Big Data and the Analytical Platform


Big data is most valuable when analyzed in conjunction with traditional data sets, such as sales or customer data.

The use of analytical software increasingly drives decision-making in today’s most agile organizations. So significant has this practice become, that many software vendors now tout "analytic platforms" designed for strategically managing the use of data-driven analysis. But what exactly is an analytic platform? And where does so-called big data fit within the context of analytics? We explored those key questions in a recent episode of "The Briefing Room", featuring Analyst John Myers of Enterprise Management Associates, and Paul Ross of Alteryx, a vendor with well-heeled clients like Walmart.


Data is useful in context, not so much in isolation. Big data is most valuable when analyzed in conjunction with traditional data sets, such as sales or customer data. Alteryx provides an intuitive user interface atop a production-and-consumption workflow environment that facilitates both the creation of analytical apps, and the consumption of derived insights. The software seeks to "humanize" big data by enabling users to combine it with more traditional information assets from across the organization. Business analysts and "data artisans" can perform predictive and spatial analytics, as well as produce applications that can be shared via private cloud or the Alteryx Analytics Gallery public cloud.

Here’s what we learned:

  • Alteryx Strategic Analytics is a desktop-to-cloud agile business intelligence and analytics solution designed for data artisans and business strategists.
  • There are three keys to making data user friendly: 1) time-to-decision – insights must be in the hands of the business quickly; 2) the software must provide data analysts with the right functionality to make use of whatever data they need; 3) the platform must make consuming analytics as easy as the applications that decision-makers use at home.
  • Unifying analytic workflows reduces time and increases an organization’s efficiency.
  • The "production-consumption" workflow environment is optimized for the user and the engineer. The "consumption" environment consists of analytic applications, while the studio, or "production," environment consists of predictive macros and tools for designing applications.
  • A survey conducted by Economist Intelligence Unit revealed that 77 percent of executive managers believe that employees with big data insight make more informed decisions. In addition, 74 percent of executive managers believe that the more data is shared, the more effective the decisions become.
  • Myers suggested that the definition of big data is changing from a technology definition to a business definition as more organizations find ways to leverage this relatively new source of insights.

Event Details:

Three Keys for Making Big Data User-Friendly-20121127 2101-1
1 hour 10 mins


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Jessica Marie

Strategist, mental ominvore and aspiring data artisan, Jessica Marie is an analyst with The Bloor Group. Her background includes finance and operations management of commercial and community banks, but she now focuses on the nexus of enterprise technology and Big Data. She holds a bachelors degree in International Studies from California State University, East Bay, and an Executive MBA from Saint Mary's College of California. She is also pursuing graduate coursework in Strategy and Risk Management at Stanford.