2015: Removing Blind Spots and Bringing Data Intelligence to Everyone

In the classic words of an unlikely Big Data pundit, Sherlock Holmes:
“I never guess. It’s a shocking habit that’s destructive to the logical faculty.”

Ironically, “guessing” is what we do when we get presented with visualizations and charts that were put together with the best intentions to answer the business’s burning questions. That’s because that’s all most business users can do when presented with IT-generated analytical views and pre-wired dashboards. What’s lost in 70 percent of these views is the unexplored data detail behind it. The underlying data detail is where the real truth lies. Companies large and small now realize that they need to break this pattern of IT-generated  “look but don’t touch” dashboards.

The bulk of Big Data and the data details are trapped in IT-controlled repositories, applications and external data sources that have been hard to access. What reaches the business viewers’ desktop or tablet is a sliver of all the available data and the bulk of it is left unexplored in the backroom. The only real value from the emergence of the “Big Data” term over the last couple years is helping raise businesses awareness of the data-hoarding problem. They now realize that valuable data exists within the company and externally, yet their business runs with blind spots daily as they can’t get to the data in any intuitive, meaningful way. Across Global 2000 companies, awareness of these Big Data blind spots is half the revolution. Solving the problem for the business is the other half.  2015 stands to mark the rise of a new decade of data awareness and data addiction for everyone in the business.

So what do new solutions need to solve for? Businesses of all kinds are wrestling with getting their hands on more data, and being able to intuitively and freely explore data to reach new insights that are timely and relevant. In polling more than 500 Global 2000 leaders over the last few months, the biggest universal struggle is the sheer number of data sources and data formats they need to wrangle. Organizations don’t have the expertise nor the time to handle this complexity. The majority said they struggle when it comes to wrestling 4 or more sources, and nearly half said they routinely need to blend 8 to 15+ data sources for holistic insights. The diversity of sources however makes this extremely difficult. This needs to be solved in two ways; first, automating the access and data wrangling steps, and second, giving business users an intuitive application they can use that doesn’t require them to be data geeks.

What this boils down to is the five factors that will dominate the Global 2000 data discussion in 2015. It’s these factors, that will result in traditional Business Intelligence (BI) solutions and the most-used business data tool, Microsoft Excel, to hit a wall in 2015.

At ClearStory Data, we’re passionate in our quest to overcome the five barriers that have otherwise decelerated progress towards more ubiquity for data intelligence across business users. The benefits  of the new breed of solutions that speed and ease data storytelling are vast and significant — both for IT and the Business.

Coming full circle to the Sherlock Holmes’ approach and his unending quest for real data, real evidence and predictions: “It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.”

In essence, we see a big opportunity for real data-driven smarts through freedom of exploration of a variety of data sources, instead of sixth sense, and new user experiences that are on par with the best consumer applications and devices.