There is a revolution happening now in the field of data analytics.  Business users are driving the train, demanding solutions that allow them to see and understand their data without having to wait for IT to create queries and reports.  What’s more – they want to be able to change their mind and ask new and ever-better questions, without having to wait for IT to make revisions for them.  This capability is known in the Business Intelligence (BI) space as data discovery.

As a former association IT Director, I clearly remember the days (and weeks) of back and forth conversations with department heads in membership, events, and accounting, where they tried to explain the data they wanted to see.  When we delivered what they asked for, often the reaction was, “That’s not what I meant.” The thing is – it was no one’s fault.  The department staff asked for information using their vocabulary and understanding of the business, and the IT staff delivered what they thought they heard.  Neither side was to blame for the resulting miscommunication, but both suffered.  The department staff suffered because they could not quickly get access to the information they needed and IT suffered because of all the rework.

All of this is changing.  According to Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence and Analytics Platforms released February 20, 2014, the primary requirement for BI tool selection now is data discovery capabilities.  Data discovery is the ability for the business user to have a “conversation” with their data.  It’s the process by which staff ask questions of their association’s data by interacting directly with a visual representation of it – without going to IT.  The benefit is not just a savings in time and money by eliminating rework – the primary benefit is the ability for association staff to ask new and ever-better questions of the data directly – at the speed of thought.  This allows them to think spontaneously and creatively about what they need to know in order make better decisions, which in turn enables them to mitigate risk and capitalize on opportunities.

Gartner2014In Gartner’s report, Tableau Software is identified as the leader, scoring highest in the combination of “ability to execute” and “completeness of vision”.

According to Gartner, “Tableau offers an intuitive, visual-based interactive data exploration experience that customers rate highly. Customers remain extremely happy with Tableau (for the fourth year in a row), particularly with its core differentiator — making a range of types of analysis (from simple to complex) accessible and easy for the ordinary business user.”

This is why at DSK we recommend Tableau Software for our association clients.  Not only are they the leader in the data analytics market, but because their software is so easy to use, the adoption rate is one of the fastest we have ever seen.  This allows staff to quickly leverage all of their data to confidently make decisions which advance their association’s mission.