In the industry of commercial analytics software, an emphasis has emerged on solving the challenges of analyzing massive, complex data sets, often when such data is in a constant state of change. Such data sets are commonly referred to as big data. Whereas once the problems posed by big data were only found in the scientific community, today big data is a problem for many businesses that operate transactional systems online and, as a result, amass large volumes of data quickly.
The analysis of unstructured data types is another challenge getting attention in the industry. Unstructured data differs from structured data in that its format varies widely and cannot be stored in traditional relational databases without significant effort at data transformation. Sources of unstructured data, such as email, the contents of word processor documents, PDFs, geospatial data, etc., are rapidly becoming a relevant source of business intelligence for businesses, governments and universities. For example, in Britain the discovery that one company was illegally selling fraudulent doctor's notes in order to assist people in defrauding employers and insurance companies, is an opportunity for insurance firms to increase the vigilance of their unstructured data analysis. The McKinsey Global Institute estimates that big data analysis could save the American health care system $300 billion per year and the European public sector €250 billion.
These challenges are the current inspiration for much of the innovation in modern analytics information systems, giving birth to relatively new machine analysis concepts such as complex event processing, full text search and analysis, and even new ideas in presentation. One such innovation is the introduction of grid-like architecture in machine analysis, allowing increases in the speed of massively parallel processing by distributing the workload to many computers all with equal access to the complete data set.
One more emerging challenge is dynamic regulatory needs. For example, in the banking industry, Basel III and future capital adequacy needs are likely to make even smaller banks adopt internal risk models. In such incidents, cloud computing and open source R can help smaller banks to adopt risk analytics and support branch level monitoring by applying predictive analytics.
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