June 13, 2019What is Unified Data, and Why Do You Need It?
With the seasons changing, it is no secret that the days are getting shorter, streets are being dressed in all things that luster, and fallen temperatures are suggesting that you add layers to your wardrobe. All of these changes signifying the year’s end (well, at least for those of us here in New England).
As 2020 is fast approaching, we want to take this time to reflect on everything that has happened before the start of the new decade. If you’re looking for our thoughts on this year’s Oscar winners or if we’re happy with the end result of the World Series, you’re reading the wrong blog. What we can tell you is who we think championed the big data analytics space.
Before we get into our list, let’s make sure that we are all familiar with how we define big data. Big data is defined as “a field that treats ways to analyze, systematically extract information from, or otherwise deal with data sets that are too large or complex to be dealt with by traditional data-processing application software.” Despite the benefits to having a large data sets, having access to a superfluous amount of information comes with its own challenges. It is not an uncommon sight for organizations to run into a variety of issues with their data, the most prevalent being: a misunderstanding of definitions, multiple storage locations, and lagging performance. To free your organization of these challenges, you need a big data analytics tool.
With multiple vendors in the market, what qualities should be on your big data analytics shopping list?
- Scalability – Your data needs to be accessible, no matter where it is stored or what format it’s in. Your organization is always changing and your solution needs to be flexible enough to change with it, no advanced notice required.
- Integration – Compatibility among sources is vital towards your approach towards big data analytics. Your new tool should empower you to collaborate with your applications of choice.
- Cost-Effective – Your new solution should be saving you money, not making you spend more. Choose a solution that will accommodate your business needs and your budget.
- Governance – Create rules and enforce them throughout your team. Say goodbye to loose definitions, vulnerabilities, and a lack of project ownership among your team.
- Visualization – Is your data presentable? Easy to digest? Are your dashboards furthering your understanding of your data? The visual representation of your data is how your team communicates the meaning behind the numbers, making visualization a key asset in your search for a big data analytics tool.
Here’s our list of contenders who fit the bill and rose to the top in 2019, with industry-specific use cases:
Championing themselves as “the only data warehouse built for the cloud,” Snowflake has a reputation for their easy access to user data as well as scalability. When Akamai, a content delivery network headquartered in Cambridge, MA, grew anxious about their overuse of multiple on-premise servers, they began their search for a cloud data warehouse that would scale their data when they wanted and how they wanted; all while saving them money. The Akamai team soon discovered Snowflake, realizing the flexibility and autonomy that came with making the move. Now, Akamai can store their “95 exabytes” of data at a cost that doesn’t break the bank.
Overview: Snowflake will take you to new heights with their platform that is built for the cloud. Build and share your data with ease throughout your organization, encouraging collaboration and seamless connectivity among users.
Pros: Speed, user friendly, scalability, ability to communicate and share insights throughout your team, built for the cloud, storage capabilities.
Cons: Integration with other tools could see improvements, SQL support.
Who Benefits: Entertainment, Media, Education, Financial Services, Healthcare, Life Sciences, Retail and CPG, Technology.
Student success is the leading initiative for any higher education institution. But how does one measure it? When Santa Barbara City College first approached Tableau, the must-have data virtualization tool, administrators wanted to uncover valuable insights to help them understand their students. The university had many questions about them. Who are they? What are their interests? How can we help them reach their academic goals? As a university of over 17,000 part-time and full-time students, their Institutional Research and Planning department knew that in order to find answers, they had to reach a new level of insights from their student data. With Tableau, they were able to see their university as a whole; where their students are succeeding, where they’re falling short, and how outstanding factors are contributing to their success. Tableau made it easy for the 2-year university to look at their student data and act on it to benefit their students. They looked at their data as a whole, as well as at an individual level; personalizing the higher education experience. With Tableau, SBCC is able to regulate their course offerings, encouraging more students to enroll in courses that align with their goals.
Overview: Share the story behind your data. Empower anyone on your team (regardless of their data background) to easily digest and reimagine your data through the creation of stunning and interactive visualizations.
Pros: High performing customized visualizations, mobile-friendly, integration with other data sources.
Cons: Leans on the pricier side, could benefit from security advancements, needs to be more flexible when entering an organization’s current workspace.
Who Benefits: Education, Financial Services, Energy & Resources, Public Sector, Retail, Manufacturing, Healthcare, Travel.
This organization was serious when they said that they have “BI solutions for every industry.” With custom solutions for: customer service, finance, government, healthcare, manufacturing, and many more; the Sisense team has made it their mission to utilize data analytics to “unleash user creativity and engagement.”
When Union General Hospital, a small, non-profit healthcare system approached Sisense, they made it clear what they were looking for in an analytics solution. The hospital’s patient data was unorganized and “lacking in reporting capability,” with the most concerning details being “basic information like who was in the hospital and what bed they were in would require a nurse to open a window in the EMR and physically count off the screen.” With limited IT resources, the hospital knew that they had to find a solution that was easy to use, cost-effective and proven. Enter Sisense. Since the hospital’s implementation, there is a new-found transparency throughout their day-to-day operations, allowing them to focus on what they know how to do best: providing stellar patient care. Now, Union General Hospital is proud to say that with Sisense, they have been able to reduce readmissions and review their data with live analytical reporting, changing the way they look at and use their data, allowing them to move towards achieving a data-driven culture.
Overview: Being the first analytics tool to offer a single-stack solution, Sisense is ideal for any organization who wants an all-in-one tool that is ready to explore and tackle the complexity of their data (from small sets to large sets) while transforming it into meaningful insights.
Pros: User friendly, smooth connectivity, customization can access on-premise or in the cloud, cost effective, data modeling, fast delivery time.
Cons: Lack of visualization, ElastiCube design frequents errors.
Who Benefits: Enterprise, Government, Healthcare, Supply Chain, Manufacturing, Retail, Software, Digital Marketing, Travel/Hospitality.
“Data is the safest investment in materials and chemicals,” says the Citrine Informatics team. Since being founded in 2013, the AI-fueled platform’s goal has remained the same: to create a more sustainable world in the materials and chemicals industry through sequential learning. How do they do it? The Citrine team works with data scientists and their technical teammates to create “reusable, modular units, and connect them to each other to represent known relationships.” Who benefits from Citrine’s technology? The German-based chemicals company Lanxess is using the technology to decrease glass-fiber sizing production times by more than 50%. With a company-wide adoption of AI technology, Lanxess can focus on creating a high-performance product with a shorter manufacturer to market lifespan.
Overview: Choose to be more efficient and sustainable by allowing Citrine Informatics’ AI-powered technology to do the heavy-lifting by simplifying and streamlining your material development.
Pros: Sequential learning backbone analyzes and interprets your data highlighting trends that influence your decision-making process.
Who Benefits: Chemicals and product materials companies.
We’ve all heard the tales of “overnight success”; household names who quickly climbed the ladder to what many would consider mainstream success. If you were to dive into any overnight success story, you would find that the journey took longer than the duration of a good night’s sleep. Popsocket, a company specializing in trendy phone accessories, quickly became the must-have phone accessory. With consumers ranging from generation Z to baby boomers, the company quickly witnessed “70,000% growth over a three-year period.” Popsockets quickly became a cultural trend in the tech accessory market and everyone had to have one. Success at this pace is rather extraordinary. Who do they owe it to? The Popsocket team credits Looker. As they saw themselves acquiring massive amounts of data in a short time frame, they knew that they needed a centralized data model equipped with the flexibility that their team desired. With Looker, the accessory company was able to unify their teams with a singular version of their data that meets their business needs, allowing them to digest and analyze their data in the same way.
Overview: If you’re looking for a tool that will deliver your data to “give everyone in your company a consistent and reliable picture of what’s happening in your business,” Looker is for you. This tool is guaranteed to give you the truth behind the numbers, enabling your team to dive deeper into their data.
Pros: Flexibility, user friendly, interoperability and connectivity with other data sources.
Cons: Limited visualizations, slow reporting, dashboard functionality.
Who Benefits: AdTech, Media, ECommerce, Non-profits, Finance, Education, Gaming, Healthcare, SaaS, Technology, Transportation.
|Snowflake||Entertainment, Media, Education, Financial Services, Healthcare, Life Sciences, Retail and CPG, Technology.||Speed, user friendly, scalability, ability to communicate and share insights throughout your team, built for the cloud, storage capabilities.||Integration with other tools could see improvements, SQL support.|
|Tableau||Education, Financial Services, Energy & Resources, Public Sector, Retail, Manufacturing, Healthcare, Travel.||High performing customized visualizations, mobile-friendly, integration with other data sources.||Leans on the pricier side, could benefit from security advancements, needs to be more flexible when entering an organization’s current workspace.|
|Sisense||Enterprise, Government, Healthcare, Supply Chain, Manufacturing, Retail, Software, Digital Marketing, Travel/Hospitality.||User friendly, smooth connectivity, customization can access on-premise or in the cloud, cost effective, data modeling, fast delivery time.||Lack of visualization, ElastiCube design frequents errors.|
|Citrine Informatics||Chemicals and product materials companies.||Sequential learning backbone analyzes and interprets your data highlighting trends that influence your decision-making process.|
|Looker||AdTech, Media, ECommerce, Non-profits, Finance, Education, Gaming, Healthcare, SaaS, Technology, Transportation.||Flexibility, user friendly, interoperability and connectivity with other data sources.||Limited visualizations, slow reporting, dashboard functionality.|
How AtScale Can Help
AtScale’s mission is to help BI teams access and utilize all of their data while eliminating business disruption. How do we do that? It starts with the freedom of choice and our ability to connect with any BI tool and platform. With AtScale, organizations can choose any vendor while we make data management and your move to the cloud more secure, agile, and efficient. Want to learn more? Download our overview.
While 2020 is yet to begin, it’s never too early to start making predictions. Who do you think has the title for “best big data analytics tool” for 2020? Let us know!