Becoming a data-driven organization: 7 keys of data discovery

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Data discovery is a powerful trend causing reverberations throughout the business intelligence industry. In traditional BI software, data was controlled and dished out by the arcane few with the programming knowledge, bulky tools, and elite permissions to do so.

But there was a great disparity here. The front line business users—the ones who knew the story behind the data—weren't free to access it. They weren't empowered to answer their own questions. Crucial business insights were lost in the mindless hours of installation wizards and overly complex SQL queries.

Then data discovery came along. Read this whitepaper to learn what data discovery is, and how this new category of business intelligence has changed the industry forever.

We've also pulled out the first several pages of the whitepaper for you to read. Download the PDF on the right to read the rest.

Everyone wants to make intelligent decisions informed by hard data. Unfortunately, in most organizations, only highly trained analysts and BI specialists have the power to manipulate complex data. A critical connection is lost. The people who really know the story behind the data can’t get to it directly.

The solution is data discovery. With an intuitive, interactive, and visual data discovery tool, subject matter experts finally have the freedom to explore their own data. No longer compelled to wait on experts to spoonfeed them answers to specific questions, people throughout an organization can reach a whole new level of understanding and excitement about data. They can follow hunches. They can ask new questions. They often find answers to questions they didn’t know they had.

And when data discovery becomes part of the organizational culture, something even more remarkable happens. Data becomes a part of the day-to-day conversation. It’s not just, “Did you see that report?” but “I noticed this in the data.” Individuals start sharing their observations and making connections. Businesses become faster and more responsive. Data drives innovation like never before.

This paper summarizes the seven keys of data discovery, outlines the profound organizational benefits of liberating data analysis for everyone, and addresses a few critical considerations for introducing data discovery in your organization.

What is data discovery?

Data discovery is the ability for anyone to explore data and draw meaning from it. In a data-driven organization, every stakeholder is equipped to translate raw data into actionable insight.

1. Data discovery is accessible

Data discovery sets your data free to do more for your organization. The goal is to create an active culture of discovery, rather than a passive culture of waiting for reports. This starts with making data openly available and providing an easy way for members of your team to explore that data themselves. Any businessperson or knowledge worker should be able to pick up data discovery quickly and learn as they go. That means no complicated formulas to learn, no programming required, and no extensive training to attend.

2. Data discovery is intuitive

Data discovery should work as part of a natural thought process. People need to be able to explore data without a specific game plan. This works best when they can simply click on what looks interesting and dig deeper through an iterative question-and-answer process. “What about this?” leads to “oh, I see, and could this be related to that also?” New insights arise organically, and open-minded inquiry is rewarded by the thrill of discovery.

3. Data discovery is visual

The human eye is not designed to process rows and rows of numbers. Pictures communicate far more effectively. Data explorers think and question best when they can easily create visuals that make sense for the data, from scatter plots and line graphs to maps. This brings outliers and trends to light. Visualizations also encourage creative thinking—something that’s not always associated with data analysis, but often opens the door to unexpected insight.

4. Data discovery is fast

Data discovery happens in real time. People become accustomed to going straight to the data when they need to know something. They know that they can ask and answer their questions at the speed of thought. Ideally, they can drag and drop pieces of data to consider various perspectives. It also helps if they can move from one type of visualization to another seamlessly, or look at multiple visualizations simultaneously.

Want to read more? Download the rest of the whitepaper!