Attivio Shows its Big Data Savvy

Attivio added a handful of new modules to its Active Intelligence Engine platform today that allow users to tap into the power if Big Data. The AIE Extreme Modules include connectors to Big Data sources, namely Hadoop, as well as MPP data warehouses from vendors including HP Vertica, EMC Greenplum, IBM Netezza and Oracle.

Also included are a new recommendation engine that analyzes user-generated Big Data to suggest targeted products and services to customers and a new classification engine that classifies documents based on pre-determined rules and categories.

The new modules, particularly the Hadoop connector, are important developments for both Attivio and its current (and potential) customers.

For Attivio, the addition of Big Data compatibility/capabilities is key to its future growth. The company has built its reputation around the ability to bring unstructured content – mainly text locked inside documents, emails and other sources — into the business decision-making process. Increasingly, enterprises also want to take advantage of Big Data — unstructured data like log files and sensor networks distributed across the web and throughout corporate data centers. Business intelligence and enterprise application vendors like Attivio must incorporate both into their offerings.

This is particularly important for Attivio. The company promises customers “unified information access,” and in order to achieve that Big Data must be included. Attivio is in an advantageous position to execute compared to traditional business intelligence vendors, however, as it has vast experience helping customers build applications that bring together all types of data from all types of sources. Big Data, in a way, is just another data source for Attivio to easily plug into its model.

Source: Attivio

For customers, Attivio’s new Big Data modules bring a number of benefits. First, the Big Data connectors give developers a new platform upon which to build intuitive, user-friendly front-end tools that incorporate insights gleaned from Big Data technologies like Hadoop. This is important on its face, as Big Data analysis provides insights to end-users otherwise hidden deep inside huge volumes of out-of-reach data. But it will also make it easier to create applications that can be used to demonstrate the power of Big Data to CEOs and other executives that control corporate purse strings. With compelling evidence of what Big Data can do via applications built on Attivio’s AIE platform, executives will be more likely to fund further Big Data initiatives.

Developing applications on AIE that incorporate Hadoop and scale-out data warehouses can also serve as an introduction of Big Data to the business at large. Building such applications requires (or at least should require) significant collaboration/communication between developers and business users, an opportunity that should be used to start the Big Data discussion with those business users unacquainted with it.

Services Angle

That said, the new offering does nothing to simplify the process of deploying and managing Big Data technologies themselves, Hadoop in particular. And new Attivio customers will also need to develop end-user applications, as Attivio’s platform, AIE, is just that: a platform. It is not an end-user application itself. From a services angle, then, adding Attivio on top of an existing Big Data deployment will require companies to either hire more talented developers or rely on Attivio and/or third-party service providers to take advantage of both technologies.

The AIE Extreme Modules make clear that Attivio understands the increasingly important role Big Data plays in the enterprise. Combined with the unique capabilities of its core AIE platform, the company is on solid footing to thrive in the Era of Big Data. Enterprises that are already experimenting with Hadoop and other Big Data technologies should consider the AIE platform to bring Big Data insights to business users and to demonstrate the power of Big Data to executives.

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