Data Discovery

Data discovery is one of the hotter topics in business intelligence now. I would almost put it ahead ofsocial, although a lot of marketing departments would disagree with us on that one!

The rapid growth of tools like Tableau, Qlikview, Spotfire and others really shows that there is a strong demand for this type of analysis in organizations. Although I consider those software tools more geared toward visualizations, they definitely have a large discovery portion to them as well. Tableau does call themselves more discovery based, as does SiSense.

The definition can be a little vague, with some firms considering it more for information that is “lost”or hidden in the stacks of databases and excel sheets in an organization. From a BI perspective though,this refers more to the ability to visually explore datasets to find answers to questions. Some vendors call this “insight” or “exploration”, such as MicroStrategy Visual Insight. SAS calls their product Visual Data Discovery. The idea is that a tool or solution is intuitive and flexible enough to allow analysts to dig into the data to find outliers and the source of information that might appear out of place. Users can go from a high level quickly down to the low level detail to understand what happened in the company’s operations. These tools are good for two things, quickly building an application or model, and giving theoption for a bunch of visual graphs, charts, and widgets.

Here are some of the top visualization focused vendors right now:

Tableau – Has a bunch of visualizations and is known for being quite user friendly.

Spotfire – Known for more of their health, pharma, and life sciences statistical ability, but also has a strong visualization end.

Qlikview – They are trying to bridge the gap between traditional BI and more agile, but they have pretty solid visualizations.

Dundas – They are more dashboard focused than the above, but they do but a strong emphasis on best practices.

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