Smart Data Discovery – How smart can we become in the future?

By SunTec

A look into the future of BI and how it can help enhance business value.

Smart data discovery sounds simple enough but can be tough to explain. It essentially means exploring data in a less-than-structured way, to discover hidden patterns and trends for maximizing business impact. This is a relatively new BI trend that empowers users to perform self-service analysis- data preparation, native language queries and automatic creation of visualizers. The term ‘smart’comes into play because this functionality is provided based on artificial intelligence (example: IBM Watson).

What is Smart Data Discovery?

Data discovery was always a case of building data models and/or writing algorithms. Not anymore! ‘Smart’ data discovery is a next-gen data discovery potential by readily finding and presenting data through visualization and machine-generated narration. Smart data discovery is an encapsulation of predictive analytics, interactive data visualization, pattern matching and machine learning to produce automated decision support.

Smart data discovery comes in many avatars, namely search-based, visual-based and graph-based. It is interesting to note that although new and improved techniques are introduced (and replaced) frequently, the methodology used to analyze data has remained more or less the same over the years. The biggest change that has been noticed is the automation of these methodologies via the introduction of smart data discovery tools. Smart data discovery can provide quick insights, while advanced data visualization tools help provide new levels of granularity in a single interface.

The following activities denote the future smart data discovery flow:
Source: Gartner 

The opportunities and industry trends

Smart data discovery will take Business Intelligence to the next level, primarily because of its ease of use and the ease with which it helps users to find new insights in data. Data discovery tools in the past have been highly manual and made it next to impossible to trace every possible combination and pattern. Future business intelligence platforms will incorporate smart data discovery at its root. This will help in obtaining deeper insights into a broad range of business fields.

Banks can use this to enhance the contextual offering to the customer, and deliver it even before the customers asks for it. With banking and IoT in sync, this will become rather a prerequisite. Also, as the regulatory reporting environment for financial institutions evolves, smart data discovery solutions will help banks in report preparation. The complexity of retail banking structure makes it a prime target to further expand this newest form of technology. Recently, BeyondCore implemented smart data discovery analytics at First Interstate Bank

Smart data discovery can also help retailers to analyze consumer trends in real-time and come up with tailored products and services to capture customer attention and deliver seamless customer experience orchestration. It will ease decision making and help retailers compete better in the digital marketplace. MasterCard and McDonald’s are looking at the complete implementation of smart data discovery to optimize customer analytics.

IBM Watson is considered by most as the flag-bearer for smart data discovery. The thing to note, as seen from the plethora of advertisements by IBM, is that the technology is spreading in every business domain and every industry and will have a tremendous impact. Also driving this new world revolution are SAS and startup vendors such as BeyondCore, DataRobot, DataRPM and SparkBeyond.

The roadmap for a smart data discovery model looks like this:

The transformation – Value and Impact

According to a Gartner report, many forms of data discovery will converge and form the modern data discovery platform. Accordingly, smart data discovery will help deliver granular insights to a broader set of users, not only data scientists. There could also be a case of imbibing traditional data analytics and BI setup with the new and upcoming smart data discovery platforms.

Although the usage and adoption of smart data discovery is picking up, it cannot be overlooked in the times to come and is predicted to transform the analytics and BI platforms in the next two to five years. This will require data scientists to focus only on the smart findings which require further strengthening or analysis. This will not only reduce computation time but also enhance business value. Imagine what banks could do and offer the finest of data discoveries. The speed at which smart data discovery will develop in the near future will have huge impacts on almost all industries. It’ll help push the right information to the right user at the right time.

What the future holds

While the scale and frequency of data creation present significant data management challenges, it also provides opportunities to develop insightful analytics. Smart data discovery methods provide highly contextualized results for the most tailored use cases. Rita Sallam, research vice president at Gartner, says: “This evolution will likely facilitate accelerated growth of the citizen data and make new sources of information accessible, consumable and meaningful to organizations of all sizes, even ones that don’t have extensive advanced analytics skills or in-house resources.”

Smart data discovery is the beginning of a revolution in Business Intelligence. The current data discovery and visualization tools will get smarter, requiring minimal analytical expertise to help move the business user quickly from questions to insights. Proper guidance in this regard will lead to greater information gathering, better decision making, simpler analysis and ultimately to proactive insights. This is the future, the ‘smart’ way!

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