Big Data Analytics with Digital Assistant: Tips for harnessing your internal data

Published Tue 23 Jan 2018

With the widespread adoption of digital transformation, it’s becoming common for businesses to build their workflow on a number of different apps and tools. In this blog, we’re going to discuss how utilizing big data analytics can help you to analyze and visualize the data flowing between your internal processes in order to make smarter decisions. Gleaning insight from this kind internal data can provide a huge benefit to your organization, and every business can capitalize on it.

Look inwards for better insights

Most companies focus on external data when implementing data analytics into their workflows – data which is not collected by your organization. It’s less commonplace for businesses to look inwards to their internal data sources – data generated from their own internal processes. Elastic has created an end-to-end software stack that, once configured, delivers actionable insights in real time from almost any type of data source. This can include transaction data, information from your CRM, internal documents, and any other business applications you use internally.

Internal data tends to bear more relevance to the day to day business decisions we make, and typically are easier to collect. On top of that, this data is free of cost – making internal data a pervasive yet untapped gold mine of information. By targeting easy yet impactful sources of data such as expense tracking or enterprise resource management, businesses can almost immediately reap the benefits of big data analytics.

The Elastic stack

The Elastic stack (or ELK stack) is a collection of three open-source applications: Elasticsearch, Logstash and Kibana. These three-tools-in-one create a pipeline between your applications and actionable insights into them, operating seamlessly to track events from the applications you use every day. The ELK stack is capable of handling the vast volumes of information generated by internal enterprise software deployments, and can be ran as a local application or from a cloud based service – flexible and scalable, the ELK stack can be capitalized upon from almost any business environment.

Elasticsearch is a lightning fast search engine which stores its data centrally. Built with RESTful APIs, Elasticsearch is extremely easy to deploy and can handle almost any advanced query, meaning you can drill right down to the specifics of your data. Logstash sits in front of Elasticsearch, collecting data inputs from different services and applications and passing them into the Elasticsearch database. Logstash is unique in that it’s capable of collecting a large amount of data from multiple sources at once, ensuring your data is right where you need it, when you need it. Finally, Kibana provides a visualization layer for the complex queries performed by Elasticsearch, allowing for immediate insights in the forms of dashboards, charts, tables and maps.

Using Digital Assistant for analytics

Digital Assistant, the enterprise AI personal assistant, is capable of pushing analytics data to an ELK stack with little to no configuration. The information logged by Digital Assistant is comprehensive, which allows for the measurement of user engagement, card popularity, frequently asked questions and search queries, and more, and can be used to identify potential areas of improvement. It tracks which cards users interact with quantitatively, and organizations can use this information to better inform their digital transformation strategy.

Once your data starts flowing, you’ll instantly have access to a vast range of insights – including how your employees interact with Digital Assistant, what they search for, what tools they find most useful and what features they use less frequently. Kibana makes it easy to create graphical representations of your data, as well as dashboards for metric tracking. Kibana visualizations make it significantly easier to spot trends in your data, and also allow you to work directly with your information without needing to dig into your raw data.

The value of ELK Stack integration

ELK stacks make big data analytics manageable and relevant. You can query your data in an unlimited number of ways, and discover a comprehensive view of the internals of your organization. You could use the data to monitor the health of your systems, or observe whether adoption of the tool by a specific department is poor. You could identify pain points experienced by a team who uses a specific application, or even visualize sales funnel information from your CRM. How you query and manipulate your data is completely dependent on you and your specific goals.

With Digital Assistant, data is collected both collectively and from individual users. This can be used to make smart suggestions to users – for example, which notification cards are relevant to them based on their user role, department or location, or frequently used cards by users with a similar profile to their own. Alternatively, you could use statistics on popular cards or requested but unavailable features to drive future development of cards for your organization.

Making smarter decisions is mission-critical for any organization so improving the way your organization operates by tapping into your internal data with big data analytics is an opportunity not to be missed. Want to set up your own ELK Stack and connect it with Digital Assistant? Read our documentation on how to get started straight away.

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