being described as“big data” problems.The focus of these projects has been on trying to gather andanalyze highly unstructured data like websites, tweets andblogs to determine trends that might impact the business.While this is certainly a step in the right direction, another part
WHITE PAPERDeveloping a Complete Data Strategy — Filling the “Content Blind Spot”you can see, the quantity, value and perspective provided bythis rich source of information is undisputable. The questionis what to do with it and how does it fit into the overall datastrategy of an organization. To deal with these issues, manyIT organizations and business departments have turned toa new class of software to offer them the ability to leveragesemi-structured big data in their decisions. This new classof software is called INFORMATION OPTIMIZATION and it isgreatly expanding the traditional business analytics landscape.Information Optimization SoftwareThis new class of software is specifically designed to allowstructured, unstructured and especially semi-structureddata sources of all sizes to become an integral componentof a company’s overall big data strategy. Additionally, thissoftware links the power of semi-structured data analysis withtraditional decision-making technologies like spreadsheetsand business intelligence systems to offer a comprehensive As you can tell, the ability to deliver this level of functionality isdecision making environment. not easily achieved, that is why there have been few vendors willing to tackle this problem. One has begun to set itself apartTo accomplish this, information optimization systems start in this growing sector, that vendor is Datawatch.by ingesting semi-structured data from sources throughoutorganizations and mapping these sources to models that Datawatch – The Leaderallow the sources to be combined, restructured and analyzed in Information Optimizationin different ways. While this sounds like a relatively straightforward process, it requires the software to possess an in- Datawatch, a global company headquartered in Chelmsford,depth understanding of the structural components of the Massachusetts, has devoted almost 25 years to addressingcontent types being ingested and an ability to break these the issues of deriving analytical value from semi-structureddown into atomic level items that can be combined and mapped data and is the leader in delivering information optimization totogether in different ways. enterprises of all sizes. With over 40,000 customers leveraging Datawatch Information Optimization solutions, they are“By the way, that’s the easy part. The tricky part is making it providing powerful insights into businesses of every type.simple enough so that users across every level of an enterprisecan build and deploy these new analytical assets themselves.” Datawatch’s Information Optimization solutions areSuccessful deployments of information optimization systems empowering IT organizations to provide a more completeare seldom stand alone; but work in tandem with both analytical experience for individual users to the largestenterprise content management systems (to access and utilize enterprises. Datawatch is specifically focused on helpinginformation housed there) and BI systems (to allow structured organizations fill their “content blind spot” with a solution thatand semi-structured sources to be linked together for richer is designed to deal with the diverse types of data that areanalytical insights). trapped in these sources and also, the velocity and volume that this data moves at in real-world scenarios.The final key to the success of systems like this is their abilityto work in high-volume and high-velocity environments. This Customers leveraging the Datawatch solution, often inmeans being able to put data into a production environment conjunction with other analytical tools like Microsoft Officethat supports scheduling and automation of these processes. and leading BI tools, have been able to gain greater insights into issues like improving auditing and compliance, strengthening procurement to pay management and enhancing operational reporting.