Big Data refers to huge chunks of structured and unstructured data which cannot be processed with the use of traditional methods. This data is typically pulled from various sources such as social media and is processed through the use of advanced approaches such as computer-based applications.
The effect of this type of data has been positive especially for those companies which have got the personnel and the necessary resources to process and analyze this type of data. Through the effective analysis of big data, companies are able to get the true picture on the behaviour of their products as well as gaining a further understanding the characteristics of their target customer.
However, the extraction of meaning from the big data has remained a huge challenge to many organizations. As a result, many firms do not exactly know how to frame queries to effectively probe the big data for answers.
In addition, many organisations lack the abilities to develop effective reports that are supposed to present answers to business users and hence change becomes hard to implement.
This article looks at the various effective reporting concepts with regards to big data and how this should come in handy for a wide range of organisations.
The development of effective reports is a challenge that has faced organisations since time immemorial. In recent times, the advancement of technology has made it possible for organizations to come up with well-crafted reports.
However, many still fall under the “80-20” rule. This simply means that they obtain all meaningful information from only 20% of their reports. The rest 80% lies in the shelves or in the stipulated storage methods.
This “80-20” challenge can be efficiently solved through the use of big data reporting. To effectively achieve this, a firm has to be able to integrate, manipulate and analyze big data sets. This is done by running Analytics on the raw data alongside effective reporting mechanisms which in the end give the users actionable information.
In most organizations in the 21st century, two reporting mechanisms are essential. These are the bottom line mechanism reports that are supposed to give the management various aspects of a firm such as the performance.
On the other hand, a drill-down mechanism ensures that both the management and staff get vital information and tools to troubleshoot situations in an organization. It is worth noting that in both mechanisms, users of the reports oblige ease of use and implementation.
As such, big data reporting can help transform all the aspects of an organization to bring out perfect reports which are easy to understand.
Tools for Big Data Reporting
To come up with effective reports from big data, an organization has to utilize the best tools for reporting. Some of the available options in the market include:
- Jaspersoft BI Suite: One of the open source leaders in the production of reports from big data sets is Jaspersoft. Their software package is well-polished and will ensure that you get the best from your big data. The software has a unique feature of turning SQL tables into PDFs that can be scrutinized easily in meetings. Additionally, the JasperReports server is dedicated to getting data from all major storage platforms such as MongoDB, Cassandra, Redis, Riak, CouchDB, and Neo4j. With this software package, you are assured that all the data will be analysed and meaningful reports created.
- Pentaho Business Analytics: This is another tool that comes in handy in the reporting of big data. The unique thing about this tool is that it can be linked to most popular NoSQL databases such as MongoDB and Cassandra. As a result, organizations are able to drag and drop the columns into views and reports. This software also sorts and sifts tables making the report easy to understand and implement.
The Challenges of Big Data Reporting
Although the use of the numerous technological tools aids in big data reporting, there are still challenges that face this activity. These include:
- Immense Data Volumes: As organizations grow over time, the amount of data handled also gradually increases due to emergence of new data sources. As a result, an organisation ends up with huge volumes of data that are complex to manage. This leads to a situation whereby only sensitive amount of data is analysed. While this may be ideal, it shuts out the analysis of the rest of the data which could have produced reports that are of much more benefit to a firm.
- Lack of adequate skills: Most organizations will lack individuals (developers) that have the skills to deal with big data. Therefore, most firms end up using incompetent developers. Others opt to use the traditional methods which are too cumbersome for an organization.
- High Costs: Most organizations that engage in the collection and storage of big data usually end up incurring high costs. These are mainly cost associated with securing and processing of the data. This data is critical to a firm which explains the need for complex security systems. In the creation of reports, firms also incur the costs of hiring data scientists and the costs of implementing the report recommendations.
Solving the Challenges
In order to become competitive, an organisation must use the reports drawn from the big data in the improvement of service, product, or analysis of the performance. However, it is evident that there are numerous challenges hindering big data reporting. These can be solved through:
- Manipulation of Data: The data can be easily manipulated using tools that will enable an organization to evaluate, filter, compare, map, and group data for the process of reporting using the available skills. Through this, it becomes easy to deal with the immense data volumes that an organization stores. The end result is that all the data is analyzed and comprehensive reports created.
- Training: This can be used to deal with the challenge of inadequate skills. In this, an organization can set up workshops where certain individuals in an organization can be trained on the use of various data reporting tools. This will ensure the data is analyzed by an expert and therefore effective reports will be created. Additionally, this will contribute to the reduction of costs in regards to the hiring of big data analysis experts.
Big data reporting is essential to any firm that seeks to outdo its competition through the creation of new growth opportunities. It also assists in the optimization of a firm so that it meets the current trends and business models.
Therefore, an organization must be willing to undertake the step of big data reporting using the various tools available in the field.