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Rick van der Lans is an independent consultant, speaker and author who specialises in Business Intelligence and data warehousing. He came across CXAIR through our Dutch partners Systemation and wrote a great blog post reflecting his views on the product. So naturally we wanted to share this with you…

Exploring and Investigating Data with CXAIR

“Where a data scientist or analyst will find an answer to his quest, is not always that obvious beforehand. For example, when he is looking for the dominant factor influencing sales of particular products, when he tries to find the way to increase the customer care level, or when he tries to establish what the risk level is when car insurances are sold to young people, he may not have any idea what the answer may be. He may not know which data sets are needed to come up with an answer, or which data items he has to study upfront.

Therefore, he needs tools that allow him to freely explore and investigate data. Incorporating more data sets in the analysis should be very easy, there should be no need to specify a goal beforehand, and it must be possible to analyze data in an unguided way.

Besides all the more standard features such as displaying data as bar charts, in dashboards, on geographical maps, the perfect tool for this type of work should support at least the following characteristics:

Connexica’s analysis tool called CXAIR is such a tool. It’s natural language interface, venn-diagramming techniques, and visualization features allow users to freely query and analyze data. No cubes or star schemas have to be defined on forehand (which would limit the analysis capabilities).

CXAIR internally organizes all the data using an intelligent index. In fact, internally it’s based on text-search technology. This makes it possible to combine and relate data without any form of restriction, which is what analysts need.

Unlike most analysis tools, CXAIR uses search technology that speeds up data analysis. For calculations a mixture of in-memory and on-disk caching is used to analyse massive amounts of data at search engine speeds. All the loaded data resides on the server as it provides a thin client web interface. In other words, no data is loaded on the client machine. Numbers are cached on the server but not text. The fact that CXAIR doesn’t cache all the data means that available memory is not a restriction. Cache is used to improve the performance, but large internal memory is not a necessity but will help performance, particularly for ad-hoc calculations.

CXAIR is clearly a representative of a new generation of reporting/analysis tools that users can deploy to freely analyze data. It’s a tool for self-service discovery and investigation of data. It’s the tool that many data scientists have been waiting for and is worth checking out.”

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Self-service Solutions
for Modern Data Challenges

Data Management & Discovery | Analytics & Reporting | Search Engine Powered

Request a demo

So we’ve just done our secret Santa in the office and about to disappear for our Company Christmas do.

…Now’s the time to start contemplating the year that’s almost up and the year ahead.

One thing that I’ve been poor at this year is blogging. When I started I used to blog frequently but then I guess I had a lot of things to say from my pre-blogger days.

Now I guess I’m more conservative and prefer to blog when I’m in the mood so looking at 2013, I must have been in the mood once in June which is a bit of a shocker.

I also used to Tweet on an almost daily basis but even my Tweets have dried up so I have to ask myself why?

My business Connexica has had a great year. More partners, more customers more revenue. My eldest son is in his final year at University and my daughter is enjoying a year of work and further education before leaving the nest next year to go to University and live the life…

…So why the lack of blogs? Why the lack of Tweets? Why the apparent disinterest in Social media?

Delegation…

Our company now has a social media strategy which is not owned by me but our marketing department.

Tweets are now organised around the business, our company’s areas of expertise and aligned with our goals of making a noise, getting noticed and making friends.

Despite the lack of blogs, my interest in social media has never been greater.

I did a webinar this morning for a partner on the subject of Social Media and how the information gleaned from Tweets, Facebook, Blogs, and Web traffic, On-line advertising needs to be harvested and linked to your back office systems.

From a development perspective, we have been busy extending our product to interface into more and more cloud and social media services such as Office 360, Google Drive, Salesforce, LinkedIn et…

My blog back in May 2011 titled “Panning for Gold with your Water Wings on” has never rang more true with the need to harvest more and more data from more and more data sources.

2014 is going to be an interesting year. I might not be blogging all that much but I will be driving forward our social media strategy and finding more and more exciting ways of extracting value out of the Tsunami of data heading our way.

One thing I have learnt however is it’s not about big data. Data is big and getting bigger. The data that we’re interested in is big but not supersized. It’s about relevance, integration and pulling out valuable content from the huge data streams and not leaving you with a pool of big data which is hard to search and make sense of.

Our product CXAIR is about ease of use, speed and providing business users with the tools to make sense out of complexity and relevance out of apparent irrelevance.

I am passionate about this which has made me finally sit at my keyboard and type down a few ramblings. It will be interesting to see how things pan out next year. See what the next big thing is and do my utmost to make sure that next thing is CXAIR by Connexica.

Have a great XMAS and a prosperous 2014!

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Self-service Solutions
for Modern Data Challenges

Data Management & Discovery | Analytics & Reporting | Search Engine Powered

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All of the hype and constant references to big data is great as there is something new to talk about but is it all that?

Sure there is more data. Social media such as Facebook and Twitter create loads of data but so what? I’ve looked at Twitter and tried to make sense of Tweets and work out sentiment and turn 140 characters of Twitter speak into useful, insightful information. Facebook… you’re having a laugh (a sponsored laugh these days).

We all get sucked in by the hype and the rhetoric.

Today is more about “now”. Getting the information you need about your business, your customers, and your staff when you want it and without having to go to someone to get it.

I’m in the big data arena.

We have software that is fundamentally geared around scale and performance, but it’s not big data we are promoting its self-service and ease of use.
In today’s society, size is irrelevant…its relevance that’s relevant.

Hadoop is a fine technology which has received a load of press and air time over the past couple of years. It’s great for storing vast amounts of data on banks of commodity hardware.

Accessing Hadoop requires code. Map Reduce and new products that are being or have been written to make data from Hadoop more accessible is driving a thriving community of developers but why?

The old fashioned data warehouse, staging areas, cubes and stuff is no longer in vogue. Everything these days is “search” for something and you’ll find it in seconds. Hadoop is an evolution of the database.

… Search, however is “throw away the old” and do things in a completely different way.

Google has been revolutionary. Hadoop is a warehouse without an interface. It’s Google without the ability to Google. Google is a gargantuan warehouse with the easiest to use interface you could possibly come up with… genius.

Big Data is a general realisation that there is so much more data than what you collect in your back office systems that might be useful, but even with the likes of Hadoop to persist that information in an accessible repository, what is the true value of this data and how do we get that value?

I find all of the current hype around big data and the promotion of technologies that require dozens of servers, armies of techies and even then professors of programming to get at the data a bit of a scam.

At the end of the day it’s about making money, customer satisfaction and self-improvement so it’s not the size that matters it’s being able to zero in on the facts… finding the information that matters.

I am concentrating on finding out the facts and masking out the noise. With all this “big data” we are creating a maelstrom where it’s increasingly difficult to see the facts through the mist.

Big data is for the likes of Coca-cola for McDonald’s for Walmart.

For everyone else big data is noise.

Concentrate on getting the most out of what we have before seeking solace from social chatter.

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