FirstRain Extends Analytics Reach to Include Internal Data Sources

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    The Challenges of Gaining Useful Insight into Data

    The primary challenge with turning analytics into actionable business intelligence is that while there is no shortage of data inside and out of the enterprise, correlating that information in a way that is meaningful to the business has always been problematic.

    To address that specific issue, FirstRain today unfurled an update to an analytics application that is delivered as a service that now includes the ability to meld internal data sources with all the external data sources that FirstRain already supports.

    Designed to identify issues based on data collected from the Web that might potentially impact customers identified in a customer relationship management (CRM) application, FirstRain CEO Penny Herscher says the FirstRain Orion release expands that mission to include unstructured data stored throughout the enterprise.

    FirstRain Orion

    While the primary users of FirstRain are most definitely line of business executives, Herscher notes that FirstRain has seen a marked increase in the participation of IT organizations in the analytics application decision process within most organizations as the volume and variety of data being analyzed continues to grow. In the case of FirstRain, Herscher says accommodating internal and external data sources has led the company to redesign the user interface of its software-as-a-service (SaaS) application to make it easier to explore that data.

    At this juncture, usage of analytics applications has reached a level inside most organizations that requires more active participation of IT organizations. As stewards of all the data sources those applications need to access, the role of the IT organization grows with each data source being accessed. While the applications accessing those data sources may reside in the cloud, the data inside and out of the organizations that those applications depend on to add business value still has to be managed, one way or another, by the someone inside the internal IT organization.

    Mike Vizard
    Mike Vizard
    Michael Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist, with nearly 30 years of experience writing and editing about enterprise IT issues. He is a contributor to publications including Programmableweb, IT Business Edge, CIOinsight and UBM Tech. He formerly was editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise, where he launched the company’s custom content division, and has also served as editor in chief for CRN and InfoWorld. He also has held editorial positions at PC Week, Computerworld and Digital Review.

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