While data is the life blood of any business, how that data is visualised is the difference between just raw data and information upon which actions can be taken.
It is generally accepted that 70-80% of the effort of almost every visualisation or analytics project is taken up in accessing and normalising the data.
This is not the sexy side of things by any means yet real time access to accurate data is essential for a data visualisation project to have any meaning.
People have struggled with this for many years generally taking snapshots of the data which is then out of date as soon as it has been taken.
In many cases, a massive manual effort is required to gather the data to create a report or visualisation and when complete, the task starts all over again. This is not only time consuming and expensive but also incredibly prone to error.
Reasons data can be prone to error:
1. The data is in different databases thus requiring different technologies to be configured to get to the data.
2. Most access uses Open Database Connectivity (ODBC) which is incredibly flexible but so much so that DBAs are understandably reluctant to open this up to the wider world.
3. Most data sources are hidden in silos behind secure firewalls and simply cannot be accessed using ODBC even if it was opened up.
This is what Portus was created for
Essentially Portus allows the creation of standards based SOAP and REST based services to access any data on any platform while normalising the data prior to delivery. This addresses each of the issues above as follows:
1. Regardless of the database, Portus offers an identical service to retrieve data directly.
2. The DBA simply creates a service or services for the specific data to be made available so the DBA retains full control of the data.
3. Portus uses standard services over HTTP and can thus be secured through a firewall in the standard way.
This opens the door to organisations having real time access to the data they need and thus enabling them to create real time reports that are fully up to date and accurate every time. Wouldn’t that be nice to have for your next set of meetings?