Find the hidden easter eggs in your data

Easter Egg HuntThe great annual, Easter Egg Hunt is over. On Sunday morning, millions of children, and quite a few adults, indulged in the ancient tradition of searching for hidden treasures to celebrate Easter.

For techies, Easter Eggs are quirky features, such as jokes or games, that are intentionally hidden within other applications, for example, the flight simulator hidden within early versions of Microsoft Excel.

Similarly, there are hidden treasures, and landmines, within most corporate data sets.

Typical data analysis will not pick these up.

Data analysts that rely on SQL, or on SQL heavy  BI tools, can ask complex questions of data and get the results.

The traditional BI methodology can be summarised as “Ask a question. Develop the query. See the answer.”

The hidden data Easter Eggs and landmines are never found because no one knows what questions to ask. Like the flight simulator in Excel, if you don’t know what you are looking for you will never find it. This means that hidden data issues continue to compromise our business processes and we cannot take any action to remedy them.

Data profiling and discovery tools play an important role in exposing data to the analyst. They discover the hidden Easter eggs in your data Tweet this

Data profiling tools ask all the important questions and present the results in an intuitive visual way.This approach can be described as “See the answers. Ask more relevant questions”. This allows the analyst to focus on the business impact of hidden data issues, not on trying to figure out what questions to ask to find them. They also save huge amounts of time allowing the analyst to deliver value quickly and repeatedly.

Get the Bloor Research data profiling guide here

The shift toward self-service BI and data discovery continues to gain momentum as business users increasingly take control of their own analytics requirements. In his session at the Gartner BI and Analytics conference, analyst Dan Sommer predicted that “more half of new licence spend in BI will be driven by data discovery requirements.”

Limited self service and discovery capability remains a real hurdle for the wide spread adoption of big data analytics. Tweet this

Innovative new vendors that focus on self service solutions for big data management and analytics save companies millions in development efforts while allowing existing staff to deliver valuable insights quickly and easily.

In How sexy are your business analysts? I discussed how business knowledge, not technical skills, are the most critical success factor for data science. Existing business analysts, data analysts and business users empowered with intuitive tools are the best route to successful big data analytics.

The data discover land scape remains an emerging market, particularly in the big data arena. New players are disrupting the market by building solutions designed from the ground up to take advantage of Hadoop while avoiding its technical complexities, while established players are scrambling to catch up.

Request the Gigaom Research 2014 Data Discovery sector road map now Tweet this

For more information on our data profiling and data discovery solutions contact us


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