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Search is an Enabler

Powering the New Wave of Big Data Analytics and AI

Asha Narasimha
Asha Narasimha
Functional & Industry Analytics Manager

search enables big data analyticsEver wondered just how much information you can discover at your fingertips? The “power of search” takes you places, makes things happen, and gets you going on your journey – be it personal, professional, or just for fun. You may have heard many versions of the saying “You are what you [insert verb here]” – You are what you eat / what you say / what you think / what you see. But the latest one I’ve heard is “You are what you search for!”

I would like to share my search journey which began nearly 22 years ago during the Y2K (Year 2000) era. The challenge then was to prepare computer systems for the turn of the century. The task at hand was to find all the date variables and other variables pointing to a date variable and fix them to prevent the incorrect display of dates and orders of records. This was a very simple search technique using predefined seeded values and a parser to scan the source code. Nevertheless, it needed to be done.

And we have come a very long way since 2000! During the last two decades, the world has witnessed tremendous maturity in the field of search and analytics. 

The Age of Big Data

As the world continues to connect to electronic devices and share data online, the volume of data has grown exponentially.

According to IBM, 90% of data in the world today has been generated in the last two years alone. Collectively, we generate 2.5 quintillion bytes per day! Let’s put this in perspective: 1 quintillion = 1,000 quadrillion = 1,000 trillion. So, 2.5 quintillion looks like this: 2,500,000,000,000,000,000. To keep it simple, 2.5 quintillion cents would, if laid out flat, cover the Earth five times! In data talk, it is the equivalent of 11 billion copies of The Beatles’ White Album. Or even better: 1.78 billion copies of The Hunger Games in HD.

With massive data comes more responsibilities as well as opportunities to grow and improve as a business, as an organisation, as an individual, and as an institution. There is no dearth of opportunities, but there is a lack of structured approaches and the ability to catch the information wave earlier on. 

As part of Accenture Applied Intelligence, we provide a framework for harnessing both structured and unstructured data together with the ability to gain insights from the data that our clients host within their business domains. Our work has enabled them to envision and take their businesses beyond the curve and into the new.  

Unstructured Data + Search + Analytics = Transformative Business Results

Many business use cases can be pure Enterprise Search. But as we’ve seen, they are increasingly falling under an area called Content Analytics, which uses search, natural language processing, trends analysis, contextual discovery, and machine learning to uncover insights across a company’s unstructured content.

Combining search and analytics has brought game-changing effects across all sectors, from life sciences, financial services, and e-commerce to education, publishing, and public services. Irrespective of the business domain, data leads to intelligence and intelligence delivers meaningful outcomes. 

Here are just a few example use cases in which we’ve leveraged search and content analytics to make positive impacts: 

  • Media and publishing content recommendations 
  • Better healthcare and treatment plans with predictive analytics 
  • Electronic patient record maintenance 
  • Search and match candidate profiles to job opportunities 
  • Sentiment analysis derived from literatures, social media, and other sources of unstructured data
  • Boosting productivity in industrial and agricultural sectors 
  • Chatbots and digital agents for enhancing customer services, information discovery, and user experience
  • Compliance and threat/fraud detection in highly regulated sectors, such as banking and financial services
  • Effective marketing and advertising driven by predictive analytics and machine learning
  • Improve citizen advice and public assistance services 
  • Enterprise knowledge management and information discovery with data lakes

A New Era of Innovations

The First Industrial Revolution used water and steam power to mechanize production. The Second used electric power to create mass production. The Third used electronics and information technology to automate production. Now, we’ve moved into the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which is building on the digital revolution that has been occurring since the middle of the last century. It is characterized by a fusion of technologies that’s blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres (WEF).

Amidst the Fourth Industrial Revolution, innovations and societal differences are undoubtedly accelerated by Big Data Analytics, Artificial Intelligence, Cognitive Computing, and Machine Learning. Interestingly, a common theme emerged: search is the stepping stone and enabler of these technologies. 

With search and analytics, businesses are stepping closer to the height of the new digitalisation era. So, the time to ride the next-generation wave is now – leverage and go exploit!

- Asha