Content in Context – Better, Smarter Decisions Powered by Analytics

February 2, 2011

Samir Batla photo (business analytics)

Content (meanings) + Perspective (the points of view of other people) = Insight (clarity)

Samir Batla photo (business analytics)

Content (meanings) + Perspective (the points of view of other people) = Insight (clarity)

Putting content in context is just one reason Samir Batla gets up in the morning. Over years in the information technology industry he’s worked with huge volumes of data making facts more easily searchable, better coordinated and ultimately more productive. Using semantic and analytics technologies to further  ‘intelligent decision-making’ at companies such as Metatomix and EMC, Batla has created  new tools and tactics for finding details, differentiating possible confusions and then making vital connections or meanings that might otherwise be overlooked.
Having an overall analytics strategy with a set of desired outcomes is key – using text analytics, business intelligence and predictive models. For many employers, pushing out data and insights – instead of waiting for people to “pull” and retrieve information is the biggest challenge facing technology and social media within corporations.

Companies often focus on technology instead of the organizational culture, process or people. Helping people make decisions at the point where human action is required or notify them when there is new information or because previous information has changed. The goal for organizations should be greater resilience of data-driven decisions and better choices at faster speeds.

Batla discussed examples that show how even the smartest database can be undermined or outsmarted, for example, by the seven different spellings of Osama Bin Laden’s name. And best practices at the most advanced organizations need updating and constant improvement as technology changes, definitions shift or new needs emerge. Analytics tools play a key role, he added, in reviewing various cases, he told the Boston Knowledge Management Forum.  One of the more challenging aspects is automating search across disparate databases — that people might not otherwise cross-check — to better view an entire picture. Each database may have a different answer that creates a pattern or bigger-picture answer because the results are different, but inter-related.

One example he pointed to is the “First Appearance” search platform that was developed for Florida courts and police after a judge released a prisoner on bail, unaware of other outstanding warrants. This system accesses federal, state, county, and local databases to provide real-time criminal and civil history from a single interface using a single query. Data cannot be saved or stored, making it less prone to information misuse, he added.

Created by Metatomix in 2006, the system coordinates and aggregates data sources – from disparate, incompatible software systems – to give judges and other criminal justice officials access to information crucial for the proper handling of arrested persons before and during their first appearance for arraignment.

That’s content in context and real-time delivery of vital data that enables smarter decisions. And if you’re interested in learning more about content and analytics, download the recent webcast “How Web Content Can Help You Predict and Test the Impact of Events“.

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David Wallace
Spotfire Blogging Team