BI Trends

The Rise of Data Discovery

By David Abramson
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For years, the reporting and analytical needs of organizations were largely filled by traditional Business Intelligence (BI) systems. Generally taking months or even years to fully realize, traditional BI systems require heavy amounts of planning and resources, and often attempt to serve the diverse needs of everyone from upper management to workers in the field. As an IT-driven solution, traditional BI reports and dashboards offer a comprehensive top-down view of the organization. However, the demands of business users are changing, and it’s time to consider new approaches to discovering valuable insights. This is where Data Discovery comes in.

vision product - dashboard

With data discovery the focus moves away from IT-driven systems towards a self-service, bottom-up approach to delivering data to business users. While the top-down key performance indicators (KPIs) of traditional dashboard systems give you a good high-level view of your key organizational metrics, data discovery tools allow you to dig deeper. Here are just a few advantages of using data discovery tools:

1. Allow the user to visualize data across a number of different dimensions, visualization types, and summarized views. Generally, the more iterative the data discovery tools are, the easier it is to pivot your data and locate valuable insights.

2. Help resolve disputes faster, and generate additional insights that may get lost in the shuffle of your standard reporting or dashboard requirements.

3. Gives the user the ability to connect multiple disparate data sources. As more and more data shifts to productivity applications, CRM systems, Web analytics systems (just to name a few), the ability to connect across all of these business unit-controlled systems is critical to develop a thorough understanding of your business. Waiting for IT to connect all of these data sources to the existing BI architecture may mean additional weeks or months of lost time, when you could be busy discovering insights within your self-service data discovery tools.

4. Allows users to share their insights. Sharing insights is paramount to a successful data discovery initiative. As the tools shift downstream to more individuals, it’s important that while these insights are being discovered, business users have an effective way to both connect with each other and collaborate to create a shared understanding of the data within the organization. That’s the true power of data discovery.

To learn more about Data Discovery, sign up for a Vision demo or a free trial today!


Originally published April 17, 2014; updated on February 13th, 2018

About the Author

David Abramson has more than 10 years-experience in full lifecycle product development and management, from product inception through general availability. He has shepherded multiple analytics and business intelligence products, and has worked with hundreds of customers, both enterprises and ISVs, to support data-driven application implementations.