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Overview BIRT BOBJ Cognos iViz MSTR OBIEE QV R Splunk Spotfire Tableau

What are some of the biggest operational problems with today's Business Intelligence (BI) tools?

Velocity
In performance terms, BI and analytic tools cannot process big data sets; if they work at all, they will take a long time to display results. In temporal terms, many BI tools cannot handle real-time or brokered data without pre-processing. In efficiency terms, integrating data in the BI layer is not only slow, it's redundant because it's performed every time a report is needed. 
Variety
The myriad of structured, semi-structured, and unstructured data sources available today is beyond the reach or processing capabilities of most BI tools.
Complexity
The design and modification of report and dashboard layouts are already complicated. Integrating data from disparate sources for every new report is a another challenge for data and ETL architects, DBAs, and business users. Data silos also create data quality, security, storage, and synchronization challenges.
Veracity
Garbage in, garbage out. Most BI tools and newer generation data preparation tools do not have the capacity to determine if data is clean nor scrub or standardize it when it is not. For information to be trusted and shared, inherent data quality is required.
Privacy
You may not have an effective strategy for masking sensitive data bound for reports. You may need a more convenient way to secure data at risk ahead of time, and maybe reveal it later.

Is there a way to address all of these problems at once?

Yes. This preparation of re-usable data subsets is called data blending, data preparation, data franchising, data munging, or data wrangling. And there are now multiple specialty tools on the market purporting to tackle this challenge. But the SortCL data transformation program in the IRI CoSort product (or IRI Voracity platform) has been doing this faster than anyone since 2003, and today continues to not only prepare data faster, but govern it at the same time.

Data integration, cleansing, and masking -- all of which happen simultaneously in a single SortCL program, is the fastest, most proven approach to rapidly and reliably preparing disparate data sources for BI or analytic tools. Choose from multiple design options in a free Eclipse GUI, process in Windows, Unix or Hadoop file systems, and avoid the cost of VC-funded tools.

For those who do no have a BI or analytic tool already, SortCL also is a reporting language in its own right, with the ability to generate 2D detail, summary and statistical output using expression (math, stats, and dimension) logic and custom formatting. The Voracity platform with SortCL inside also feeds BIRT, a cloud dashboard, and Splunk -- all automatically for immmediate, and more advanced (rich, interactive) visualizations.

Data Preparation

In data preparation or franchising, disparate sources of data are gathered, filtered, de-normalized, sorted, aggregated, protected, and reformatted. With this approach, your BI tool can import only the data it needs and in the table or flat file (e.g., CSV, XML) format it needs.

Data visualizations -- and thus answers to your business questions -- come faster when you use Voracity or CoSort to:

  • Filter, scrub, sort, join, aggregate, and otherwise transform big data in a single job script and I/O pass
  • Build the subsets that dashboard, scatter plot, scorecard, or other analytic tools need, and can handle.

Centralized data preparation also avoids reproducing or synchronizing data every time another report is needed.

Data Protection

Handle PII for BI on a right-to-see basis. Apply built-in field-level anonymization functions based on appearance, reversibility, and authorization; e.g.,:

  • de-identification
  • encoding
  • encryption (format preserving or not)
  • expressions
  • hashing
  • masking (obfuscation)
  • pseudonymization
  • randomization
  • redaction
  • sub-string manipulation

Did You Also Know?


The GUI for all IRI software products is built on Eclipse™, and supports:

  • data discovery, classification and metadata definition
  • job script creation and modification
  • batch and remote execution
  • data, metadata, and job script version control
  • master data management

Bottom Line


If you use an analytic or BI tool like BIRT, Business Objects, Cognos, Excel, iDashboards, MicroStrategy, OBIEE, QlikView, R, Splunk, Spotfire, or Tableau to perform your transformations, offload higher volume data integration jobs to SortCL.

If your data is already defined in another ETL or BI tool, the AnalytixDS Mapping Manager and Meta Integration Model Bridge (MIMB) will automatically convert your source metadata into SortCL Data Definition Files (DDF). But if you don't have that metadata or MIMB, don't worry about it because metadata creation and management in the IRI Workbench GUI is easy. So is sourcing and targeting flat files and relational database tables. And now, processing, and reporting from, semi- and un-structured data is, too.

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