Sep 01

Right, but what IS Search-Based Data Discovery?

By Chris von Csefalvay


I’m sure I’m not alone with dreading the question ‘what is it you do?’. It’s difficult enough to explain what systems architects do – but then to explain that I work in ‘search-based data discovery’ (SBDD) is almost a guarantee to get blank stares. I might be tempted to slightly fib and say I work in Big Data, but of course that immediately evokes either the image of dealing with huge spreadsheets or massive OLAP cubes, which is of course not quite what SBDD is, or some Orwellian nightmare, which it is even less. And it’s not the audience’s fault, either – SBDD is a newcomer to the Big Data analytics field and in many ways, a term crying out for a definition.

The term originated with US-based IT consultancy Gartner, who define it as tools that

enable users to develop and refine views and analyses of structured and unstructured data using search terms. Like visualization-based data discovery tools, they have three attributes: (1) a proprietary data structure to store and model data gathered from disparate sources, which minimizes reliance on predefined business intelligence (BI) metadata; (2) a built-in performance layer using RAM or indexing that lessens the need for aggregates, summaries and pre-calculations; and (3) an intuitive interface, enabling users to explore data without much training. However, as well as having a broader scope (visualization-driven data discovery tools focus exclusively on quantitative data) they differ at the user interface layer, with search-based data discovery tools using text search input and results to guide users to the information they need.

That, I suppose, is as good a definition as any, but it’s not exactly something that rolls off the tongue, never mind that by the time you’re through points (2) or (3), the dinner party is over and your date has fled for the hills. Clearly, we need something handier. Here’s one we’ve come up with at Squirro, where SBDD is what we eat, drink, live, breathe and bleed.

We’re building noise-cancelling headphones for your data.

SBDD is the clever little tool that lets you enjoy Beethoven’s 5th (or the latest set from Hudson Mohawke) on a plane full of screaming infants, a stag party and some rambunctious school kids on a class trip (and a massive sugar rush). Once you decided what it is you care about (that is, to stick with the analogy, selected your song), SBBD can help you discover what data exists out there. SBBD might have ‘search’ at the start, but it is as far from Google as it gets. Rather, SBBD lets you find things you did not know you did not know. By filtering out the noise from what you know and don’t care about, SBBD helps you focus on the possible ‘unknown unknowns’.

This is not a particularly difficult exercise when it comes to structured data. It gets problematic when your query meets the messy reality of people using different words for the same concept, mistyping words and plenty of other issues. Let’s face it – humans are messy. And searching messy data is challenging. And that’s exactly where SBBD shines. Unlike Search-based Data Retrieval (aka ‘Google’), SBDD lets you figure out where you want to search as you search – in an iterative process of refining, slicing and dicing, you find the data and the correlations you need.

If you are looking for a brilliant pair of noise-cancelling headphones, I recommend these. If you’re looking for noise-cancelling headphones for your data, I suggest you check out Squirro.

Aug 14

Analytics8 announces the Contextual Intelligence Challenge

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – 7 August, 2014: Analytics8 today launched the Contextual Intelligence Challenge, a unique competition for business intelligence professionals to submit their innovative use cases for leveraging the Squirro unstructured data analytics platform to their organisational advantage.

The most innovative use case with the potential to return real organisational benefit will win a Squirro unstructured data analytics solution valued at up to $100,000.

Analytics8 and Sovereign Merchant announced the challenge on 7 August 2014 at the “Technology & Innovation – the Future of Customer Experience and Business Intelligence Forum” in Sydney where they presented real and current use cases from multiple clients in various industries.

Today, companies base 95% of their decisions on only 20% of the data available to them; the remaining 80% is untouched. The Squirro Context Intelligence solution extracts huge value from the 80% of unstructured information, and can combine it with structured data analysis in order to radically improve decision-making, drastically reduce costs and help organisations achieve major increases in effectiveness.

The Contextual Intelligence Challenge aims to encourage business intelligence professionals to truly investigate the potential value locked away in unstructured data repositories, both internal (e.g. CRM, email, documents, etc.) and external (Forums, Newsfeeds, Chatter, Blogs, Social Media, etc.).

Regardless of the entrant’s role or industry, the Squirro unstructured data analytics platform will provide the opportunity for high speed to value context intelligence. Participants can choose the data they want to combine in real-time to achieve unparalleled insights into their customers, business, and markets. Whether for Financial Services, Automotive, Industrial, Life Science, Healthcare, Technology, Government or Non-Profits, Squirro will equip anyone with the ability to analyse unstructured data and improve their decision-making.

Over the next month, this challenge invites the Australian business intelligence community to truly accelerate their investigation of the potential lying dormant in unstructured data, turning it into true competitive advantage.

By donating their expertise valued at up to $100,000 to one winning entrant, Analytics8, Sovereign Merchant and Squirro are playing their part in fuelling an ecosystem of BI, analytics and data science professionals building Squirro powered business solutions. In addition, all other entrants will receive the right to discounted Proof of Concept investigations.

For more information, and to submit your use case, visit the Contextual Intelligence Challenge at www.contextualintelligence.com.au.

About Analytics8

Analytics8 is an objective, independent, best-of-breed Business Intelligence and Data Warehousing consultancy, that helps lead organisations to sustained and measurable success by leveraging our experience, expertise and partnering approach.

About Sovereign Merchant

Sovereign Merchant is a Go-to-market Consultancy and distributor for cloud-based disruptive technologies.

About Squirro

Squirro is the leader in Context Intelligence, combining structured and unstructured data to provide the ‘Why’ behind data. Context helps you to see the bigger picture. You choose the data you want to combine in real-time to achieve unparalleled insights into your customers, business, and markets.

Aug 12

The rise of the Chief Data Officer (CDO)

Big Data still continues to be the “buzz word” of the moment and as we start to see new job titles emerge that focus on big data, it doesn’t look like it is going anywhere, anytime soon.

Has your company decided to invest in a CDO? What even is a CDO and what skills should they have?


Source: The new hero of big data and analytics: The Chief Data Officer, IBM Institue for Business Value

Aug 05

What do Charlie, Beyonce, Twilight and Soulja Boy have in common?

With the amount of data out there ever growing when put into an image like the below it gives us a stark realisation of what the average person needs to consume to reach their daily quota of information.


Jul 29

It’s time to put the first law of big data into practice!

With big data still one of the “Buzz Words” of the moment more and more emphasis is being put on how we store all the data we are accumulating, with very little on how we use it.

A recent article on Forbes.com stated that “Industry analysts have predicted that there will be somewhere between 26 and 30 billion Internet of Things (IoT) devices by the year 2020.” This in turn leads to an increase in the data that can be captured.

However, why are people capturing this data? Is it because we think we should? Yes we should be collecting it but we should also be analysing it and using the findings to our advantage.

Squirro’s take on this is that the problem arises from ignoring context and ignoring the 80% of data that is unstructured. A great deal of that captured data is thrown away, unused because people do not have the analytical capability.

The problem, then, is that we’re overwhelmed by data but the big data revolution remains distinctly underwhelming when it comes to the issue of making us smarter, helping us make better decisions and improving our lives. In fact, if the theory of ‘agony of choice’ is true then more data without more meaning is actually harmful. This emphasises the importance of creating solutions that interpret data, that help data make sense and help people make better decisions based on that data – Just like Squirro can!

It’s time to put the first law of big data into practice!

“The degree to which we take the exact depth of big data analytics is directly determined by the corresponding level of insight it produces and where we can still say that we gain ‘productive incremental value’ from doing so.”

Jul 22

The Squirro Team is Growing


The last two months have seen the Squirro team grow dramatically with new team members and a whole host of new partners. The main area of growth for the team has been on the Technology side showing our dedication to producing the best solution to our customers.

We welcome Marco De Luca as a Senior Solution Architect, Markus Warg as a Solution Architect, Chris von Csefalvay as a Solution Architect for the UK and Ireland, Melissa Craven as sales manager for UK and Ireland and finally Roger Gomol as Managing Director of the DACH region.

Together they bring years of experience and knowledge of the IT industry having worked for market leaders in previous roles. Not only this but they also bring with them an enthusiasm for customer satisfaction and delivering the best possible solution for the end user.

We see this as a positive step for Squirro and we hope that it shows a commitment to our customers and future customers to providing the best technology solution in the market place.

Why not take a look at our new team members bios and read about the experience of the Squirro team on our website.

Jul 17

Nominated for the Swiss ICT Oscar!

Squirro got nominated for the Swiss ICT Oscar! We are looking forward to the prize ceremony on November 5th! 

Jul 15

Leveraging ETL systems and your investment with Squirro

ETL systems are commonly used to integrate data from multiple applications, typically developed and supported by different vendors or hosted on separate computer hardware.

If you already have an investment in an ETL framework, it is understandable that bringing in a whole new system is not viable. But what about adding to your investment and being able to use previously untouched data? Squirro allows you to do just that.

By combining your ETL system with Squirro you can leverage your investment and analyse the 80% of unstructured data that you have not been able to utilize to date.

The main benefit of integrating Squirro with you ETL stack is the ability to connect many data sources and analyze them all. Those customized databases and intricate documents can now be searched and analzed with ease.


The analysis of unstructured data is one of the most important core technologies in today’s knowledge industry. The ever-growing amount of digital data available poses a real challenge to current solutions as their results risk lacking in relevance, timeliness, and adaptability and their usage can be extremely time consuming.

Squirro’s Smart Filter Technology offers the next evolutionary step in unstructured data technologies. Broader than feeds and more specific than search, Squirro can scan multiple sources to find the most relevant information and update it continuously and automatically.

Squirro can also display your data in many formats. From line charts to relationship graphs, Squirro can break down your data and show you the why not just the what.

To find out more information about how you can integrate Squirro with your existing ETL framework get in touch today.

Jul 14

Squirro are pleased to announce a partnership with Advanced Analytic Services to grow presence in China and Southeast Asia

CHINA, July 13, 2014Squirro, the leader in Context Intelligence, and Advanced Analytics Services, a leading Big Data and Advanced Analytics Solutions company specialising in Big Data Platform and Applications and BI solutions have signed an Elite Master Reseller agreement to deliver Context Intelligence solutions to the Chinese and Southeast Asia markets.

Context Intelligence is the ability to combine structured and unstructured data to generate actionable insights and for better-informed decision-making.

Today companies base 95% of their decisions on only 20% of their available data; the remaining 80% is left untouched. Squirro’s Context Intelligence solution extracts huge and key value from the 80% of unstructured information, combining it with structured data in order to radically improve decision-making, drastically reduce costs and help achieve major increases in effectiveness across the enterprise.     

Squirro was the first Swiss company selected for FinTech Innovation Lab London. The Lab, which was launched by Accenture in 2012, is a collaboration between Accenture and leading financial institutions such as Barclays, Deutsche Bank, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Morgan Stanley.

Furthermore, Squirro’s client portfolio includes, amongst others, worldwide companies like ABB, the international engineering consortium, Swisscom, Experteer, The Vanella Group.

Advanced Analytics specializes in solving complex challenges  related to Big Data and creating business value from datas, as well as providing Big Data Platforms, Advanced Analytic Solutions, Tools, Enterprise and SaaS Applications and BI, Enterprise Data Warehousing and Performance Management Solutions  to leading multinational and large Chinese companies in Asia Pacific. 

Advanced Analytics are dedicated to introducing new transformational technologies to the Greater China market based on traditional software vendors, such as Congos and SAP. This new joint partnership with Squirro will enable both parties to provide broader services to their clients allowing them to get the most from their data.

Speaking about the partnership, Dorian, CEO and co-founder of Squirro said “We are very committed to strengthening our presence in China and South East Asia and Advanced Analytics dedication to introducing new transformational technologies couldn’t have been a better fit for growing our presence.”

“Analytic Services is focused on implementing leading edge analytics  software to enable organizations to better manage and analyze data. Our partnership with Squirro will enable us to better combine structured and unstructured data, giving end users real time and incredibly powerful insights which will enable them to make better business decisions” said Glenn McCarthy, Managing Director of Analytics.   

About Advanced Analytic Services


Analytic Services is a Big Data Platform, Advanced Analytics, and  SaaS Applications company headquartered in Shanghai with operations across Greater China and Asia Pacific.  The company provides Big Data Platforms, Advanced Analytics Solutions, Analytics Tools, Enterprise Applications and SaaS Applications, APIs, Mobile BI, and Enterprise Data Warehousing and Performance Management Solutions using cutting edge technology.    We leverage leading industry tools, our in house development team, big data analytics and data scientists, systems integration, and industry applications,. With 275 employees and 12-years of industry experience with MNC’s and large Chinese enterprises we develop and adapt leading edge global analytics for the Asia market. We specialize in the Life Sciences, Manufacturing, Auto, Distribution, FMCG, FSI, Telco and Retail Industries.

For more information on Advanced Analytic Services, visit: analyticservice.net

Glenn McCarthy
Managing Director
E-mail: info@analyticservice.net

About Squirro


Squirro is the leader in Context Intelligence, combining structured and unstructured data to provide the ‘Why’ behind the data. The result is a relevant, real-time contextual stream procuring an embedded 360° context radar delivering better and more effective decision-making. What Business Intelligence systems did for numbers, Squirro does for content: make unstructured data usable.

For more information on Squirro, visit: www.squirro.com

Cesare Allavena
Marketing Director

Phone: +41 44 586 98 98       
E-mail: cesare@squirro.com

Jul 08

Regain control over your inbox with Squirro for Exchange!


Is your inbox just another data source or are you using the dominant digital communication channel as a source of information and unexpected insights? Are there hundreds if not thousands of inboxes to monitor and search?

Squirro is here to solve your troubles by analysing Exchange content.

Squirro not only lets you analyse the structured data such as sender and date, but also keywords used within the email. With powerful concept search and timeline segmentation, Squirro let’s you sift through your mail like never before.

Visualize specific relations with the chord chart and get the whole thread instantaneously.


Gain unexpected insights from your email communication by integrating it back into your existing enterprise applications such as your CRM or ERP system. A leading private bank in Switzerland is using such an integration to gain insights into identifying up- or cross-sell opportunities for existing customers. With concept search and the integration of email as a source of information into their CRM system such insights become a reality.

Key highlights of linking Squirro with Exchange

• Use keywords and refine the results with the timeline and filters

• Concept search brings it to the next level

• Dashboards let you visualize and trend topics and sentiment in your emails

• Integrate email analysis results back into your existing enterprise applications

Connecting your Exchange server to Squirro is done using Exchange Web Services. This enables Squirro to analyse both online versions of Exchange as well as installations which are deployed on-premise.

Watch the video: Squirro for Exchange smarter email search and sign up for the beta version of the application.