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Bi News & Analysis

MapR Raises its Hadoop-Without-the-Headaches Play

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While much of the drama in the Hadoop world of late has surrounded the Open Data Platform (ODP) initiative, there’s progress outside of it, too.

Today MapR announced that its Hadoop distribution now ships with Apache Drill 1.0. Apache Drill —an open source, low latency SQL query engine for Hadoop and NoSQL.

Its promise is that it makes it easier for end users to interact with data from both legacy transactional systems and new data sources, such as Internet of Things (IoT) sensors, web click-streams and other semi-structured data, along with support for popular business intelligence (BI) and data visualization tools.

Birst Wants to Solve BI's Usability Problem

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Business intelligence applications are known for delivering wonderfully robust computations about a company or its client base or suppliers — or well, just about anything.

Sadly, these applications are also known for being very difficult to use. The earliest iterations literally required a data scientist to serve as an operator.

Later versions were developed with the business user in mind. These were easier to use. But even developers of these applications will admit BI is not the first application that leaps to mind when you hear the term "user friendly."

Birst expects to change that with the seemingly simple development of a new user interface it calls Birst 5X. A look underneath the hood suggests the company may be right.

Microsoft VP: Yea, We're Better Than Amazon

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In an exclusive interview with CMSWire’s Virginia Backaitis last week, Microsoft Corporate Vice President T. K. “Ranga” Rengarajan threw down the gauntlet with Amazon. He challenged Amazon's Redshift cloud-based data warehouse to scale the way Microsoft’s new Azure SQL Data Warehouse does, with respect to both compute size and storage capacity.

Rengarajan’s challenge raised some interesting questions, including, “What are we talking about here?”

Look! The Mini Googles are Coming

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Fresh off of its $30 million in Series B funding, Santa Cruz, Calif.-based Looker has launched a new business intelligence platform that it claims will lead to the launch — or at least transformation — of companies into data-driven entities. Call them mini Googles.

In general, that is where the industry has been heading anyway, CEO Frank Bien told CMSWire.

"What we are seeing unfold now is the newest generation of companies really using data to change the culture of their companies."

Microsoft Aims for Amazon with Elastic SQL #Build2015

Hey Amazon, can Redshift do this?

We know the kinder, gentler, “we play nice with everyone” Microsoft would never egg AWS boss Andy Jassy on like this, but here's the deal: Today at Build 2015, Microsoft executive vice president for cloud and enterprise Scott Guthrie made a whole slew of “elastic” announcements — some involving technologies that will make data scientists pretty happy.

Most notable, from our point of view, is the Azure SQL Data Warehouse, an elastic Data Warehouse-as-a-Service with enterprise class-features.

"Unlike Redshift, you can independently adjust the amount of compute and storage you use in a SQL data warehouse. This allows you to... adjust your data warehouse in seconds... allowing you to increase and decrease pretty much at will," said Guthrie.

What if Marketers Got Paid By Commission?

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Imagine for a second that you run a sales division. Now imagine that your team’s goals are to show up for work, respond to emails, write compelling messages to their prospects and complete projects that their chain of command likes. The metrics they own are superficial, like how many emails answered, how many calls made and so on.

Do you think revenue would suffer with this approach?

Birst & Tableau: The BI World May Not Be Dog Eat Dog

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No one makes data shine brighter than Tableau. It’s why the BI vendor stands so far above the crowd in Gartner's BI and Analytics Platforms MQ Leaders report.

Think of Walt Disney answering some of your most pressing business questions. There’d have to be a picture, and you’d probably even be able to interact with it.

That’s what Tableau gives you: Answers in vizzes and tools that invite you to play with your data. Maybe Tableau’s magic has something to do with the fact that one of the company’s founders, Pat Hanrahan, once worked for Pixar and has won two Academy Awards for Science and Technology.

So it’s no wonder that Gartner BI Challenger Birst showed an interest in hooking up with Tableau. Today the vendors announced a “partnership” in the form of an ODBC connector that makes it easy for their mutual customers to leverage Birst’s data extraction and normalization engine with Tableau.

Microsoft's Power BI Gets Mobile Muscle

Shortly after Satya Nadella took the helm at Microsoft, he began talking about a “data culture.” Two of his favorite tools —Microsoft Delve and Power BI — are supposed to be key in helping us live and work smarter.

The Microsoft boss has told us this over and over again.

And given that we live in an increasingly mobile-first world, being able to glean intelligence via our mobile devices is a must. So it should come as no great shock that Microsoft today announced that it has acquired Datazen, an industry leader in mobile business intelligence and data visualization on Windows, iOS and Android devices.

A Look at Gartner's Data Management Analytics Leaders

It’s hard to believe that just a few short years ago Hadoopers were running around declaring that data warehouses were dying.

They argued that the proprietary hardware and software they required was too expensive … that the amount and kinds of data that existing data technologies could handle was too limited … and that solutions based on commodity hardware and open source software would rule.

Fast-forward to 2015 and you’ll see that the naysayers were at least partly wrong.

Data Warehouses aren’t going anywhere. Instead they’re being augmented to support new data structures and new data types like XML, text, documents, geospatial and access to externally managed file systems.

In its Magic Quadrant for Data Warehouse and Data Management Solutions for Analytics, Gartner analysts Mark A. Beyer and Roxane Edjlali suggest that enterprises should embrace hybrid technology platforms.

These platforms need to expand beyond the logical data warehouse and leverage multiple repository strategies, whether from multiple vendors or just one.

A 3 Point Plan to Preserve Institutional Expertise

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Social learning ranks high today among the priorities of learning and development professionals in businesses large and small. It’s easy to see why -- studies have found that informal knowledge sharing among colleagues is responsible for 70 to 80 percent of the information employees learn on the job.

But how does the increasingly popular trend of social learning differ from the more established practice of knowledge management?

At their core, these activities are two sides of the same coin: both are concerned with information sharing among employees to drive greater productivity, collaboration and the preservation of institutional knowledge. It’s the way in which these two practices accomplish their goals that sets them apart.

AtScale Bridges the Hadoop Opportunity with BI Tools

You don’t need to buy a new BI tool to glean insight from data stored in Hadoop, so said Dave Mariani, CEO and founder of AtScale.

After all, some enterprises already use as many as 55 different BI solutions as it is, which is about 50 too many by most accounts. So does acquiring yet another analytics tool and training analysts to use it in order to glean insights from big data, in real time, make sense?

Not if there’s a way to accomplish the same thing using BI tools you already own, use and love.

That’s the premise behind AtScale.

Money and More: It Pays To Be a B*DAS* Developer [Infographic]

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With big data and analytics being all the rage, hiring a Big Data, Analytics Software (thus the term B*DAS*) developer is no easy task. “Developers are the kingmakers,” explained Matt Asay, vice president of mobile at Adobe. At the time he said that, he was working at MongoDB.

And the job rate for this kind of worker is growing faster than the amount of qualified talent.

This is a problem for employers because 3rd platform developers write the software that can catapult them to new heights or let them float into oblivion. And we’re not talking only startups, but also big companies like Nordstrom, Cigna, FICO and even the Federal Government. They need these kinds of workers, too.

As a result, businesses are pulling out all the stops to attract developers. But before they can do that, they need to discover who these developers are and how they prefer to work. Otherwise, there’s no point in putting a perks package together.

Your Data Is a Mess: Investors Pile Funds into BI

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Investors have been piling money into business intelligence (BI) startups in recent weeks, suggesting their next-generation approach to BI is gaining momentum.

Most recently, San Francisco-based Birst raised another $65 million in funding. In addition, Santa Cruz, Calif.-based Looker raised $30 million in Series B funding.

Make Room for Gartner's BI and Analytics Platforms MQ Leaders

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Twenty four is a crowd -- yet that’s how many vendors made it into Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence (BI) and Analytics circa 2015.

For enterprises that are shopping for BI and Analytics solutions, choice may seem like a good thing until you consider what evaluating that many vendors might look like -- most of us wouldn’t even consider trying on 24 pairs of jeans.

Ready for a Bite? First Fruits of IBM-Twitter Deal Ripen

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IBM and Twitter announced the first concrete results from a five-month-old partnership.

The new offerings include a number of cloud-based services that mine Twitter data, as well as new developer tools.

IBM is running the new data analytics services on top of its artificial intelligence technology and IBM BigInsights for Apache Hadoop, one of its big data platforms.

The goal is to help enterprises not just identify relevant Twitter data, but also exploit it.

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