Datawatch invented self-service data prep with Monarch. Twenty years ago Monarch answered the vexing data challenge of the time – unlocking mainframe print spool data for reporting. Over the years Monarch continued to innovate. Now Monarch can automate and govern ETL from many data sources, “dark data” sources, third-party data discovery and enterprise BI systems for a complete data strategy.

Monarch is a market leader in enterprise-ready, easy self-service data prep and unstructured “dark data” governance.

Today Monarch is used in over 40,000 organizations including 431 of the Fortune 500. The largest accounts process over 300 million documents applying over 9,000 Monarch data prep models on a monthly basis.

Universal Bridge for Analytics Apps and Data

I first used Monarch for extracting data from Adobe PDF invoices in the mid-2000s. Honestly, I had not looked at it in years. Recently I had the opportunity to review it again and I barely recognized it. Monarch has come a loooong way. It has really awesome data sources including rarely found connectivity to SAP Business Objects Universes for pointing self-service BI users to the blessed, IT created BI models at SAP accounts.

Monarch destinations are also quite cool and unique. Output can be sent to enterprise BI and data science solutions such as Angoss, Dell Statistica, IBM Watson Analytics and Cognos Analytics. Several of the top data discovery players including Tableau, Power BI, Qlik and Salesforce Wave are also available as export connectors.

Datawatch Bridges

Monarch enables anyone to quickly acquire, manipulate, blend and prepare data from virtually any source.`In addition to Excel, text file and 25+ industry standard relational database data sources, Monarch can connect, extract and send data to the following types of unstructured and big data sources, popular self-service data visualization solutions, and even proprietary enterprise BI models.

Modern Monarch = Easy Self-Service Data Prep

Recently the Monarch product teams redesigned the self-service data prep user experience. It is now fresh, modern, easier to use and more powerful than previous versions. Check out the free trial of Monarch Complete, free Monarch Personal or watch a recent demo.

Unlike self-service data prep tools that look more like professional ETL tools, carry steep learning curves to get functional and overwhelm non-technical business users, Monarch is easy to learn. The “Excel-like” data prep user interface is simple and familiar yet contains over 100 point-click data manipulation functions. Combined with the new guided user experience, self-service data prep with Monarch is straight-forward. It does not entail writing scripts or building complex flow diagrams.

Monarch Illuminates Dark Data

Dark data is a fascinating topic that deserves a dedicated blog. What is dark data? Gartner defines dark data as “the information assets organizations collect, process and store during regular business activities, but generally fail to use for other purposes (for example, analytics, business relationships and direct monetizing).”

Important reporting information is often locked away in multi-structured documents, HTML reports, Adobe PDF files and proprietary enterprise BI models that seem impossible to access, extract or automate. In fact, Forrester estimates that only 12 percent of enterprise data is used today to make decisions as a result of unstructured data reporting challenges.

Usually the only way for a business user to get dark data for reporting is to manually copy, paste or retype that information into another application. The process is tedious, time-intensive, and error-prone. As a result, unstructured data sources are frequently written off or forgotten. Hence, dark data is born.

Monarch 13_report

If you are copying, pasting, rekeying data from reports for other reports, Monarch’s unstructured data extraction might be a fantastic time saver for you. If you thought to yourself “gee, there must be a better way to get at this data”, you were right. You probably needed Monarch and didn’t know about it.

A recent blog post from James Haight at Blue Hill Research took a look at the average amount of time – and money – spent on inefficient data prep.

Manual data prep on average costs $22,000 per year, per analyst.

If you wrangle data in your role as a business analyst, BI professional or data scientist, Haight’s articles on data prep are a must-read.

Governed Dark Data and Self-Service Data Prep

Monarch Server extends the self-service data preparation capabilities of Monarch to provide a comprehensive, enterprise-wide solution. Monarch Server securely automates, monitors, and controls access to unstructured reporting content and self-service data prep routines.

Self-service data prep models created with Monarch on the desktop can be stored and shared on a centrally managed server. Data preparation and delivery tasks can be fully automated to integrate data disparate BI systems and eliminate silos.

Visual Process Designer

With Monarch Server, enterprise IT can finally shine a light on dark data and shadow IT reporting routines to see what activities require more governance.

Self-service data prep content often presents the highest risk in an organization since it is usually unknown and not managed.

Monarch Server provides the following key governance features.

  • Role-based access to shared, prepared data sets, and data sources
  • Reusable address book, extraction models, and data preparation routines
  • Data masking to hide and protect personally identifiable or other sensitive data
  • Digital signatures for maximum data integrity
  • Audit logs, versioning, changes, and usage monitoring
  • Data lineage with drill-down to the cell level of the source document
  • Data retention to persist and archive source data/documents to meet regulatory compliance, legal discovery or business requirements
  • Alerting, scheduled data loads, and incremental refreshes
  • Data delivery via email, OLE DB/ODBC, network folders, RSS, FTP, SharePoint libraries and popular analytics applications

With support for enterprise IT standards and integration breadth, Monarch Server often complements existing ETL, content management systems, and data warehouse investments as it extends the reach of dark data sources and blessed proprietary enterprise BI data sources for use with self-service reporting.

For More Information

That sums up my overview of Datawatch Monarch = it is a gem in the self-service data prep space. My only requests were for even more data sources, destinations and connectivity options. I can never get enough of them! Overall, I was impressed and disappointed in myself that I forgot about this wonderful solution for report mining and unstructured, dark data extraction.

For a deeper dive into Datawatch Monarch, check out the following resources.