Published July 11, 2019

Lifting data literacy. Realising potential

I’ve been reflecting on an event we held recently with Sydney based executives and directors on search based analytics featuring ThoughtSpot.

I’ve been reflecting on an event we held recently with Sydney based executives and directors on search based analytics featuring ThoughtSpot.

If you’re not familiar, ThoughtSpot is the most recent addition to the Gartner magic quadrant for BI tools. It’s been generating a lot of interest and curiosity in the market as it breaks new ground through search and AI driven analytics.

Fundamentally, ThoughtSpot tackles the ‘better insight through data’ challenge by enabling users to interact spontaneously through a search bar interface as opposed to through a dashboard or other pre-prepared medium. It combines this simple and intuitive UI with some serious ML smarts, helping generate more valuable and insightful observations over time, and learning from patterns of searches and feedback from the users on search utility.

We had a diverse mix of people around the table for this event which was great, from executives and directors from big banks to retailers, telcos, health professionals and utilities representatives to name a few.

What struck me as we discussed data challenges and flipped them into solution mode of ‘how might we…’’ (plug to our awesome design team for facilitating that session), were 2 things..

Firstly, how quickly everyone ‘got’ the power of ThoughtSpot, and secondly, how many different use cases people were coming up when imaging its application in their daily working lives.

Some of these application examples included:

  • Clinicians being able to drive their own enquiries with greater flexibility and autonomy
  • Risk managers doing their own scenario and hypothesis based searches over masses of data
  • Product managers benefitting from the searches undertaken and insights driven by their peers to improve their margins in sales negotiations

When I reflected on all the conversations on the day, what I took away was the great potential that could be realised in seriously lifting data literacy in all organisations.

That’s what I see as most exciting about ThoughtSpot. It’s a bridge between the technical BI and data teams and the rest of the organisation, reaching ‘up’ to executives and boards, and ‘out’ to front line staff that are making hundreds of decisions every day.

Time-poor executives that have a lightbulb moment and need instantaneous answers through a spoken word search. Front line product and service managers previously waiting for central BI teams to produce dashboards, or making decisions based on gut feel without the benefit of data insights can now self serve.

I also see great potential for more collaboration and learning from others through organic communities of similar users (e.g. sales managers) popping up, sharing their insights and helping each other to continue to drive more from their collective data stores.

ThoughtSpot isn’t going to be all things to all people, but it I’m excited to see how it’s going to shift the market and help create a more data literate and empowered workforce.

To learn more about how ThoughtSpot can help your organisation, let’s grab a coffee!

David Hodges
by David Hodges