As we recently shared in the Big Data Paris guide, some of the most interesting work in the big data industry happens when large, multi-national organizations look inward and across their business ecosystem, to see what they know and who knows what.
Many organizations are challenged by the need to rapidly, accurately find experts on any given topic within their ranks. They wonder:
- Who’s keeping track of this information? Where is it stored?
- How can we find the real experts on a particular technology or an active molecule in a drug when our expertise is spread across continents?
- What if the expertise is spread through a myriad of affiliated partners, or in the heads of a few people within thousands of personnel?
This is where big data analytics comes into play.
Locating true experts within an organization requires going beyond HR paperwork, Linked-In profiles and CV declarations – right to the work. It’s true: the proof is in the pudding and organizations must sift through publications, project reports, patent filings, HR data and mountains of structured data to find true experts to quickly respond to RFPs, initiate new projects and avoid costly clinical trial repetition. But what about all of that unstructured data? What about when a chemical compound appears in papers via generic name, brand name, scientific name or even a molecular description? Who can tie it all together?
Increasingly, more large enterprise have seen the light and now successfully use data analysis to rapidly, accurately find true experts for better business outcomes. Enormous companies are learning to be more nimble, with the help of big data.
Global biopharmaceutical giant, AstraZeneca, leading industrial company Siemens, and multi-national IT services powerhouse Atos are such companies. These organizations partnered with Sinequa on expert localization, using their greatest asset: data in multiple forms, stored inside and outside of the company. Moving to a partner like Sinequa was a simple decision: the Paris-based company has a unique ability to cull through both structured data and unstructured data – emails, social networks, publications, and reports – to create a richer, fuller picture of the true company experts on any given topic.
To get the complete picture, data must be analyzed using Natural Language Processing (NLP) capacities to “understand” what topics are being written about in real terms. For instance the platform allows for identification of a topic, even beyond words used in queries. Thus, asking for “Aspirin” will deliver results for Acetylsalicylica Acid, 2-Acetoxybenzoic acid, Ecotrin, Acenterine, Acylpyrin, Polopiryna, Easprin, and Acetylsalicylate. The platform can suggest authors, emails and other resources to contact for clarification. It is truly astounding. Even more, a network can be created, linking expert to expert.
Like AstraZeneca and Siemens, Atos has thousands of personnel. Atos had rapid growth in a short time frame, from a French company with 2,000 employees to a global player of more than 80,000 employees across many locations and through partners and alliances. They found a way to solve the problem of quickly finding experts in the organization with a platform that allowed rapid-fire sifting through masses of text and data: identifying authors and concepts to quickly map networks of experts and pinpoint links between them .
Why should all of this matter? Shouldn’t big data be all about capturing customer trends and finding better ways to market externally? Not necessarily.
For companies that take on massive R&D projects or global technology management, for example, finding the right people at the right time can result in significant gains for the enterprise at a time when business success is crucial. It can prevent reinventing solutions already in place, thus freeing financial and human resources for growth. Putting the right people in place on any project can increase customer satisfaction by rapid and competent project implementations, and protect margins.
Teamwork, complementary expertise is most often the underpinnings of innovation and problem solving. People are indeed, the heart of any organization and putting them together accomplishes great things.