Anzo Smart Data Access
Smart Data Access is a new paradigm in using data to make rapid, informed, high-quality decisions across an enterprise. Smart Data solutions are marked by these characteristics:
- ...deal with any data, including non-conventional data
- ...focus on end-user self-service
- ...low cost to build
- ...evolve quickly and flexibly
- ...tailored to specific business purposes
Let's look at each part of the phrase in turn:
A key value of Smart Data solutions is the unified view of information that they provide. There are three increasingly valuable ways in which a Smart Data solution can unify information:
- Aggregated. Aggregated information is information that's been brought together into one place. Instead of asking users to log in to a dozen different databases and systems and run a dozen different searches to find everything they want to know about a topic, a UIA solution will provide a single, complete view of all information known about the topic. This saves end users a great deal of time and reduces the chance that a key piece of information goes unnoticed.
- Harmonized. Harmonized information has been merged on common entities and concepts. It's not enough to aggregate information if we're unable to tell that IBM and International Business Machines are the same company. A unified approach to Smart Data access means that all occurrences of any particular topic are harmonized, regardless of how they're identified in different sources.
- Integrated. Integrated information is directly linked to related information to facilitate powerful search and analytics. Integrated information allows users to easily perform complex searches and calculations based on attributes of a topic that come from different sources.
Enterprise data integration software has been integrating information for decades, but conventional ETL, EII, and EAI technology are severely limited in the types of information that they can work with. A hallmark of Smart Data Access, on the other hand, is the breadth of information that can be easily accessed:
- Structured data. This is the fixed, predictable, and well-understood data that conventional data integration usually deals in: data from relational databases, from Web services, from proprietary APIs, etc.
- Unstructured data. Unstructured data is data pulled from text content. This is information buried inside of documents, presentations, emails, Web pages, social media sites, etc.
- Semi-structured data. Semi-structured data occupies the nebulous area in between structured and unstructured data. Spreadsheets are a prime and ubiquitous example of semi-structured data, as they regularly mix structured tables of data with critical data sprinkled in arbitrary cells throughout a worksheet. Other examples of semi-structured data include mixed XML content and tables of information embedded inside web pages.
Access from Anywhere
A unified approach to information from any source is helpful, but unless that information can be accessed as needed to solve the particular business problem at hand on any given day, its value is limited. Smart Data Access is the key to making unified information as valuable as it can be, and it includes:
- Any location. Increasingly, more and more of the data that end users need is owned by someone else. Key pieces of data might reside in another business unit's database; or they may be in a spreadsheet on a colleague's desktop; or in a supply-chain partner's ERP system; or the data might be part of a subscription database from a content vendor; or perhaps the data is publicly available on the web. UIA solutions provide access to data regardless of where it is.
- Anyone. Smart Data access is not just for IT personnel; instead, Smart Data solutions allow non-technical end users—such as business analysts, executives, LOB directors, etc.—to pull together information on their own
- Anytime. Users rarely know in advance what data they'll need or how they'll need to use it. With Smart Data Access, users see rapid turnaround times, bringing in new sources of information in minutes or hours rather than weeks or months.
- Any access path. Smart Data Access doesn't only refer to how the data is originally retrieved. It also refers to giving users a myriad of ways to consume the unified information, ranging from monthly reports to BI dashboards to web search to Excel spreadsheets, to SQL or MS Access and much more.