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Data Discovery Drives Business Intelligence

Author: Tobin Thankachen | | October 18, 2022


You can’t have superior “Business Intelligence” (BI) without excellent data retrieval, organization, and management.

Imagine this scenario: your company makes (what you believe to be) the world’s best widget. Your R&D process was stellar; the testing phase proved the widget went well beyond industry standards, and initial sales were through the roof. You elected to invest in a more robust production line to meet emerging annual sales projections.

However, after just a few months, sales dropped to almost nothing. Your revenues declined, you laid off production staff, and your expanded production line now sits idle. What happened? What went wrong? How can your company recover?

If your technology doesn’t support a robust ‘data discovery’ pipeline, you may never know what happened, never be able to replicate (let alone scale) your success, and you may have to kiss that expansion investment goodbye.

Data Discovery = Key to BI

Despite BI being the popular buzzword these days, too many companies fail to invest in the data discovery pipelines needed to generate that analytical data. Data discovery is an element of data management, and managing data is the fundamental concept underscoring the value of business intelligence. Accurate, comprehensive, and timely data requires careful collection, curation, and evaluation to be useful as the source of business intelligence wisdom. Without an artfully architected data discovery infrastructure, most companies cannot sufficiently maximize the values in their databanks to appropriately impact their BI decisions.

Extending the example above clarifies these points:

  • Imagine that the data indicating high sales percentages were generated from a single location and did not reflect an aggregation of organization-wide sale activities.
  • Imagine if users loved the widget so much that they modified it to address multiple uses. However, your system doesn’t give them a way to report back to you what they are doing with your (now most popular) corporate asset.
  • Imagine that your marketing messaging only reached 1/3 of your target audience because your technology failed to connect with edge users.

Without a fully developed and managed data discovery center, you made your investment decision based on inaccurate, insufficient, and flat-out erroneous information. In this scenario, your enterprise would have been better served had you invested in an appropriate data discovery platform.

Data Discovery Benefits

The challenge you and other business leaders face is that many different types of data flow into data warehouses, and they all require distinctly different handling to extract their full value. Most typical on-prem technology suites do not have the capacity to capture, cleanse, integrate, and apply the value of all that available data.

However, gaining the technology to manage all that disparate data delivers tremendous benefits:

  • Leaders know where their corporate data originates, where it’s stored, and its relevance to corporate activities.
  • They also have full control over who can access company information and how that information is used.
  • A comprehensive data discovery platform also offers risk management and compliance assessment functions that can be automated to ensure that sensitive enterprise information remains protected.
  • Not least significant, creative data discovery practices can reveal new uses for corporate intelligence to develop new products, implement new services, or open new markets.

In fact, the benefits gained from a robust data discovery architecture suggest that companies should prioritize investments in those assets before investing in expanded production facilities. Doing so provides the C-Suite with the information it needs to accurately and efficiently direct corporate growth opportunities.

Build Business Intelligence on Discovered Data

Remarkably, many business leaders these days do not yet understand the full scope of what is meant by the term “business intelligence.”

business intelligence platform provides the data capture, integration, application, and analysis functions that ultimately reveal how well a company is doing:

  • A series of applications capture the inflow of data from all sources and direct it into databases, data warehouses, and data lakes. Those repositories (bases, warehouses, and lakes) differ based on the type of data they collect and the methods by which they store it.
  • A subsequent series of applications evaluate the data, then sort it for accuracy, integrity, and comprehensiveness. Inaccurate, erroneous, or incomplete data is disposed of, and the resulting “cleansed” information is stored according to the system’s architectural dictates.
  • Still another series of applications takes the clean data and applies it where its users can access it. In this layer, data will be replicated (if necessary) into various systems depending on their relevance to that system’s activities. From these structures, the corporate information becomes operational. For example, sales figures will flow to the financial, production, and R&D departments, where each sector will utilize the data according to its specific needs.
  • Ultimately, the BI series of programs will analyze the aggregated corporate data to determine the success of fundamental business processes, where bottlenecks or losses are occurring, where new opportunities might lie, and justify the value of corporate investments.

Again extending the above example, your organization’s BI suite of programs would tell you exactly which locations were reporting sales data, which sites were not reporting at all, the volume of sales, the markets in which those sales were made, the comments left by satisfied and unsatisfied consumers, and any other relevant information that impacts your company’s value. It can also provide you and your entire enterprise team with visualized dashboards designed to meet specific user needs and keep all informed of where their efforts are contributing to the company’s overall success. Finally, the data discovery pipelines and their correlated BI programs ensure that you have all the information you need to make more appropriate and accurate leadership decisions.

Datavail’s professional data discovery and business intelligence technologists have assisted hundreds of companies in their quest to capture, clarify, and appropriately act on their proprietary corporate information. They can help you determine where challenges arise within your current system and provide consultation and advice about your options to repair those concerns, improve your overall architecture, and (potentially) modernize your entire organization.

Learn how a Data Expert Improved its Data Integration, Storage and Reporting by modernizing their data capture, conversion, storage, management, and retrieval system.

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