FASTforward09: David White, Kusiri

David White of Kusiri finished up the afternoon of breakout sessions with a presentation on using customer data to drive business results. He started with some statistics about just how much data flows through businesses: 85% of all data is managed by enterprises, and that’s 85% of a very large number. Businesses, however, need actionable information, not just data, so we start to apply technologies such as search and business intelligence to explore and make sense of the data.

Business intelligence, however, hasn’t delivered the goods, particularly in the area of unstructured content such as documents: BI typically relies on structured (database) data within the firewall, and that doesn’t provide a complete view of things. Traditional search – represented by the “search box” (I think that the presenters are not allowed to say the G-word) – provides too many irrelevant results, hence also not that useful. But just like Goldilocks, we have a solution that’s just right: search applications, that is, a search-powered application that searches across internal and external data, both structured and unstructured, and guides you to actionable information through navigation.

He showed us some screen snapshots from a search application that they have built, but difficult to see and not interactive so not very compelling, as demos go. Overall, it’s a portal-like dashboard application where the widgets in the portal are actually the results of searches. From here, you can click through on a line item to drill down into the information (again, which uses search behind the scenes) to see more detailed information from a variety of sources, as well as additional tools and functionality for taking action on the data or further analyzing it. There’s a lot of functionality here, presented in the sort of dashboard/drill-down visual analysis environment that you might expect to see from a BI system, but accessing information from sources that you’d never have access to in your BI system.

White’s prediction is that in five years, typing criteria into a search box will appear hopelessly outdated: search will just be implicit in the applications that we use to access information. Both the sources of data and the questions that you’re going to ask will change, and traditional BI and search methods can’t handle that; instead, you’ll be using a new generation of search applications that allow you to traverse the data universe.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.