The Case for Unified Information Access: Insight and Agility

Businesses that deliver quality and innovation, increase revenue, satisfy customers, and gain market share advantage over their competitors are the ones that thrive in today’s hyper-competitive global marketplace. It only makes sense then that as managers, we focus a lot of our attention on measuring these key success factors and identifying ways to improve.


4 November 2010

This is the next in a series of guest blog posts by Intralinks’ collaborators, partners, and vendors. Ali Riaz is chief executive officer and president of Attivio. Attivio's Active Intelligence Engine™ (AIE) is the leading unified information access platform. It rapidly delivers comprehensive, high-value insight by integrating enterprise search, business intelligence and data warehousing capabilities. With search technology powered by Attivio, Intralinks users access millions of documents across tens of thousands of SaaS-based workspaces while tightly managing access control lists (ACLs) and workspace-specific roles and permissions. Full text search indexing and advanced concepting techniques guarantee that our users can retrieve all types of information – content and data – with one query.

Businesses that deliver quality and innovation, increase revenue, satisfy customers, and gain market share advantage over their competitors are the ones that thrive in today’s hyper-competitive global marketplace. It only makes sense then that as managers, we focus a lot of our attention on measuring these key success factors and identifying ways to improve.

But it’s really difficult to get the complete picture on business operations, customer relationships and discover ways to give our employees the best chance to succeed. Sure, most organizations have much of this information tucked away in various systems, but they can’t deliver the comprehensive view people need, as quickly as they need it, in order to ensure the best outcome.

That’s because the information we depend on is created and stored in many formats — databases, CRM and ERP applications, SharePoint, spreadsheets, documents, emails, logs, blogs, and so on. When information is distributed across more than one system and format, assembling and analyzing it is largely a manual task that invites errors – errors of omission, of timeliness, and of expertise on the part of the person doing the compiling and preparation.

An effective approach to address this that has been described by both Forrester and IDC is unified information access, which leverages the strengths of enterprise search, business intelligence, data warehousing and analytics.

Unified information access (UIA), which integrates search, business intelligence, and data warehousing capabilities, combines diverse data sources without relying on cumbersome integration layers and without sacrificing the relationships and analytics that make information more meaningful. By ingesting all types of content and data and creating a universal index from which users can retrieve information with simple, search-style queries or precise SQL commands and via reports and executive dashboards, UIA solves the traditional information isolation that limits business agility.

So from a practical perspective, how are companies using UIA? Well, as an Intralinks customer, you’re already using it. Nearly two years ago Intralinks replaced its legacy search technology with Attivio’s unified information access platform, the Active Intelligence Engine™ (AIE). The initial requirement was for a new approach that could be quickly deployed, improve customer experience, scale to support Intralinks dramatic growth, and handle complex, real-time permissioning requirements. Since then we’ve partnered to develop a roadmap for continuous improvement and innovation. In fact, IDC recently wrote a profile, titled Attivio: Unified Information Access at Cloud Scale for Intralinks, that you can read here if you like.

A few other examples of UIA customer implementations include:

  • Active Regulatory Management — Automated monitoring and capture of changes across 200+ global regulatory agency websites that identifies and delivers notification to the corresponding internal policy manager in an executive dashboard, then tracks completion of policy compliance — reducing staff costs, risk, fines and underwriting fees.
  • Customer Interaction Management — Solution that give wealth management advisors an immediate 360 degree view of each investor and their portfolio, including real-time news feeds, household profiles, and all correspondence, including sentiment analysis capabilities – saving advisor prep time, improving customer experience and building loyalty.
  • Enterprise Information Integration — Connecting, in some cases, thousands of internal SharePoint instances to other content and data sources, including databases and Exchange servers — Increasing the overall value of the information and avoiding costly and time-consuming data normalization steps.
  • Enterprise Performance Management — delivering real-time, role-based dashboards, so executives have a single visual interface to manage their key day-to-day systems and responsibilities – Saving time, increasing visibility and improving results.

I could go on, but hope this might be enough to peak your interest. If you’d like to read more, please visit us at www.attivio.com, or contact me directly at ali@attivio.com. I would be very interested to hear your ideas and suggestions on how we might make it even easier for you to find what you are looking for!