Visualization and explorative data analysis for business users (known as data discovery) have evolved into the hottest business intelligence and analytics topic in today’s market. 2,800 BI professionals confirmed its importance for the second year in a row in BARC’s BI Trend Monitor 2017.
In this article, we will explain our view on data discovery and its value for companies. Results from The BI Survey and BI Trend Monitor will demonstrate how BI professionals rate the importance of this trend and its increasing adoption in recent years. Finally, we will provide a short overview of the data discovery tools available on the market today.
What is data discovery?
Data discovery is not a tool. It is a business user oriented process for detecting patterns and outliers by visually navigating data or applying guided advanced analytics. Discovery is an iterative process that does not require extensive upfront model creation. We cluster it into three main categories:
Data discovery requires skills in understanding data relationships and data modeling as well as in using data analysis and guided advanced analytics functions to reveal insights.
Data integration and data preparation (i.e., data integration for business users) capabilities help business users to connect to relevant enterprise and external data sources (e.g., those provided by partners). As data is becoming increasingly complex, users require flexible functions to be able to efficiently access and prepare their data for analysis.
Interactive and new visualization types enable decision-makers to see, within an instant, major trends, as well as spot outliers.
Visualizations make use of our brains’ pattern recognition capabilities to digest information at a glance or even pre-attentively. Users are better at finding insights and detecting outliers if data is presented in charts and graphs on one page, versus being buried in data tables spanning multiple pages.
Visual analysis is an important feature that is increasingly being sought by enterprises seeking more efficient ways for decision-makers to absorb and act on data.
Furthermore, guided advanced analytics functions provide statistical information on data which users can employ for more sophisticated and pattern oriented data analysis. It is a challenge to provide ready-to-use advanced statistical functions for business users and deliver proper outcomes without the need to write code.
The guidance users can expect from today’s leading data discovery tools has not only enabled access to advanced functions, but also to automated suggestions of suitable algorithms to tackle certain business problems and evaluations of the outcomes of different algorithms.
This area has seen a lot of investment – by both vendors and customers – in recent years. Our market research results confirm the importance of data discovery.
Data discovery is currently amongst the hottest BI trends
Almost all respondents who contributed to the 2017 BARC BI Trend Monitor see data exploration and visualization as important trends.