How Yellowfin Brings Real-Time Insight to Business Analytics

PRODUCT ANALYSIS: Business Intelligence becomes more relevant than ever before with Yellowfin’s Signals and Stories platforms.


Businesses are facing a huge challenge when it comes to deriving actionable insights from their business intelligence platforms. That challenge is exacerbated by numerous issues, such as noisy data, questionable relevance and scattered data sources. What’s more, most BI platforms on the market only offer a static look at the data and lack the ability to integrate real-time changes.

Melbourne-based Yellowfin has made great strides in removing the noise from contemporary business intelligence operations with its two latest offerings, Yellowfin Signals and Yellowfin Stories. The 15-year-old company has recognized the many shortcomings of traditional BI dashboards and reporting systems and has worked to solve the problems associated with identifying and normalizing data feeds to remove the noise. It does this while also incorporating algorithms to ensure the relevance of data feeds, while removing human biases from the analytics process.

Simply put, Yellowfin is offering the one-two punch of Signals and Stories to remove analysis fatigue from the world of business analytics and create dashboards that offer real-time analysis of business operations.

 “We’re taking dead aim at dashboards because they fail to deliver on their promise. They should move businesses forward – not make them wait,” Yellowfin BI CEO Glen Rabie told eWEEK. “Yellowfin Signals automatically finds what dashboards miss, so users know what is going on in their business as it happens.”

A 'platform approach' to automating data discovery

Yellowfin Signals takes a platform approach to automating data discovery and bringing out information that can be used to create insights. Those insights can improve the quality of analytics and surface the most relevant data to dashboards and reports, preventing businesses from making decisions based upon faulty premises.

Businesses are also facing the challenge of how to interpret critical data and bring forth percent actionable insights. Many businesses have turned to external consultants, data scientists, and other high-dollar sources to navigate through all of the noise created by multiple data sets. Yellowfin Signals can reduce the need for high powered consultants by automatically reducing the incidence of data misinterpretation, making the analytical data gathering process more reliable.

Signals incorporates pattern detection heuristics, eliminating threshold based alerts. The solution uses machine learning along with real-time data monitoring to automatically identify statistically significant deviations. Signals does not rely on human defined, static thresholds to trigger actions, eliminating one of the biggest shortcomings of traditional analytics platforms.

Yellowfin Signals is able to accomplish that by shifting the analytics model from a static event to a continuous data monitoring system, in which automated processes examine live data looking for significant changes. Using machine learning, the system is able to determine of the changes in data are important or relevant to operations. What’s more, identified patterns are then processed across all datasets, looking for additional relevance and actionable information. Insights brings the context needed to make analytics relevant.

Visualization required for better data context

Yellowfin Signals is only one part of an actionable BI equation. Actionable BI requires visualization to present data in a context easily understood by humans. Dashboards, reports and charts prove to be critical for understanding data, and that is where Yellowfin Stories comes into play.

Yellowfin uses Signals to drive Yellowfin Stories, a concept meant to bring data to life. Yellowfin Stories offers a data-centric narrative to the visualization process. It works with dashboard and visualization solutions, such as QLIK and Tableau, allowing administrators to create custom analytics solutions that bring measurable value to business stakeholders. That is a concept which can allow IT to become the catalyst for definitive business intelligence that can shift the way that BI is applied in business.

Barbara Peck, Principal Analyst at Nucleus Research, told eWEEK that “while dashboards can streamline decisions, they don’t always provide enough context for the data they share and, if not done correctly, can lead to different interpretations. That basically defeats the purpose.

“To be successful, dashboards need to collect information — both internal and external — into one common place and deliver the metrics aligned to the project. Yellowfin Stories has a different approach that lets the user collect information in one place — including signals and reports from different vendors — to reduce ambiguity and provide a clear, common interpretation of BI results leading to real-time feedback and faster, better decisions.”

Yellowfin bundles several different solutions into a suite, allowing potential adopters to pick and choose among the company’s various products. Prices vary based upon users, server cores, and several other factors, such as the different products selected. Yellowfin offers DataPrep, Analytics, Analytics+, Stories, and Signals under their enterprise plans, allowing customers to combine needed solutions to help businesses leverage data to make the decisions that help them grow.