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Big data in the hands of users

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Operational intelligence is another broad area where streaming data can be valuable. “Predictive maintenance is a huge area,” he explains. “Using streaming data it is possible to correlate multiple factors and detect when an issue goes from green to orange mode, not just looking at a single parameter, but a combination of multiple values in real time.” Those factors are matched up with previous patterns that indicated a problem.

The business value of streaming analytics should be the focus of a company’s decision on whether to deploy it, according to Venugopal, rather than thinking about what technology to use. However, usability is also a critical factor. “We have drag and drop for some of the algorithms to build out a model,” he explains. “This makes it very appealing to data scientists. The idea is for a variety of individuals to be able to use the platform to assemble an application.”

Optimizing use of big data

Three elements are essential to make the most of big data, according to Ramon Chen, CMO of Reltio. “Start with clean data,” he says. “Master data management is foundational for any analytics project, including big data.” The second is to personalize information that is delivered. “You may have an enormous amount of data, but only a subset is going to matter to any given individual,” Chen continues. “It’s important to provide access to the most relevant information but also in a very integrated way. For example, a customer service agent should have a full view of the customer, beyond the view provided by the CRM system.”

Finally, big data should be leveraged not only to respond to inquiries but also to proactively deliver information. “The system should be able to make recommendations based on all the information that is available with a continuous feedback loop to improve them with each interaction,” he says.

Reltio provides a sophisticated platform-as-a-service (PaaS) environment, Reltio Cloud, in which enterprise applications can be developed. Among the built-in features are master data management (MDM), the ability to ingest third-party data and Reltio Commercial Graph. The company also offers a variety of industry-specific products that are prepopulated with functionality and relevant content.

Cognitive computing capability supports the ability to make recommendations and improve them over time, based on user responses. Reltio Commercial Graph provides visualization of relationships among people, facts and events. Its approach of storing information about nodes is similar to that used by Facebook (facebook.com) and LinkedIn (linkedin.com), revealing connectivity among elements that would be difficult or impossible to discern from a traditional database.

“We saw that big data was coming,” says Chen, “and we also saw that many applications were mired in relational databases and did not provide a comprehensive picture.” Business software has not yet reached the level of advanced consumer-aware software such as that of Amazon (amazon.com), which integrates information about customers’ searches, purchases and ratings. “Business software should be able to do the same thing, with suggestions offered based on historical data, and the ability to accurately predict outcomes,” he adds.

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