Cloud Business Intelligence

September 11, 2020

How can companies enhance their business intelligence with AWS?

Business Intelligence (BI) is defined as the strategies and technologies used by enterprises for the data analysis of business information. For most, if not every enterprise organization, BI has become a technical necessity. The power of analyzing data to provide actionable information for executives, managers, and other corporate end users to make informed business decisions is vital to unlocking your data. Beyond the fancy definitions and buzzwords however, what is actually under the hood when it comes to BI? And how can you utilize a cloud-based BI tool like Amazon QuickSight to power your analytics?

Reporting and analytics are typically up near the top of the list when it comes to features that most executives, directors, and contact center managers care about. Getting a firm grip on when and why your customers are contacting you can heavily influence things like marketing, scheduling, forecasting, and a host of other business processes. With Contact Center as a Service (CCaas) technology, today more than ever, business have a bevy of options on the table when it comes to consuming a BI platform.

The AWS analytics platform is powered by services that enable your business with the right tools to mine your data in a cost-efficient and scalable manner. With services like Kinesis for data streaming, Athena for serverless query or big-data analysis, and Elasticsearch for fully managed search services, the right tools are at your fingertips just waiting to be used.

A frequently asked question by many organizations is “How does Amazon Connect integrate with this veritable smorgasbord of reporting tools?” The simplest and most convenient place to start is an AWS service called QuickSight. Amazon QuickSight is a cloud-based business intelligence service that delivers insights to everyone in your organization via a fully managed service that lets you easily create interactive dashboards that include machine learning (ML) Insights. Enhancing your extensibility options, these dashboards can be accessed from any device (including mobile) and embedded wherever you need the intelligence.

As with all AWS services, QuickSight is a pay-per-session service that scales automatically from a few users to tens of thousands. Translation: You only pay when your users access the dashboards or reports and you don’t have to add needless infrastructure to scale as you grow. You can even embed analytics/dashboards in third-party apps, making your workflows more powerful while cutting development costs. As is customary with other BI tools, these tools come with filtering and drill downs to iterate faster and make consuming analytics easier for your organization.

As with all AWS services, QuickSight easily integrates with your cloud or premises data sources including native integration to AWS services such as RedShift, S3, Athena, Aurora, RDS, IAM, CloudTrail, Cloud Directory – providing you with everything you need to build an end-to-end BI solution.

So, what does this typically look like for companies? Obviously, many are looking for actionable business intelligence to help leadership make critical business decisions. Whether you’re currently consuming AWS or seriously considering it, you should at least be aware of some common use cases for practically any organization.

Interactive dashboards

Companies often rely on complex SQL queries, or basic tools like spreadsheets to share data and insights with leadership. This requires extra work, and often times opens the door for errors. QuickSight’s serverless architecture enables you to deliver insights to everyone in your organization with simply relying on your data being highly available where it is stored (cloud and on-premises data sources). With QuickSight, you can share rich and interactive dashboards with all your users with drill-downs allowing your team to explore the data to answer their questions and gain relevant insights vs. build the next report. You could build this you’re your team or deliver rich, interactive dashboards for your customers.

Voice of the Customer

Using an open source data visualization platform such as Kibana, developers can build Elasticsearch-powered dashboards. These can provide visualization capabilities on top of the content indexed on an Elasticsearch cluster. Users can create bar, line and scatter plots, or pie charts and maps on top of large volumes of data.

One common use case for integrating with Kibana is a Voice of the customer dashboard. Voice of the customer is a term in business and Information Technology to describe the in-depth process of capturing customer’s expectations, preferences and aversions. Combining contact related statistics with machine learning output, executives and business leaders can gain invaluable insights into conversations happening in real-time within their contact centers by analyzing keywords, key-phrases, customer and agent sentiment, and more.

Six Benefits of Using Amazon QuickSight

  • Data source compatibility
    • Your data sources can be in a .csv files, SaaS data sources, or relational data source such as Amazon Athena, Redshift, S3, etc. Additionally, if you have any other data source you want to use, they can be accessed easily by linking or importing them.
  • SPICE engine
    • SPICE is the in-memory optimized calculation engine for QuickSight, designed specifically for fast, ad-hoc data visualization. SPICE basically stores your data in a system built for high-availability and is saved until you’re ready to use it. You can vastly improve the performance of your datasets by importing the data into SPICE instead of using direct queries to the database.
  • Portability
    • QuickSight can be access at any time, anywhere. QuickSight mobile apps (available on iOS and Android) gives instant access to your data and insights for you to make decisions on the go. Browse, search and interact with your dashboards. Add dashboards to Favorites for quick and easy access. Explore your data with drill downs, filtering and more. You can also use a web browser on any mobile device to access Amazon QuickSight.
  • Flexibility
    • Since QuickSight is an AWS service, it is not space constrained in any way. Developers and users can ingest large amounts of data via datasets or data sources without the need to worry about what’s going on under the hood.
  • Intelligent interactive visualizations
    • SPICE’s super-fast, Parallel, In-memory Calculation Engine assists with modeling accurate processes and retrieves data faster than usual. SPICE is engineered to rapidly perform advanced calculations and serve data. By observing patterns in backend data sets, SPICE can generate a string of suggestions for users to use with the built-in data visualization tools.
  • Elasticity
    • QuickSight can be used across multiple regions and availability zones. It can also be scaled across thousand of users working independently across a number of data sources.

Conclusion

The options with Amazon QuickSight are endless. If you are struggling with your reporting within your organization and want to control your spending, reach out and we’ll help you build out your business intelligence strategy and reporting.

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