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Executives, their enterprise data, and their phones

Updated: Sep 8, 2020

At the end of 2019, we ran a short survey among international executives exploring their use of data in their organization.

Data usage is a topic that’s close to our hearts here at LigaData. All our products and solutions, in one way or another, facilitate the extraction of value from enterprises’ big data resources.

Whether its through digital transformation or a chap called Sancho with a floppy hat and large mustache (more on him later); and despite all the time and effort dedicated to data, we feel that many companies are still not yet where they’d like to be. Are we right?

This is what we wanted to research. So, the learning points.

Executives do not like completing surveys

We tried to entice executives with the notion that we would donate a dollar to the Red Cross for every survey we received but judging from the amount of surveys we received, that amount did not do the trick. We get it though, survey requests usually can clear a room :).

Spreadsheets are still popular tools for data reporting. Surprisingly.

When surveying executives about what analytics software they are currently using, surprisingly spreadsheets came in first place. This stood out because dashboard products have advanced significantly over the last 15 years. Shouldn’t spreadsheets be obsolete by now? This made us step back and ask ourselves a few questions about why spreadsheets would still be popular given how many dashboard tools exist. Is this because dashboards are being built with too many bells and whistles? Do they provide a high volume of data but a questionable user experience? Are they hard to access? In the highly communicative and collaborative evolving work culture, tools that are universal to use and simple to access are what allow teams to thrive. Spreadsheets can pose a few threats when used as a reporting tool. They are difficult to share, they aren’t designed to host historical data, and they are difficult to analyze. To grasp trends and have data tell a quantifiable story, a spreadsheet requires some “heavy lifting.” Spreadsheets become even more complex when attempting to view and distribute them through mobile devices.

Survey results that represent the popularity order of data aggregation tools
Survey Results

Accessing data through the phone is a pain

When asked about accessing data insights on a mobile device, an unexpected tool came up which is WhatsApp. We dug into this a bit and turns out that executives use the WhatsApp messaging app to ask their teams to retrieve numbers for them. Messaging through an app to obtain data is unreliable and inconvenient. What if messages don't go through? What if the team members who send the data are unavailable when a data retrieve ping is sent? Additionally this method would make it very difficult to review historical data and look at month over month or YOY numbers without having to scroll far back in their history. Ease of use plays a big factor in utilizing dashboards on mobile devices.

When surveying executives in regards to the issues they faced when viewing dashboards on mobile devices, the complexity factor took the lead. Viewing complex graphs, charts, and other dashboard data through a mobile device and not being able to dig deeper and have an aggregated data representation that is easy to digest, pushes users away from mobile dashboards. By nature, viewing a dashboard on a PC, tablet, or larger screen is a more favorable experience. Viewing charts and graphs over a large projection screen in the boardroom vs. on a mobile device is like comparing apples to oranges. It will never be the same experience.

When surveying executives about the value of their enterprise data (its timeliness, accuracy, variety, and availability) variety of data and accessibility are the top pain points executives are experiencing.

The ability to get a holistic view of enterprise data points and the flexibility to access the data insights are two very important factors. Being restricted to computer-based dashboards that are hard to decipher, or tools that are not intuitive or insightful, can be challenging. Executives are held to a high standard to make sound organizational decisions that will continue to move their companies in profitable and positive trajectories. The organizational decisions made today, heavily impact the landscape of tomorrow.  For this reason, having accessible data that offers a diverse variety of elements, is one of the biggest assets an executive can glean from their reporting tools. Having the ability to view data while on travel, in meetings, and around a busy schedule is imperative.

Executives had mixed feelings about imperfect data.

Over 50% of respondents felt their organization was open to using imperfect data, rather than working exclusively off a defined, authorized data set. Data should be about enabling us to make better decisions, so accuracy is an important factor that should be monitored in any data reporting method.

Why did we ask about this, particularly when at LigaData we work in the business of trying to define single sources of truth (SSOT)? Gartner recently published research that “found that organizations using a “sufficient versions of the truth” strategy are far more effective at producing decision-ready data.”

‘In the “sufficient versions” approach, finance makes informed trade-offs between the cost of bad data and the effort of additional data governance to enable ownership to reside with distributed data owners. The approach features localized data governance and prioritizes data improvement efforts that align to business value drivers. It yields a 41% greater contribution to decision readiness of performance data than SSOT.’ [source] About Sancho Analytics Now back to Sancho Analytics, which we briefly introduced in the beginning. We’ve developed him to make accessing dashboards when using a mobile device simple, intuitive, and visually appeasing. It’s an analytics app designed exclusively for mobile devices that uses conversational exchanges to provide executives the data they need on-demand. Under his big floppy hat, Sancho Analytics has a whole lot of brain power. Sancho Analytics connects to where company metrics live and supplies users key insights from their data.

Sancho uses his brain power (along with Natural Language Processing, Machine Learning, and AI) to show shifts in data patterns, trends, and KPIs. When you take out the complexity in traditional dashboards, and make it simple and intuitive to interpret data, communication is streamlined across organizations. Business teams and data teams can operate with agility knowing they have a secure, always on broadcast system for their data reporting. Executives also feel empowered because they never miss a beat with access to crucial numbers at their fingertips.

If you are interested in taking Sancho out for a test drive, register your interest here to be added into our BIO (By Invitation Only) group. Once granted access in this group, you will have the opportunity to test out a sample set in the app and to give us feedback on any suggestions you have for how we can optimize the user experience. You can also register your interest by visiting our homepage. We would like to thank everyone who took the time to complete our executive data survey, in aid of the International Committee of the Red Cross. Sancho is brought to you by LigaData, Inc. LigaData was founded in 2014 in Palo Alto, California by seasoned Silicon Valley data veterans passionate about creating software that empowers organizations to leverage their big data capabilities. LigaData prides themselves in helping enterprises harness the potential within their big data and pioneering change.


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