Business Tips | Dashboards and Data Viz

Instant Insights vs. Data Discovery

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Per industry analysts, data discovery has experienced a meteoric rise within the last two years. Also referred to as “self-service BI,” it is the latest hyped concept within business intelligence (BI).

As the Director of Enterprise Sales at iDashboards, I receive information on hundreds of client conversations each week. We work with everyone from small non-profit organizations to large Fortune 500 clients across every industry, and most of our clients have evaluated or reviewed one of the data discovery tools. One common dilemma resonates through these conversations – the primary need for data discovery or instant insight to the end-user. These are two divergent needs, and there is no single solution on the market yet that can deliver both equally well. Data discovery vendors may claim that their solution delivers instant insight to business users. But, the presentation quality and usability for non-technical users doesn’t come close to the best-in-class benchmark.

On the other hand, they bring great power to the analytical users. Data discovery tools give them the ability to mine and explore large data volumes without dependency on IT or BI departments, which are responsible for maintenance of the databases. However, when they need to present their exploratory results to the decision makers and stakeholders, the presentation is far from ideal and they require different solutions for the final product.

Read next: Does Your Data Need a Dashboard?

Instant insight is the expectation of the business users who require credible intelligence from the voluminous data to improve their decision-making. They are not interested in discovering information, but simply want a good interface to quickly and succinctly understand the story being told by data. They have no time or inclination to be data discoverers. In any organization, typically more than 80% of the information users will fall into this category.

So, what the decision comes down to is the intended user-base. If end-users are non-analysts and simply need an intuitive presentation with a better alternative to their favorite spreadsheets and PowerPoint, they need instant insight. Some of the key capabilities these end users are looking for include richly animated dashboards, intuitive drilldown features, real-time alerts, what-if analysis and engaging infographics. A solution like iDashboards fits their needs best – an elegant and cost-effective dashboard platform.


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