Article

Separate Signal From Noise in Big Data

IBM i
Posted:
June 27, 2016

You don’t need a reminder of the strain big data will place on your IBM i storage environments in the coming months and years, but server workloads won’t be the only thing expanding. As CIOs navigate the transition from megabytes and gigabytes to terabytes and petabytes, their colleagues' business intelligence plans continue to grow more complex and ambitious as well.

In the age of data-driven decision-making, business executives are demanding faster access to sharp, new insights. The trouble is, decisive data points are easily obscured by the new information flooding corporate IT departments every day.

To remedy this problem, IBM i users need a powerful business intelligence tool that allows them to access, analyze, and present business data more efficiently and intuitively. IT administrators need to integrate and manipulate data across partitions and platforms, but also require simplicity to promote a self-service analytics model among line-of-business users. Ultimately, your departments should be able to drill down into all the essential details and extract insights while they are at the peak of their operational and strategic value.

Intuitive Analysis

As big data permeates the operating environments of companies across many industries and segments, the size of one's information archives no longer provides a competitive advantage. For smaller firms, this is an encouraging reminder that the playing field can be leveled by taking advantage of the data and information already on hand. For larger corporations, this development is a mandate for prioritizing data quality over quantity. A good BI tool serves the interests of each group by helping IBM i IT staff ensure that essential insights are not lost in translation or obscured by extraneous information.

Before a company can begin leveraging data for strategic gains, they must first confirm that it is being reliably captured and effectively integrated. IBM i users should know that the strong fundamentals they have grown so accustomed to have carried over to the age of big data, and are comfortably contained within Big Blue's latest line of servers.

A good business intelligence tool builds off this base with the ability to consolidate data sets partitioned across servers. For example, instead of expending the time and energy to manually integrate these information assets, the power of automation brings everything into a common environment where the real work can begin.

Unfortunately, an intimidation factor often surrounds next-generation business intelligence tools. Too often companies assume that they need to either recruit a specialized team of data scientists or earmark funding for extensive training seminars before they can even scratch the surface of their new software's full potential.

SEQUEL Software is a powerful business intelligence tool that empowers and extends the in-house capabilities IBM i organizations already have. From familiar query structures and detailed drill-down features to support the work of IT administrators, to the helpful report creation wizards and informative dashboards to inform line-of-business users, the software helps intuitively improve situational awareness across the entire company.

Instead of visiting the help desk, every time a manager wants to generate an ad hoc report on a sales rep’s performance, for example, they can create informative tables and charts in a matter of minutes. SEQUEL can capture all sales records across databases in seconds, then guide users with visual preview functions to build attractive reports and bundle in conditional formatting for added value in the future. From there, sales directors can quickly share, print, or export the finished product, which sparks the conversations that lead to process improvements.

Meanwhile, the extra time afforded to IT personnel can be put to good use as they engineer additional automation features into their operating environments. By creating custom dashboards that host key performance indicators and action buttons that run common scripts in a click, baseline operation and oversight becomes easier than ever.

Actionable Information

SEQUEL’s ability to create dashboards and reports based on data from multiple systems and databases, even those not running on the i, offers any number of paths for users to arrive at business intelligence solutions. It also is important to remember that all the raw insights being harvested are presented and communicated in a way that directly shapes strategic decisions.

SEQUEL pushes IBM i users off to a head start by offering an approachable brand of analytics which welcomes traditional business groups into the equation. As a result, IT administrators spend less time preparing reports that they hope make sense to a less expert audience--and less time explaining anything that may have been lost in translation. By shortening the distance between data and decision makers, companies can move quickly on ideas that are still at the peak of their operational or market value.

If a logistics officer wants to know why shipments have been slow to leave a certain production facility in recent months, they can monitor dashboard indicators across plants to determine what might be setting the site off course. Once they have an idea of where the bottleneck has formed, they can drill down into historical data and create a visual report to identify the timeline for when operations started to slow. With the ability to instantly share those findings with central office managers and on-site coordinators, companies can quickly get to the root cause of a slowdown and start working toward a fix.

Simply put, SEQUEL is a powerful ally for IBM i users venturing into the big data era. By covering--and often automating the fundamentals--administrators are able to spend more time on the tasks that truly matter. Since the SEQUEL software suite strikes a balance between feature-rich capability and intuitive operation, employees across departments can all extract value from the technology. As a result, companies can promote a faster flow of information across people and platforms so that the data they generate and collect drives decisions they can confidently stand behind. Request more information and learn how the power of SEQUEL can help tackle your big data needs for you and your entire company.

 

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