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Interactive Analytics? By @ABridgwater | @BigDataExpo [#BigData]
Analytics on its own is no longer enough; we need to talk about interactive analytics and find out what this means

What Is Interactive Analytics Anyway?

The information technology sphere undergoes what we like to call a paradigm shift, sea change or plain old ‘upheaval' roughly every five years or so.

Don't ask anybody why this half decade cyclicality exists; it just has to be so. Accept that reinvention happens constantly and that major seismic shifts are tangibly felt by us human beings roughly every 1826.21 days... and we can move on.

Behavioral shifts
These major swings bring us to a new point of realization in terms of the way we work with technology in the enterprise space (and in the consumer space too for that matter) today.

  • The firm that used to deny the importance of the Internet has gone online.
  • The firm that used to center itself around a single operational hub and premises has gone mobile.
  • The firm that used to decry, belittle and disparage the use of social media as an enterprise technology has opened several Twitter accounts and now amazingly ‘LIKES' Facebook too.
  • The firm that didn't trust cloud is starting to virtualize.
  • The firm that couldn't extend its data capabilities beyond basic storage and retrieval into analytics is looking at exploring Big Data analytical tools and processes.
  • The firm that only just gets analytics has started to use complex interactive analytics for real time competitive advantage.

Analytics on its own is no longer enough; we need to talk about interactive analytics and find out what this means.

"We are living in an age where traditional IT disciplines are falling apart. Businesses need to be reactive because they can't predict the future and they need new technical architectures to support unexpected change," said James Governor, co-founder of RedMonk. "Agile, bursty, lean - that's the future of business."

What is interactive analytics anyway?

Interactive analytics is, if you will, an extension of real time analytics. Given that we now have the ability to use Hadoop and the HDFS (Hadoop Distributed File System) to crunch through petabytes of data at scale, we can now look at getting these processes working at speed across massive unstructured datasets.  This is what interactive analytics will give us - the ability to run complex queries across complex data landscapes where we have the complexity intelligence to visit thousands of nodes in real time.

If we can build these nimble data feedback loops, then the "loop" element becomes really important (and really cool) here. This is because we can start to layer insight on top of insight and start to get textured analytics that is richer and made of a stronger fabric than any previously produced material.

On the cusp of an analytics revolution
SAS says that the way organizations capture, create and use data is changing the way we work and live. This big idea, which is gaining currency among executives, academics and business analysts, reflects a growing belief that we are on the cusp of an analytics revolution that may well transform how organizations are managed, and also transform the economies and societies in which they operate.

Alex "Sandy" Pentland, director of the Human Dynamics group at the MIT Media Lab, argues that as we move into a society driven by Big Data, most of the ways that we think about the world change in a rather dramatic way:

"This is the first time in human history that we have the ability to see enough about ourselves that we can hope to actually build social systems that work qualitatively better than the systems we've always had. We can potentially design companies, organizations, and societies that are more fair, stable and efficient as we get to really understand human physics at this fine-grain scale. This new computational social science offers incredible possibilities."

As a business intelligence and data analytics specialist, SAS talks about firms that are essentially at the vanguard of this new interactive data analytics revolution, i.e., these are companies that are using analytics to compete and to innovate and if we understand these companies then we might get some insight into both the direction and the pace of the interactive analytics revolution.

This post is brought to you by SAS.

SAS is a leader in business analytics software and services and the largest independent vendor in the business intelligence market.

About Adrian Bridgwater
Adrian Bridgwater is a freelance journalist and corporate content creation specialist focusing on cross platform software application development as well as all related aspects software engineering, project management and technology as a whole.

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