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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?

Large data volumes can choke the performance of BI or reporting applications. They may be sluggish in displaying the results needed for quick decisions. BI tools are good at graphical information presentation and analytics, not big data integration or protection.
The myriad of structured, semi-structured, and unstructured data sources available today is beyond the reach or processing capabilities of most BI tools.
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.
Integrating data in the BI layer is not only slow, it's redundant because it's performed every time a report is needed. Data silos also create data quality, security, storage, and synchronization challenges.
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. The SortCL data transformation program in the IRI Voracity platform (and constituent IRI CoSort product) rapidly packages disparate data sources for BI tools centrally, in the file system. This preparation of re-useable data subsets is called data blending, data preparation, data franchising, data munging, or data  wrangling. IRI has also created tight integration with BIRT in Eclipse and an add-on for Splunk that prepares and indexes data simultaneously!

For those who do no have a tool already, SortCL also is a reporting language in its own right, with the ability to generate custom-formatted detail and summary output with its own expression (math, stats, and dimension) logic.

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

Protect confidential field contents on a need-to-know basis. Apply built-in field-level anonymization functions based on appearance and reversibility considerations, such as:

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

IRI Voracity, IRI CoSort, or IRI FieldShield users can accomplish these goals through a common 4GL for data definition and manipulation. Their job scripts, managed in Eclipse, are very easy to create, modify, deploy, and manage.

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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