There are a few technologies for which I’m particularly grateful as an online information professional—embedded links, faceted search, and dashboards. All of them are designed to make a researcher’s life easier, getting one to the right information faster and easier. None of these are new tools but I want to reflect on the growing importance of dashboards as a user interface in the information management field today. A dashboard pulls information from diverse sources and presents it in an interface designed to be easy to read, similar to an automobile’s dashboard. The key difference is that users can interact with the information. The interactive nature of a dashboard lets a user move quickly from a summary view to drill down to various levels of detail—and hopefully all in easy to comprehend visuals and graphics. And that is just what Attivio offers with its Active Dashboard—with another key difference. The system is indeed “active.” You don’t have to search for information—the system pushes it to you. And, as you click on a piece of information in a window, other windows on the dashboard are automatically updated.
Attivio has just announced 5 new solutions based on its Active Intelligence Engine (AIE) and supported by the company’s new customizable Active Dashboards. The company stresses that with the new Active Dashboard capabilities, these solutions go far beyond a legacy information “pull” model to automatically and continuously deliver real-time, role specific views. The new solutions are the Enterprise Information Integration, Enterprise Performance Management, Enterprise Relationship Management, Customer Interaction Management, and Social Brand Management. Each is designed to deliver consolidated insight from diverse sources and automate processes to help organizations discover and rapidly act upon critical information.
Customizable Active Dashboards, now available for any AIE implementation, present all relevant information in interactive, graphical displays. These comprehensive views allow users to explore and search for additional material while accomplishing tasks and include data-driven interactive charts and related content (emails, articles, social media, policies, and more).
Active Dashboards provide role-based views (sales, finance, customer service, engineering, etc.) so each user sees all the information they need—and none of the information they are not authorized to view. Attivio’s Active Dashboards are customizable, so both the content and the design can reflect the company’s needs, preferences, and brand.
Active Dashboards also:
- Provide real-time information delivery—on demand and as automated updates
- Offer search, click to drill down, or navigation aids such as facets for discovery
- Automate information delivery, engage users, and link process stages via alerts and workflow
- Ensure permissions for information access are updated in near-real-time
- Integrate with business process infrastructure, which becomes additional data, allowing users to take command of all variables for any topic—not just the data
Attivio’s CTO, Sid Probstein, says that Attivio has been building custom dashboards for about a year and some of its customers have built their own. Many of Attivio’s customers are huge SharePoint users who choose Attivio because they need to integrate other resources. He notes there’s a lot of “coopetition” in the market as customers seek to add more data into existing applications.
Ron Miller, technology journalist and contributing editor at EContent magazine, says the dashboards “should help companies surface data locked inside various content repositories.” He notes that “Attivio has always had a clever, data-driven approach to search, but finding ways to implement the strategy inside the enterprise has been challenging. These new tools provide dashboards that customers can use out of the box to understand key data points.”
Susan Feldman, research vice president, search and discovery technologies at IDC, says that Attivio uses what she calls a “hybrid architecture” for handling data and content. It unites the capabilities of both search and database technologies and brings together information that is isolated in separate repositories into a single, unified access point to scattered information.
The best part, according to Feldman, is that the Attivio’s Active Dashboards “are configured to present a single, interactive view across the data sources, without having to exit to other applications.” (Traditional portals take the user someplace else—a CRM system or another application.)The dashboard is an interactive, integrated access point—“one big intelligent workspace.” In the future, search will become pervasive, not necessarily a separate application but instead one of the foundation technologies of the enterprise workspace. Feldman thinks this is the direction the industry is moving—other companies with this new kind of architecture include Exalead (recently acquired for its underlying technology), Endeca, Sinequa, BA-Insight, and Microsoft/FAST. Many more vendors are migrating in this direction. “I really believe this represents a sea change for enterprise computing, making user-facing applications dynamic and easy to use"—it’s what software will look like in the future.”
According to Attivio, there are currently “three of the world’s leading financial institutions already using three of the solutions being announced; however they unfortunately cannot talk about it.” Financial customers are apparently quite skittish about any mention of their operations. The five new solution offerings have a price that includes AIE and will usually have a small IT services component.