The Convergence of Business Analytics and Enterprise Search

Kevin R. Quinn's picture
 By | november 07, 2011
in WebFOCUS, Business Intelligence, Magnify, Search
november 07, 2011

WebFOCUS Magnify Search Screen showing results of a search looking for a partial license plate number in 5 different law enforcement databases.

In most organizations today, the use of multi-structured data – data that exists in a variety of different formats – is rapidly increasing.  The ability to access and analyze as many of these types of information as possible is the key to making the smartest, most informed decisions.


This trend is driving the need to blend advanced business analytics with enterprise search capabilities.  BI allows users to retrieve and interact with structured data, while enterprise search offers a powerful means of collecting unstructured information, such as documents and images from various internal sources or files and text from public Web sites. 


By gathering knowledge in its raw form through search, then merging, analyzing, and comparing it with dynamic data contained in databases and application systems, as well as information captured during the course of automated transactions, workers at all levels can achieve a truly complete picture of a specific topic, subject, or issue. 


Because the ability to consume data in this way is crucial in today’s information-intensive world, companies must seamlessly integrate their search technologies with their BI platforms.  Keeping the two technologies apart will minimize their impact on operations and decision-making, while unifying them will enable any user to tap into the value of any information, regardless of its source, location, or format.  Decision-makers will have a single point of access for leveraging the broadest range of data and other content, providing insight that was previously impossible to obtain.  Instant answers will be available, at their fingertips, at any time.


There are many such environments in production today.  One organization has deployed a unique combination of enterprise search and powerful, cutting-edge geographic information system (GIS) capabilities to keep track of search and rescue ships as they carry out their missions. Up-to-date information on the status and location of each vessel – displayed on an intuitive, easy-to-read map – is seamlessly brought together with key facts and statistics, such as medical capabilities, capacity, and maximum speed. In-depth analysis can be performed to identify patterns and trends in the underlying causes behind the initiation of rescue operations, as well as related incidents and offenses. This provides the greatest insight possible, allowing search and rescue missions to be planned and executed in the most intelligent manner.


We use this approach internally as well, allowing employees to efficiently search for and retrieve documents and other content from across the enterprise. Search results can be filtered, calculated, sorted, and more using a variety of criteria such as document type, product, or functional area. This makes it easy for our staff members to quickly locate the information that is most relevant and useful to their needs. 


Learn more about the benefits of converging BI and enterprise search, and how it can have a profound and immediate impact on your company’s bottom line.  In our BI Academy, industry expert Colin White of BI Research explores how extending the capabilities of traditional enterprise search with business analytics can deliver a real-time, 360-degree view of vital information.