BI Trends

3 Keys for Understanding Your Data

By Alma Martin
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Everyone is talking about data. Whether it’s big data or small, simple or complex, freely accessible or locked up in spreadsheets, everyone is worrying about how to get their hands on it.

But the truth is, data access is only part of the problem. The real fun comes later – in understanding it and taking action on it. Data itself is not the end game, but rather the raw material in the whole analysis process. Successful companies not only capture and have access to data, but they’re also able to derive insights that drive better decisions, which result in better customer service, competitive differentiation, and higher revenue growth.

data problem

Okay, we know it doesn’t end at data access, but how do we analyze it?

You could hire data scientists. Harvard Business Review recently described data scientists as “the sexiest job of the 21st century,” and it seems like every day there is a new opening for a data scientist on LinkedIn.


But hiring full-time data scientists is a luxury many companies can’t afford, and the demand is waaaaaaaay higher than the current supply, so this option seems unrealistic.

growth analytics

But here’s another option – instead of hiring people that ONLY do data science, why not empower your current employees with better tools and resources to become competent analysts themselves?

In a way this makes total sense. In an ideal world, would you want every employee to be able to make informed decisions to propel your business forward, or would you prefer they submit a request to a data science team and wait until they get an answer? Of course you would choose the first option. Of course you’d want to have a whole company of smart people, instead of just a few amidst a sea of the uninformed. If data is really the raw material that powers smart companies, then everyone needs to have access to data, the tools and resources to understand it, and the ability to share important information with everyone else.

Of course you might be thinking…but our employees don’t understand how to work with data, so this won’t work for us. That’s just not true. We’ve seen hundreds of companies – from Fortune 100 to garage startups – open up data access and equip people to do more with great results. So we believe that when people are given tools to visualize and explore their data, they gain an understanding of its utility, leading to better business decisions.

There are 3 keys areas that can enable a company to work with data:

1. Understand how your data is structured

2. Find the best possible ways to visualize data to understand what is happening

3. Share insights with others in a fast, highly collaborative manner

We recently launched a data discovery product called Logi Vision, which we believe will revolutionize how people work with data, and address each of the three points above.

1. Our DataSmart technology is all about making it as easy as possible to get started. Instead of relying on data scientists as users, we’ve built data science right into the product so everyone can be an analyst. Through advanced profiling techniques, we’re making sense out of the data, giving you recommendations and prioritizations to help filter out the noise and make it as easy as possible to discover insights.

2. In the ThinkSpace, users can explore their data in a fast, fun, and intuitive way. We guide you towards the best-fit visualizations based on your data, so your users don’t have to be hardcore analysts.

3. Once users uncover interesting insights, they can share them with others in a collaborative way so everyone else can benefit. No more long-winded emails with Excel attachments that no one can find later or static reports that are never updated with new information. Instead, everything is stored on the InfoBoard, which borrows concepts from Netflix and Pinterest to present the most relevant visualizations based on activities, and rankings.

A key takeaway here is that we’re moving away from a top-down model, where executives or IT decide what people should see in company-wide dashboards or reports. Those reports have their place, but smart companies are starting to recognize that they need a bottom-up approach to analytics as well, where all employees are empowered with the right information and tools to make informed everyday decisions in their domain.


Originally published January 31, 2014; updated on August 9th, 2017

About the Author

Alma Martin is a Product Manager at Logi Analytics. She's spent a decade working on business intelligence and analytics projects, and focuses on data management at Logi.