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What the Department of Homeland Security Knows About Data

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What the Department of Homeland Security Knows About Data

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Written by Brian Combs for Actuate.

What Does the Department of Homeland Security Know That You Don’t Know? 

OK, that’s a trick question. The answer (in this case) is this: It knows how to get from data to information.

On April 22, OpenText Analytics and Reporting hosted a webinar featuring Chris Chilbert, Chief Enterprise Architect at the Department of Homeland Security. With hundreds in attendance, Chilbert made a powerful case that data is worthless unless you can turn it into relevant information – and that information can then become knowledge, wisdom and ultimately action. The graphic above is from Chilbert’s presentation.

There’s a human element in gaining information from data, Chilbert explained. People need to understand the organization they work in and the processes they use; those pieces help us put data in context and make better decisions. If you missed Chilbert’s presentation, please check out this free replay.

After Chilbert’s presentation, I talked for a few minutes about how OpenText Analytics and Reporting products support the Four Pillars of Business Analytics: data, people, processes, and technology.  (Read more about the Four Pillars in this blog post and a free ebook.) Many webinar attendees asked follow-up questions – more than we had time to answer during the hour, so I’ve answered some of them here.

Q: Explain how OpenText Analytics secures data from unauthorized access.

A: OpenText Actuate Information Hub (iHub), our data visualization platform, provides multiple layers of security. These include authentication integration with Active Directory, single sign-on solutions, and two-factor authentication. iHub administrators also can control what a user can access by securing data at the row or column level, and also by controlling page-level security in reports. To read more about the security features in iHub, check out the white paper, The Ten Layers of Security in iHub.

Q: Can you give an example of social data and explain how iHub accesses it?

A: Twitter and Facebook are the most common social data sources today. OpenText Analytics has several social data connectors for iHub in our developer center, including the Facebook ODA DriverBIRT Twitter Gadget  and Twitter JSON Search ODA.  For other unstructured data – which social data is, in essence – we provide APIs that you can use to connect to and query any data source. You may want to take a look at these two blog posts from Kris Clark: Creating a Custom ODA and Use JSON as a Scripted Data Set.

Q: What mobile devices does iHub support?

A: We support all mobile devices by providing APIs that allow you to integrate content from iHub into your mobile application. This way you get to select what mobile devices you want to support. For ideas and inspiration, take a look at two example applications we have created using iHub and its APIs:  Aviatio, a mobile web application (GitHub link for Aviatio),  and Gazetteer, an iOS hybrid application (GitHub link for Gazetteer).

Q: How does iHub work in a multitenant architecture model in a cloud environment?

A:  Multitenant support is built into iHub. With multitenant support, each project instance within a cluster isolates several characteristics (including security, user and role management, and scheduling) to allow them to be managed independently, even as the instances all share cluster resources. This allows a single iHub installation to support multiple applications and projects with a variety of characteristics and requirements. Developers use multitenant capabilities to build software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions in the cloud.

The benefits include lower cost, because hardware and software are used more efficiently; faster time to market, because adding a new project requires just a few administrative commands; and improved security, because each application instance has its own security processes. Technical benefits of using multitenancy with iHub include reduced deployment burden, eased administrative load, simplified system impact testing, and flexible backup and recovery.

Q: Does OpenText Analytics have an electronic scorecard to allow input of information from the bottom up, as well as from the top down?

A: Yes, with OpenText Analytics users can input information at any level that may have a bearing on a specific key performance indicator (KPI). The flexibility of our scorecard function accommodates any performance framework, including Balanced Scorecard, Malcolm Baldrige, Six Sigma and custom frameworks, and scales to meet the needs of large initiatives.

The Briefing Book function of iHub scorecards allows users to create and deploy customized performance views. Briefing Book measures can be selected manually or filtered based on criteria such as performance, criticality, location or ownership. Links to relevant standard and custom reports, maps, external documents and websites can be added. Briefing Books can be defined as private or shared, and include advanced security features to ensure that users only have access to the information they are entitled to see.

If you require more clarification on any of these answers, please leave a note in the comments. And be sure to check the replay of my webinar with Chris Chilbert of the Department of Homeland Security.

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