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Business Intelligence and Log management – Opportunities and challenges

November 11, 2019

Business intelligence (BI) is all about making sense of huge amounts of data to extract meaningful and actionable insights out of it. Log management tools such as Graylog, instead, are the perfect solution to streamline data collection and analysis, so it’s easy to understand how these two technologies can make sense when they’re coupled together.

Just think about the sheer amount of data that can be extracted from data Sets, SPD servers, ERP data structures, and RDBMS tables if all their logs can be centralized, parsed, and analyzed. Log management and business intelligence is all about teamwork. When the sum of the whole is more than the sum of its parts, then 1 + 1 = 3 and you can literally start digging gold from your databases.

Why is log management useful to BI?

Business Intelligence (BI) is a data-driven approach that employs the latest technologies and a set of practices to collect, integrate and analyze complex enterprise data, parse through all the noise, and make it structured and coherent enough to support smart decision making. Data is gathered from the past, present and future, in the form of historical, current, and predictive views of operations and processes. Information may come from internal sources or benchmarked against competitors to get an overview of the full company’s potential.

Content, data, and system performance are useful sources of operational insights that are now part of an integrated business approach rather than separate aspects of IT management. Self-Service Business Intelligence (SSBI) in particular made even end-users become protagonists of the gathering and analysis process. Even those who don’t have a technical background can streamline the data digestion process now.

Log files have always been an untapped well of information ranging from daily business numbers, process metrics, machine data, troubleshooting info, sales transactions, and much more. Due to their sheer size and number, it’s easy to understand how it may be impossible for a human being to extract any meaningful information out of them if they’re not properly aggregated and digested. Leveraging log management tools is one of the most efficient approaches to centralize all this dispersive flow of data, drill down into the deepest sources of information, and refine this raw source of intelligence into clean and useable insights.

Hooking up Graylog with sales software and analytics tools

Today, a lot of useful business data is collected by tools that aggregate information about a company’s users and customers. Other than the most obvious examples such as Google Analytics and other SEO/SEM platforms, many enterprises make large use of sale software systems such as Marketo, Hubforce, and Salesforce to track their principal marketing metrics. These tools collect a broad range of lead or customer information ranging from their behaviors, their locations, how they interact with your products, services and features, and so on.

You can leverage this info to improve your efficiency, enhance your offer, or reach more targeted audiences. A thorough analysis of your cash flow can also help you reduce your operational costs by giving you a better understanding of how your money is spent. However, if this data is not organized to highlight patterns, insights, and trends, it’s really hard to extract a meaningful or actionable advice from it. Graylog can help you visualize all the data coming from the different tools in a convenient and understandable format. Just hook up each business tool’s API to Graylog’s UI, and you can filter all the downstream data to monitor valuable patterns and trends such as the demographics of the prospects that are more likely to turn into leads, or the verticals that provide you with the steadier cash flow.

As a result, of this intelligence, you increase closed deals and streamline your overall sales approach.

Improving the delivery ofservices

For some industries, proactively monitoring system logs means drawing the line between poor services and optimal performance. Telecommunications companies and ISPs are the prime example of how error logs can be a prime source of business intelligence. Running faster than errors goes in pair with contextualizing parameters such as firmware, router brand, and kernel version to speed up configuration changes, reduce the volume of outages and provide a much better service overall.

Help desks can also collect historical data about customers to know about their past issues, in-home equipment, and account parameters to proactively fix their problem more quickly and efficiently. User data can also be cross-referenced with data coming from local or regional routers to check whether their problems are part of a broader issue affecting the whole zone.

Enhancing user experience

Everything that affects the quality of life of clients and customer experience at large can be improved to gain significant value. Even the slightest slowdown or issue that may negatively affect how a user interacts with your product may lead to significant losses. Did you know that if a website page takes longer than just three seconds to load, up to 40% of mobile users will leave it?

User analytics on several actions can be set up on analytics tools so it is recorded as log data. You can then feed this data to dashboards to keep all the best (and worst) features in check, discover more about user flow, run A/B tests, and ultimately understand how they interact with your products.

Conclusion

Centralized log analysis solutions are a necessary addiction to business tools that help BI by streamlining the process from top to bottom. Log analysis can be used for a variety of business purposes ranging from troubleshooting your system to reduce the risk of failures to improving security, enhancing user experience, monitoring cash flow, and collecting breadcrumbs of information about lead generation and sales.

Whether you own a SaaS enterprise, an eCommerce, a retail store, or any other online business, Graylog can easily integrate into your workflow and act as an all-seeing eye to oversee your processes. Instead of trying to find a needle in a haystack, you can now empower your enterprise with all the necessary operational advice by relying on your own logs.

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