How to Avoid Data Puke and Gain Insight

Date puke overwhelms business analystInformation overload is a problem and it isn’t getting better anytime soon. Every single day, the amount of data your customers collect greatly increases. That makes it more and more difficult to present that data in a refined and insightful manner.

Businesses need concise, clear information to make the right decisions. Data overload—also known as “data puke”—can cause big problems. Pick the right BI and analytics solution to give your customers a way to avoid data overload that results from a mess of unrelated data displayed in your dashboards in unrelated reports and visualizations that have nothing to do with the business questions you’re trying to answer.

Matt McConnell, CEO of Intradiem, can tell you eight problems with data overload that your organization needs to help your clients address so they can better serve their customers. (And he did, in this article on Innovation Insights.)

Not surprisingly, human factors come into play in many of the problems. Human error, control freaks and lack of talent can prevent the proper use of metrics to drive value from data analysis. “It is critical that you have employees who understand the business problem you are trying to solve with the data,” he wrote.


Customers need access to real-time data, preferably inside your application. But they need to use this data . And, as we’ve said – and McConnell emphasizes in his article –your customers can’t let analysis paralysis prevent them from using the insights gleaned from the data to take action. He’s right in identifying that as the biggest problem. (We offer more on how your customers can prevent this problem in our blog, “Manage Data or It Will Paralyze Your Organization.)

Let’s consider a few ways to prevent data overload so your customer’s end users can discover what actions they need to take for their businesses.

Dashboards Need to Deliver Insight

Take a look at close look at the kind of dashboard your BI tool can produce. Ideally, your customers can create dashboards that resemble the first example you see in Avinash Kashik’s excellent article. If the dashboard seems cluttered or hard to read, then it will create an overload. Instead of providing an insightful analysis, a dashboard suffering from data overload will prevent customers from getting the information needed to make the right business decisions.

Your customers may hire analysts with the intention for them to always try to use every bit of the data to find what is important. While this impulse is understandable, it can also lead to an information overload that paralyzes decision makers instead of helping them. They need to start by deciding what question they need to answer, or what specific area of the business do they need to study to gain insight into its operations.

But displaying too much unrelated data to the problem at hand ruins any chance at gaining insight into the business. While this data might be meaningful, it provides no insight into the big picture. Instead, teach them the value of creating dashboards that will be accompanied by insights into what the data and trends are revealing about the business. Trend lines, summaries and colorful, easy to read graphs help reveal insights.

Data discovery with Izenda’s Auto Chart taps into a unified business model to ensure data from different sources are blended into a single agreed upon definition of business metrics. This helps ensure that analytics from different departments arrives quickly to the same accurate answers.

Auto Chart provides a variety of interactive charts and enables users to move from one type of visualization to the other in seconds to uncover patterns and relationships in data quickly and easily.

But even that’s not going far enough. From those insights, the end user must derive actions to take – and also have a good idea what affect those actions will have on the business.

With self-service BI and analytics embedded into your application, your customers can create the reports and dashboards that they need. Your developers then won’t get demands for a dashboard that include every type and piece of data available, with supporting reports and visualizations. Instead, application users can create a report that gives insight into just the problem they want to solve.

How can an ISV implementing a BI and analytics solution help them get to this point? First, make sure you understand your customers’ business. Even with self-service BI and analytics embedded into your application and its workflow, those customers will need your help to learn how to set up basic reports, dashboards and templates that focus on their industry. Using the standard Windward database to teach them how to create freight and shipping reports will seem disconnected from their business if they deal with property rights or hotel bookings. Communicate in their industry’s language to free your team from spending excessive amounts of time in basic report creation.

With this, you can integrate a self-service BI solution into your application’s workflow to display the right information in the right place and at the right time.

Provide Insightful Data

A dashboard needs to be more than summarizations in the form of pictures or spreadsheets to offer insight into decision making. Show the customer dashboards that provide analysis and trends in the data. Show them how to drill down into the data. Select a BI and analytics vendor that’s ready to teach your team best practices on using their product.

Your customers need to be confident enough in your application and its analytic’s tool that they aren’t afraid to make recommendations based upon the analysis.

A Well-Constructed Dashboard Helps Prevent Data Puke

To make a well-constructed dashboard, work to prevent data overload from overwhelming your customers. Instead, advise them on how to provide insights, recommendations and impacts with just the data that’s right for each analysis.

Analyze Data In Real Time With Izenda

Looking for the right business intelligence software for your company? Then check out the the Izenda embedded BI platform product for your application.

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