ThoughtSpot Admin Console - A Place called Home

If you read these lines, you’re probably already familiar with ThoughtSpot. Thanks to its intuitive search paradigm, ThoughtSpot is the easiest and simplest way to bring analytics across your entire organization. 

Yet simple isn’t simplistic, and the ThoughtSpot application is in reality a complex system skillfully constructed to serve thousands of users, process hundreds of gigabytes of data, and millions of database rows; all of this while serving queries in the blink of an eye. 

Because ThoughtSpot is so powerful and aimed at a large variety of groups - business users, analysts, or data engineers - and organizations, the application requires some configuration to fit the needs and workflows of an organization. 

Historically, a lot of configurations have been possible via tscli, the ThoughtSpot command line interface. However, relying on a command line interface in any product has some pretty significant limitations. 

First, it isn’t that great for users who aren’t intimate with Linux commands. And even for the Linux ninjas among us, ThoughtSpot has its own commands for configuration, with their own structure and verbiage. The learning path can then be quite steep and tortuous. Last, and this is a fundamental limitation of command line interfaces vs. GUIs, there is just no quick and easy way to get an overview. Want to know what is configurable? Read the documentation. Can’t remember how a knob was configured? Open a terminal, type a series of commands, and visually parse the results on your screen. No simple click, no graphical cues, everything is in plain text in black and white.. Not great.

As ThoughtSpot is becoming the analytics tool of choice in hundreds of organizations, now is the time to overcome these limitations, and bring up the configuration capabilities in the application, to consolidate “the whole product”. 

The original idea of “the whole product” was first introduced in Theodore Levitt’s “The Marketing Imagination”. In his seminal book “Crossing the Chasm”, Geoffrey A. Moore illustrates the concept as:

Surround your disruptive core product, the thing that got you to the dance, with a whole product that solves for the target customer’s problem end to end.

Once an application is no longer simply embraced by early adopters but has become part of the mainstream markets and is adopted by pragmatic customers, it is time for the application to be expanded with ancillary capabilities to assure that the customers can fulfill their mission with it.

One of these ancillary capabilities is the new Admin Console. Available from the top bar of the ThoughtSpot application, the Admin Console provides a central panel for all things related to configuration. 

1. The Admin user is just another user

When we talk to our customers, we often hear that a large variety of persons in their organizations play the role of the administrator, and as such they have different skill levels. Providing a dedicated property in the application elevates the administrator role in the application, and makes it very clear that admins are critical to the wide access and use of a powerful BI tool and of the success of organization at large. It allows these admin users with level technical skillset to also have access to configuration settings and ensure that the way ThoughtSpot is being operated in a fashion that is custom-designed to their organization and team’s internal process, structure, and operational practices.  

2. ThoughtSpot configuration at your fingertips

The fact that admin users now have access to the configuration ‘knobs’ directly in the application also provides a major enhancement in terms of capabilities. Simply put, to be successful when administering the ThoughtSpot application, admin users are no longer required to study the online documentation and get a complicated mental model of the ThoughtSpot infrastructure to use the cli. Rather, the knobs are now visually laid down in front of them, and it becomes much more simple to discover how the ThoughtSpot application can be configured. <br><br>So of the key knobs that are now available from this centralized Admin Console include:

  • User and group management, to manage user access in the application

  • Integration with external company user directory, such as Microsoft Active Directory or Identity providers like Okta and Ping Identity

  • Backup management

  • SSL certificate management

  • and much more

3. Thin, clean layout and design

But it isn’t just about what you can do and how many knobs you can turn. At ThoughtSpot, we particularly understand the critical aspect of User Experience. That is why the Admin Console has been completely imagined / thought to be inline with the ThoughtSpot touch: a thin and clean design layout that meets the same bar as the most modern customer applications most of us use every day. Providing a visually pleasant, rewarding environment which is intuitive to navigate and operate, is a key requirement to successfully using business applications in organizations. 

We really hope you will enjoy the new Admin Console. But this is just the beginning. As our application continues to evolve to empower any organization with the ability to analyze data, the Admin Console will become even richer. Stay tuned for our future announcements and in the meantime, if you have questions or suggestions as to what capabilities you would like to see in our Admin Console, please let us know.