Getting the most out of your Big Data and Analytics tools: Data Cleansing, Integration, and Visualization

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At this start of this series on Big Data and analytics, I mentioned that Intel derived US$351 million in value from its analytics programs during 2014.  While access to tools such as Cloudera Hadoop is very important, the best analytic tools in the world are not useful unless you can feed them correct, valid, and relevant data.   And even if you do get that data and are able to analyze it, analysis capabilities still are not useful unless the results can get them to the people able to take actions based on them.

Ashok Agarwal talks about some of these issues in his blog post on connected data.  15 years of data stored in some 4000 spreadsheets and other sources were integrated in a single database in an 18 month long program of data cleansing and consolidation.    That data, when fed into a decision support system, yielded US$264 million in increased revenue.

Gathering and analyzing data is not the only way to get value from this data.  Ashok also mentioned that how that data will be coupled with an advanced data visualization tool called the Info Wall. The Info Wall was designed so the executives could easily manipulate the historical data, through touch, to make actionable decisions that can improve business.

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I had a chance to experiment with the Info Wall.  The paper mentions hosting multiple data sources, and these can be simultaneously visualized like the many graphs shown to the right.  Other data sources can be television. I experienced opening a feed from a television channel with my hands.  The title of the white paper on the Info Wall is “Collaborative Visual Data Analysis Enables Faster, Better Decisions," and the Info Wall is definitely capable of being used collaboratively. Multiple people can manipulate data sources at the same time, and they have plenty of room as the Info Wall takes up one entire wall of a conference room.  The Info Wall will gaining more capability in the future as people from multiple sites will be able to collaborate.

You can find out more about the capabilities of the Info Wall and the data cleansing and integration efforts needed to make it work in this white paper.