Building a Platform for the Exponential Growth of Big Data
Date: Wednesday , January 30, 2013
Actuate Corporation (NASDAQ: BIRT) is a computer software company associated with the Business Intelligence and Reporting Tools (BIRT) open source project used by over 2 million developers around the globe. Headquartered in San Mateo, CA, the company has a market cap of $ 281.08 million.
A world of Opportunities
For a technology company, it is all about the people. It is paramount to ensure that the entire team understands and believes in the strategic direction and is motivated to succeed. In a highly competitive market, it is important to continually review the group’s operations so that everyone’s activities are perfectly aligned and are running efficiently.
Placing focus on communication and collaboration we ensure that we are creating an open and innovative work environment. For example we have an open office layout which fosters collaboration. The R&D, Marketing and Sales teams share this open office layout which enables teams to share ideas and be more agile is responding to customer needs and competitive pressures. The collaboration extends to teams at HQ and other groups.
There is also a very strong focus on metrics. Whether it is sales, marketing, or tracking customer success, we continually monitor metrics so we can make timely adjustments and become more efficient.
The group's charter is to provide technology solutions to organizations seeking to improve their business operations, whether at a departmental level or at the overall corporate level through the use of Performance Analytics. We have an extremely talented and experienced team here that is focused on delivering innovative software, quality implementation services and customer support.
Many of the traditional sources of competitive advantage on both the supply and demand side have disappeared with globalization, easy access to information, labor and removal of regulations. Given that, organizations are increasingly looking at the optimization of business processes and effective decision making as new sources of competitive advantage. This is a huge driver for change and has brought Analytics to the forefront.
However the problem with analytics is that it is not something you can incorporate instantly. You need the right leadership with a vision, the right data, the right people, the right focus and finally the infrastructure to deliver the results of your analysis in a timely fashion in the hands of the decision maker.
Big data in some way compounds some of these problems but at the same time, also presents a huge opportunity to companies to gain a significant competitive advantage.
Big data as the cliché goes is more data –which is better for accuracy of analysis. It has more variety so you can better triangulate across the different types of data and has more velocity so you can improve the timeliness of your analysis.
The biggest challenge and opportunities lie in organizations capability to harness this and that is where we will see a lot of new innovations from technology vendors.
Dealing with the 'Data Dilemma'
Any organization that wishes to embrace analytics for competitive advantage is going to face challenges. First is the ability to access and harness big data. Organizations will have to invest in the right infrastructure that can not only work with traditional data management systems but also newer ones like Hadoop that are frequently used to store large data volumes.
Secondly, organizations cannot afford to invest in a multi-month modeling and data processing effort before making this available for analytics. It is very important for organizations to sift through large data volumes and identify the nuggets in a timely and efficient manner.
Actuate has taken a very holistic and visionary view to address this challenge through its big data platform Actuate iHub. With data connectors to traditional data sources, applications as well as data connectors to new data sources like Hadoop, NoSQL databases and other big data stores, the platform can access and make data available for a myriad of analytic applications in a secure and scalable manner.
An added advantage is the analytic engine which empowers business users to conduct analysis ranging from simple slice and dice to data-mining and predictive analysis without the need for any modeling or pre-processing of data. It also provides industries a scalable and high performance platform to operationlize the results of big data analysis by enabling the dissemination of these results both inside and outside the firewall on any kind of devices.
BIRT for all
We describe Business Intelligence and Reporting Tools (BIRT) open source platform as a commercially developed open source platform. As a top level project under Eclipse, the BIRT team comprises of committers from Actuate and other world-class software organizations. The project itself follows a very robust software development process mandated by the foundation which ensures that only the highest quality of code is released to the community.
As part of Eclipse, the BIRT project is a meritocracy and we encourage and welcome new committers to contribute to the project. Before a new committer is admitted to the project they have to demonstrate exemplary understanding of the project and its processes and get accepted by the existing project members. This level of control, project management and development processes ensure that the BIRT open source platform we release meets the prevailing industry standards include those around security.
This is a very exciting time for Actuate. As the founder and joint-leaders of the BIRT open source project, we have a vibrant community of over 2 million developers around the globe. No other BI or Data visualization platform has this amount of adoption. In addition applications built on ActuateOne which has BIRT as its foundation deliver more business and consumer insight to more people than all BI companies combined.
The roadmap for Actuate entails enhancing the ActuateOne platform to continue ensuring that the platform is ready for the exponential growth of big data while providing a wide range of analytics capabilities so organizations can derive the value from this data. We will continue to invest in next generation user interfaces for a myriad of next generation of touch devices to always stay at the top of the pyramid.