CHAPTER 1

The decade of data

To borrow from Hemingway: change happens gradually, then suddenly.

While the world has transformed dramatically since 2019, in many ways the changes we’ve seen in the business world are merely the culmination of a transition already well underway.

The last 10 years have seen some paradigm-shifting evolutions in technology. The gig economy, digital content streaming, and commercial space travel have gone mainstream. Space-based manufacturing, the metaverse, and self-driving cars are no longer science fiction.

Now, technologies like cloud, AI, and digitization are at the forefront of doing business. Together with newer advancements—like Web3, quantum computing, and 5G—they’re poised to build an entirely new world. These digital developments will create opportunities for businesses that take advantage of them—and risks for those that don’t.

And, of course, when you look under the hood, underpinning these trends is a whole lot of data. Data that is living entirely in the cloud for the first time.

 

We’ve entered the defining decade of data. And the companies that dominate this new decade will be the architects of our new world. Shouldn’t your business be one of them?

In this guide, we’ll explore the horizons of this new decade of data.

We’ll deliver insights into how companies can successfully navigate the transition from data-aware to truly data-driven. We’ll outline the rules of engagement for the new era, and hear from some of the world’s premiere data leaders on the changing realities facing today’s organizations. Finally, we’ll share our advice on how your company could become an architect of the coming era.

 
Once in a generation, the opportunities to create a legacy increase massively. It happens when truly tectonic shifts happen in the ecosystem. We’re living through one of those times.
Ajeet SinghCo-founder and Executive ChairmanThoughtSpot
 

Why is this the “defining decade of data?”

The evidence is all around us. Data volumes are exploding at a pace of roughly 2.5 quintillion bytes per day.

Data is driving multi-billion dollar deals and acquisitions in the business sphere. Just look at Microsoft’s $26 billion acquisition of LinkedIn or Oracle’s $28B acquisition of Cerner.

In some cases, a company’s data is two or three times more valuable than the company itself.

Businesses like Snowflake or Databricks, which are foundational to the modern data stack, are breaking market records. In 2020 Snowflake commanded the biggest software IPO of all time —and it wasn’t because of their catchy billboards.

But it’s not just about the money or the sheer scale of the data volumes. This is the decade of data because of the dramatic impact data is having on the way we work and the power dynamics in the market.

Data is driving action. It’s upending power structures that have existed for years. And as data becomes more democratized, we can see pervasive, undeniable, and immediate shifts in power happening across markets.

Macro shifts in power

Today, every sector is being redefined by data-driven power shifts. It doesn’t matter whether your organization buys into them or not. The shifts are happening and if you haven’t already felt their impact it’s only a matter of time.

 

Disney Streaming

Keeping the viewer experience
top-of-mind

Disney Streaming is already reaping the rewards of turning data into insights into action. Disney Streaming Chief Data Officer, Jaya Kolhatkar, believes that the shift in power to consumers now means that companies have to offer choice and control. Do they want ads or subscriptions? Do they want live content or on demand? This creates pressure on a company like Disney Streaming to learn and adapt quickly. Jaya says, “We have to be mindful of the customers who are using the service, and show the right product to the right person at the right time.” Disney Streaming has harnessed its data to inform its product decisions—for instance, by revamping ads to accommodate user “binge-viewing.”

Looking toward the future, Jaya notes, “Data’s impact will become pervasive. It will be part and parcel of how businesses run.”

As data matures, everyone in the organization will need to learn how to use self-service data tools, gather data insights, and use those insights to create exceptional customer experiences.

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Now it’s your turn to take action

To set your company up for success, you’ll have to face these shifts head on and adopt a new playbook for staying ahead. The actions you take today will dictate the future of your business for the next 10 years or more.

Luckily, the very trend that is driving these shifts is your key to staying on the right side of them. And that is your data.

 
The art of the possible is expanding exponentially as the data does.
Sunny BediCIO and CDOSnowflake
 

Your strategy for using data is now the strongest competitive differentiator you have. It’s the key to building great products, delivering excellent customer experiences on the frontlines, and keeping your employees engaged.

But you can’t just collect data for the sake of itself. Action is the destiny of data.

Snowflake

Using data to expand the art of the
possible

Sunny Bedi, Snowflake’s CIO and CDO, is a firm believer that the only valuable data is data that leads to action.

Snowflake is one of the key players in the modern data stack and a driving force behind the major shifts in today’s business landscape. As we have access to more and more data, Bedi believes that “the art of the possible is expanding exponentially.”

For Snowflake, imagination is what transforms data into action. Bedi argues that the role of today’s leader is to “empower imagination.” Snowflake’s mission is to help get data into the hands of frontline workers, so they have the tools to fire up their imaginations, solve problems and move with agility. As Bedi puts it, “I don’t want a BI team; I want everyone to be the BI team.”

So, what advice does Bedi have for today’s business leaders? “Break data silos now. With more and more data, the damage data silos create will be even higher. And put speed and ease front and center. You want to empower their imaginations, so your people can explore, learn, and act quickly.”

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Remember the lasting impact of your data decisions

The decisions you make now for your data will help you navigate the next quarter or meet our annual targets, sure. But they’ll go far beyond that. They will set up your team, your department and your entire organization to dominate this new era. And create a lasting impact on your customers, your industry, and perhaps even the world at large.

Making the consumer aware of the changes they can make is a big part of this journey. The goal is to stop the plastic contintent becoming 6 times the size of France. Allowing people to see their numbers helps us show customers the impact they’ve had.
John HughesChief Strategy OfficerModern Milkman
 

You have a unique opportunity to create your legacy for decades to come.

Sure, change is difficult. It often feels easier, even smarter, to continue on a known path. But the defining decade of data demands more from us.

Redefining the technology stack creates an opportunity that’s too big to pass up—the ability to shift more power to the consumer. This change allows a company to create a legacy benefiting not only current teams and customers but also future teams and customers.

So, will you go down the same path, following the last decade’s playbook? The opportunity for doing data differently is massive, but there are plenty of mistakes that can stand in your way.

Let’s dig into those first—and then what to do instead.

Becton Dickenson

Building a legacy during a global health
crisis

If anyone knows about using data to build a legacy, it’s Becton Dickinson. BD is a $20 billion company and one of the world’s top 3 medical device companies. They use data as a strategic pillar of their business. The information produced by their medical devices creates new insights that have never existed before.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, groups like the CDC used these insights to form their recommendations for how to make it through the global health crisis, impacting millions of lives. BD used ThoughtSpot to help them serve insights and data at scale during the biggest healthcare crisis in a generation.

We asked Brendon Hill, the VP of the HealthSight Platform at BD, for his advice on how to create a data business within an existing traditional business. His response:

“Build stepwise progress for this transformation. You need to build momentum to get you over the top of the mountain. What started in BD as a science experiment is now how we go to market—and our devices are now in more than 10% of US hospitals. Data isn’t about slicing, dicing and charting. It’s about making a recommendation and helping someone to take action.”

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The data mistakes holding your business back

Too many businesses are keen to embrace the new decade of data–but struggling to let go of the past. Any of this sound familiar?

Just 10% of executives believe their employees can effectively use data for decision-making.

Two-thirds of executives aren’t confident about their ability to access or use data with their existing tools and resources.

After two decades, analytics adoption rates have stalled, at around 30%.

Despite 20 years of investment dashboard adoption falls flat

So, what gives? Why are businesses still struggling to use their data to drive action–despite the major advances in analytics technology available to them?

Here are the biggest mistakes we see companies making again and again–the issues that are holding them back from dominating the defining era of data:

MISTAKE #1

Betting on average-of-breed vendors

Far too often, companies are reluctant to part with traditional, one-size-fits-all tools that can't handle the realities of the new data era. These tools may do one thing well—but they don't connect to the modern data stack.

Worse, they aren't built with today's data challenges in mind. Legacy BI tools were built for desktops and single-server applications. They usually don't play well with the massive scale of today's cloud-based data warehouses.

And it's not just about the scale of the data; it's also about the demands placed on that data by a modern data-driven business. Tools built around dashboarding, cubes, and extracts start to fail as the number and complexity of use cases begin to surge.

A Dimensional Research report found that in companies relying on legacy BI dashboards.

MISTAKE #2

Depending on data analysts to spoon-feed insights

It no longer makes sense that business users have to go cap in hand to data analysts whenever they need to use data for decision-making. This is a poor use of time for both parties. A study by Harvard Business Review reported that 87% of organizations believed they would be more successful if frontline workers were empowered with data–yet only 20% of them had made moves to put data into the hands of those workers.

Meanwhile, more than two-thirds of data analysts say they lack adequate time to implement profit-driving ideas since they’re wasting up to 50% of their workdays maintaining dashboards and providing customized reports.

MISTAKE #3

Banking on static dashboards for crucial insights

The purpose of data is to create insights that drive action. But for that, you need those insights presented in ways your frontline workers can actually use.

Unfortunately, insights often die on the vine because tools can't talk to each other. For instance, in the traditional process, an employee must manually find an insight, go to a meeting, share the finding, and suggest the team use it to make relevant changes. Each step along the way is another opportunity for human error or for new questions to arise, starting the cycle all over again.

Yet too many companies continue to rely on data extracts and static dashboards. Sure, they may have the necessary insights–but they’re often out of date, too hard to access at the moment of need, or too fragmented to be reliable.

A Dimensional Research report found that in companies relying on legacy BI dashboards:

86% of the data used to create insights is out of date; and

41% of insights are using data that is two months old or older

This is creating major obstacles for companies on a quest to dominate the decade of data. Two-thirds of the organizations surveyed in the HBR report believe that improving their organization's success with BI and analytics comes down to using live data and trusting in the data.

Enter the cloud-connected ecosystem. With this technology, companies can access timely data—plus insights can fuel actions directly since systems interact.

MISTAKE #4

Building on top of an inflexible data foundation

Too many organizations are not only still relying on static dashboards but equally static and inflexible data pipelines.

Every time a new business query or use case emerges, the business user has to ask the analyst, who must ask the data engineer to build that specific data into their flow, who must then ask the IT team to make sure the new data is validated, governed and secure before it can be modeled. The process is repetitive, frustrating, and expensive.

Today’s data leaders will need a data foundation that is structured and governable, but also flexible, with programmable data models. That way, it can be iterated as the decade of data throws up new opportunities and challenges.

MISTAKE #5

Ignoring the promise of third-party data

For a complete, holistic view of your organization’s reality, you’ll also need to take advantage of the wealth of available third-party data. This isn’t exactly new.

But plenty of leaders make the mistake of thinking what was possible five years ago is still the case. The amount—and kinds—of data available today are far and above what was available even half a decade ago. The feasibility of capturing and leveraging this data isn’t some future-state. It’s here, now.

Of course, with cloud data storage, data sharing no longer requires data movement, making the process easier to visualize and scale. Even with a cloud data warehouse in place, if you’re not set up for the modern data stack, you’ll still be facing a laborious, manual process of preparing and analyzing third-party data.

Having information is powerful, for sure, but sharing information can be even more powerful.
Mani GopalakrishnanVice President of Digital TransformationKraft Heinz

MISTAKE #6

Creating lackluster UX with no access to data

Data insights shouldn’t be relegated to analyst reports. Business users, customers, and frontline workers need data at their fingertips to compete in today’s data-driven market. But many businesses keep data siloed in BI platforms, instead of embedding Live Analytics into their employees’ day-to-day.

Your employees and customers shouldn’t need to go looking for relevant data–it should be right there in front of them, in the apps where they spend their time (think Slack, Salesforce or Google Docs).

Users should be able to ask any business question they want, in the natural language they’re used to–without needing help from a data expert. The businesses that complain that their users aren’t making the most of their analytics tools have probably not spent enough time thinking about the frustrating, overly complex experience most users are having with those tools.

This is where the real revolution starts. This is the first time in the history of this industry where - thanks to ThoughtSpot - we put our users in the driving seat. They decide where they want to go. They decide what they want to search for. They decide which areas they want to explore.
Matt LukowskiDirector of AnalyticsHarri

Don’t let these mistakes hold your business back. Try ThoughtSpot free for 30 days to dominate the decade of data.

CHAPTER 2

Six rules to dominate the decade of data

So, how do you make the leap from 2014-esque insights to what you’ll need in this next decade? How do you move away from the common mistakes we’ve seen so many companies make–and start to dominate the new data landscape?

In our work with customers who have already moved boldly into the decade of data, we’ve seen what it takes. While every business is different, we’ve seen successful companies follow six common steps—and we’ve turned those into the six rules for this decade of data. Follow these rules, and your company will be poised to join the ranks of data leaders.

When building a modern data stack, it’s easy to fall into the trap of using “good enough” technology, provided by a convenient one-stop-shop vendor.

Navigating the modern data stack flow

But good enough really isn’t good enough. Not anymore.

 

More than 80% of frontline workers report a poor experience with existing analytics solutions.

86% of frontline workers report a need for better insights technology. Businesses often rely on multiple data stacks—for instance, marketing and customer data may live in a CRM, but finance and sales data is in a POS system. As a result, their data is siloed, and their analysts can only ever see part of the story their data is trying to tell them, never the whole.

Of course, many companies have moved their data to the cloud to try and fix the issues with their existing data stack. But cloud data storage is only the beginning. You also need to use best-in-class technology across every layer of your stack to realize the full flexibility and power of the cloud.

“End-to-end” is the new status quo; the minimum for getting by in a world driven by data. But, in this decade of data, the difference between “good enough” and “excellent” is so significant that you can’t get by for long—even if it’s easier.

Soon enough, your team and your customers will start to notice.

 
Companies today want to progress up the data maturity curve and move from traditional, historical analytics to predictive and prescriptive analytics. But they cannot do this with siloed data stacks.
Chris HechtSVP, Corporate Development and Product PartnershipsDatabricks
 

How to choose the best tools for your modern data stack

If you’ve decided you want to capitalize on the power of the modern data stack, you may find yourself spoilt for choice: from end2end stacks to single service offerings, in areas ranging from data integration, transformation, to data platforms, to governance, to analytics...

All that choice sounds great—but how do you separate the best from the rest? If you’re not methodical about how you build your stack, you could be stuck with systems and services that do not work well with each other, are simply not best of breed, or are too difficult to use.

So how should we make our choices?

While many companies claim to be making modern data technology, truly world-class data tools have a few characteristics setting them apart from the rest. When considering adding a new technology to your stack, ask:

Is it easy to try and deploy? Will it help us move quickly to take our place in the defining decade of data?

Is it cloud native? Can it take advantage of live connectivity from cloud data platforms at scale?

Can it handle modern data volumes-while also busting data silos?

Is it open and straightforward to integrate into our tech stack? Will it be easy to adapt in the future as our data strategy evolves?

Does it have a user experience layer built in–and was it designed with the business user in mind?

Will it help us put the value of our stack into the hands of every employee?

Sure, finding the right tools for your data stack might take you a while, but just consider the benefits. With modern cloud analytics capabilities, you’ll suddenly find that your company can:

  • Unlock the full power of your data, and transform that information into actionable insights;
  • Empower your entire organization to answer their own questions with real data, not gut instinct;
  • Automate how your organization gathers, integrates and uses data, no matter where that data is coming in from;
  • Create a virtuous cycle of organizational learning;
  • Simplify the data stack, reduce your maintenance needs, and keep your data clean and relevant.

Databricks

Simplifying the modern data stack

Databricks is the perfect example of technology that’s perfectly designed to fit into the modern data stack. Instead of using multiple data stacks for different types of workloads, with the Lakehouse, you're able to have all of your data, structured and unstructured, in one place.

In other words, no more data silos. Users no longer have to figure out which stack they should be using for which business purpose.

Chris Hecht, Senior Vice President of Corporate Development and Product Partnerships at Databricks, explains what this means for the end user:

“This allows for a dramatic simplification of your data architecture for all of your workloads (including data warehousing, data science and ML, as well as data engineering and data streaming) and abstracts away the complexity at all layers of the data stack.”

And, as it’s all open source and open standards, you have a lot of freedom in how you evolve your data strategy for the new decade of data.

Databricks is a ThoughtSpot partner, meaning that many customers, such as GSK and Merck, are now using ThoughtSpot on Databricks together. As a result, their business users can answer their own data questions on the entire data lake, without needing help from analysts. Unlike the traditional data analytics stack, in the modern data stack, companies have real self-service analytics and a simple, powerful, AI-driven search experience.

Already using Databricks? Try ThoughtSpot free for 30 days.

It’s long been said the secret to a better answer is to ask a better question.

But in an era of legacy BI tools, that’s easier said than done. You could ask the best question in the world. It won’t make any difference if your analyst team takes weeks to pull the answer for you based on stale data. The answer you’ll get isn’t timely or personalized. At that point, it might not even be actionable any more. And what happens when the first question inevitably sparks a second one?

Dashboard vs. modern world speed

Unfortunately, if you’re still relying on static dashboards, it doesn’t really matter how much you modernize your data stack. There’s no way you can get your business ready to compete in the defining decade of data.

If your data is sitting in the hands of a few overworked analysts, your business users can’t get the insights they need to drive their decisions. Instead, they’re stuck in what we like to call “the infinite loop of dashboard insanity.” The business user has a question, but is waiting for the analyst to find them a metric to answer it. The analyst is waiting for the data engineer to build them a new model to capture that metric. The data engineer is waiting for the IT department to validate the data that they can use to build the model to provide the metric. And then the whole cycle repeats again!

ThoughtSpot Liveboards

Skip the static dashboards. Our Liveboards let you build responsive visualizations direclty from your live data, then easily go from high-level analytics to granular insights instantly without the need for pre-defining drill paths.

This isn’t only inefficient—it’s expensive.

When you’ve added up all the people hours involved, we estimate that the cost of personalizing insights and creating new dashboards is approximately $18,000 a piece.

Meanwhile, the world around us has become self-service. We book our own flights, we find our own restaurants, and we watch videos on Youtube that match our interests.

On the consumer web, this is made possible by search and AI as core technologies. Now, businesses need to enable the same level of self-service for their employees and customers.

 
Reframe the business-data relationship. Data is not a service organization.
Dr. Ansar KassimHead of Financial AnalyticsVerizon
 

Instead of the old model of running “dashboard factories” to answer business questions, today’s data leaders empower everyone to create their own insights with search and AI.

Because that’s the only way. There’s just too much data and too many questions from the business to handle if you don’t let your employees and customers go ahead and find the answers themselves.

Verizon

Getting hungry for data

For Dr. Ansar Kassim, Head of Financial Analytics at Verizon, the only way to approach data successfully in the defining decade of data is to change your habits. As he puts it, “Data is like developing a taste. You get a hunger for it.” Ín essence, it’s time for data teams to stop being a report factory. Instead, it’s time to put your data in the hands of every employee who needs it.

On May 1st, 2022, Verizon gave ThoughtSpot access to every one of its store reps. To quote Dr. Kassim, “We gave them more than just data. We gave them interactivity. We gave them curiosity.” Today, teams at Verizon can answer thousands of questions coming in from sales and marketing. The COO and the frontline seller have access to the same data.

If you want to transform your organization into a data leader, Dr. Kassim advises you to “reframe the business-data relationship. Data is not a service organization.” He argues that the data leader’s job is no longer to answer questions. Instead, they should be the ones asking the business questions.

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Insights are powerful, but on their own, they have limited value. Businesses are built on actions, not information. Instead of relying on people to act on data by looking at dashboards, let’s bring insights into operational workflows to drive smarter actions at scale.

What do we mean by that? We’re talking about embedding analytics capabilities into the tools your teams are already using. With Live Analytics built for the modern cloud ecosystem, insights created in one place can seamlessly flow through the entire workflow without friction.

ThoughtSpot Sync

Use SQL to push cloud data insights right to where decisions are made-in business applications. Send data where your business team needs it like Google Sheets, Excel, Slack email and more.

If you have insights about your most valuable customers, or customers that are most likely to churn, don’t just show them on dashboards. You can bring them automatically into your marketing campaigns and customer support workflows to drive higher value for your business.

Or, with a tool like ThoughtSpot Sync, you can sync customer data into your business apps using prebuilt destinations like Google Sheets or Slack—with no need for API scripts. Say you’re evaluating your annual sales, and some of your growth numbers spark excitement and the need for a group huddle. You just click “Send to Slack” from any live chart, Select “my channel” as the destination, and personalize your post, before sharing with the team.

Suddenly, business insights aren’t just something “out there”. They’re right where you need them, helping you make better decisions, and take action. That’s what being data-driven really looks like in the decade of data.

The new decade of data will be defined by the modern data stack and self-service analytics for all – propelling organizations toward the next level of data fluency.

But you can’t dominate the decade of data by wasting valuable resources on maintaining legacy data pipelines, processes, and operations.

Over the last two decades, companies have learned that there’s no such thing as a perfect data warehouse. Over the last 10 years, we’ve also learned that taking all our raw data and dumping it mindlessly into a data lake doesn’t work either.

When you define your data architecture and models in the cloud, you can make well-informed assumptions about your business needs—but, sadly, many of them will turn out to be wrong. That’s because the world around us continues to evolve with increasing speed.

ThoughtSpot Modeling Language TML

While the rest of the industry allows you to build static dashboards with modeling languages, TML is the only language that allows you to build data models that empower business users to ask thousands of new questions that you didn’t explicitly model. Learn more

What you need is a foundation with structure and governance that is flexible enough to be iterated and improved. With modern data engineering and programmable data models, you can build a data foundation that follows best practices from software engineering: extensibility, programmability, reusability, version control, and collaboration. This approach will allow you to meet the needs of today but also help you change rapidly as your business needs evolve.

After all, every company and team has their own use for data. And data volumes are expansive, so old processes and pipelines are breaking. Automation is essential to survival; it is the only approach that will scale as data volumes expand.

In this new context, we’re seeing a new role—the analytics engineer—and a new data workspace.

The rise of the analytics engineer

Analytics engineers take the practices and learnings of software development—things like version control, testing and continuous integration—and apply them to analytics. They’re also leveling up on skills to keep up with the growing demands of their role—doubling down on SQL and adding new languages like Python and new tools like dbt to deliver more value to their teams.

 
The role of the data engineer, the analytics engineer, is becoming ever more strategic as the data itself becomes more strategic to companies of every size and description.
Margaret FrancisChief Product Officerdbt Labs
 

The new data workspace

As we fundamentally change how we work with data, we need a new data workspace that will let analytics and data engineers meet their end users' growing expectations.

The modern data foundation needs to be able to:

CONNECT directly to your favorite cloud data platform, like Snowflake, Databricks, Starburst, GBQ, and more.

MODEL your data with SQL and dbt.

OPERATIONALIZE your insights through Reverse ETL so you can push data to business-critical third-party apps like HubSpot, Slack and Google Sheets.

BUILD data models that empower business users to ask thousands of new questions that you didn’t explicitly model.

LAUNCH new use cases and data apps across your organization, quickly and easily.

dbt Labs

Bridging the gap between analytics engineering and business outcomes

One company building solutions for the new generation of data analysts and engineers is dbt Labs. dbt is a data transformation framework that’s been adopted by more than 11,000 data teams. It’s the de facto standard for data transformation in the modern data stack.

dbt sits on top of a data platform like Snowflake or Databricks. It doesn’t move the data but makes it cleaner and improves the data quality, allowing data teams to collaborate on transformation logic using just SQL. Anyone who knows SQL can contribute: that’s over 11M data professionals who now have access to model data. dbt gives them access to software engineering best practices, like version control, testing, and documentation, improving speed and collaboration.

We asked dbt Labs Chief Product Officer Margaret Francis why the role of the analytics engineer is vital for companies who aim to be data leaders in the defining decade of data. She explained, “The role of the data engineer, the analytics engineer, is becoming ever more strategic as the data itself becomes more strategic to companies of every size and description.”

In today’s organizations, the data model needs to make sense to the business user. As Margaret points out, “Data is more important. But there needs to be a bridge between the data engineer and the business user. dbt provides that transition layer, that a tool like ThoughtSpot then exposes to the user.”

See for yourself how easy it is to use dbt and ThoughtSpot together.

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A flexible data foundation is exactly that: just a foundation, a starting point for surfacing the insights you need.

While your own data is your intellectual property, to get the most value from it you must combine it with third-party data to build a 360-degree view of your business. You need insights into what’s happening with:

  • Your customers
  • Your products
  • Your partners and suppliers
  • Your competition
  • The market you operate in

That way, you avoid blind spots and make better decisions. It’s the difference between driving your car by just using a paper-based map vs. using Google Maps, with its constant updates about traffic and warnings about hot spots. Third-party data is like GPS signals you are getting from other cars.

In this decade, third-party data is becoming both rich and easy to consume. With the impending death of cookies, global supply chain instability, and rising customer expectations, analyzing your data in a silo just doesn’t cut it.

ThoughtSpot Blocks

ThoughtSpot Blocks for third-party data now make it easier than ever to analyze third-party data in ThoughSpot and can uncover real-time, granular insights to move your business forward with confidence. Learn more

While the idea of using third-party data isn't new, the ease and feasibility is—thanks to the cloud and data marketplaces from Snowflake, Databricks, and others.

Third-party data from trusted providers gives you the granular, actionable insights you need to augment what you already know. And because this is all happening in the cloud, you simply get fresh data—without having to deal with brittle FTP or archaic CSV uploads.

In the decade of data, it’s time to rethink all those business applications you’re building. They should no longer just act as systems of record. They should be data-driven apps that enable intelligent operations.

These days, our whole world is made up of data. And that data represents an opportunity to create personalized, actionable insights that drive our businesses forward.

Think of a Fitbit. It doesn’t just count your steps and read your heart-rate. It gives you an overview of your health and recommends actions you should take to keep moving, to get better sleep and to improve your overall well-being.

That’s what your employees and your customers want to see in your business applications. Whether you are building an HR app for recruiters looking for faster insights or an internal supply chain app for managing your suppliers, you can provide intelligence in all your applications using data:

You can help HR manage employee satisfaction and attrition by giving them insights about employee engagement.

You can help your procurement team do a better job of interfacing with your suppliers by giving them a 360-degree view of items and suppliers in the procurement apps they use.

Insights should not be limited to BI dashboards; they should be seamlessly integrated everywhere. In-app data exploration, or embedded analytics, is the new frontier for creating engaging experiences that keep users coming back for more.

The challenge with building interactive data experiences

30% According to Gartner, the average analytics adoption rate is only 30%.

53% 53% of product builders believe they need to focus on analytics UX.

But building your own interactive analytics experiences isn’t easy. According to Gartner, the average analytics adoption rate is only 30%. Curious users often need to ask a series of questions before they derive real insights. Most in-product analytics experiences don’t support this. They’re based on predefined dashboards that only let the users explore data within certain limitations. That’s why 53% of product builders believe they need to focus on analytics UX.

And that's the exact opposite of what makes amazing product and customer experiences. For users to get the most from your business app, they need analytics to be self-service, flexible, and personalized.

Today, the number of new apps available to consumers is growing exponentially. Yet among that rising competition, engagement and retention rates are low. These products aren’t sticky. Users log in and leave without ever thinking twice because they aren’t getting the experience they want.

Data is the new UX

As a product builder, you know embedded analytics is the new frontier for creating engaging experiences that keep users coming back for more.

ThoughtSpot Everywhere allows you to build an innovative embedded analytics experience and incorporate any service available in the Modern Analytics Cloud, including search and AI-driven analytics, directly into your apps, products, and services.

ThoughtSpot Everywhere

With ThoughtSpot Everywhere, you can embed self-service analytics into any business app, customer portal, or digital product.

In doing so, your teams can launch new products to market faster, saving on time to build and maintain, while giving customers exactly what they’re looking for.

Every embedded analytics experience powered by ThoughtSpot Everywhere is customizable and representative of your brand and your customers’ unique journeys.

CHAPTER 3

The time is now

So, it’s the defining decade of data. The power is shifting. The new rules are clear. The technology is ready.

The only question is: Are you?

While tech is part of delivering this kind of change, it’s only one side of the coin. More often than not, it’s the other side – people, process, and culture – where transformation stalls.

68% of data teams say they lack adequate time to implement profit-driving ideas.

92% of data workers report that their time is being siphoned away performing operational tasks outside of their roles.

91% of executives say culture is the biggest barrier to becoming a data-driven company

Culture and technology are two sides of the same coin. The hard truth is, any organization running on dead-end dashboards—or worse, static PowerPoints that analysts spend weeks creating—was probably late to the cloud. They probably have brittle ETL processes that rely on a monolithic data warehouse. And this outdated technology reflects a culture of complacency, distrust, and fear of failure.

What do modern data leaders do differently?

They embrace innovation

Modern data leaders champion new ways of working. They put new paradigms like data mesh to work, think beyond their own data, and leverage external data using modern data sharing instead of legacy FTP. They know time is money, and speed to insight is synonymous with success.

They encourage collaboration

These data leaders also recognize that every data project only matters when it solves a business challenge. They structure their teams to work collaboratively with lines of business to embed analytics expertise everywhere. Domain expertise combined with low-code analytics tools is what makes this game-changing. Analysts are no longer order takers — they’re business partners.

They reject the Us vs. Them mentality

All organizations on the leading edge of data and analytics have a culture that celebrates excellence, trust, and necessary risk-taking. There are no diving lines between IT and Business, or Data and Business. There’s just one team with access to the same data, using insights to deliver results aligned with the company mission.

They advocate data in the boardroom

At the helm of many of these organizations is a leadership team who recognizes the digital economy is the only economy — and data is the currency. Often at the helm is the Chief Data and Analytics Officer.

These are not your first-generation data leaders, playing defense and mainly guarding the keys to the data kingdom. These leaders are on the offense — no matter how rough the waters. They are personalizing customer experiences while ensuring privacy and innovating products and services. Everything comes down to propelling the business forward.

Mastercard

The new role of the data leader

JoAnn Stonier, the CDO of Mastercard, epitomizes the data leader for this defining decade. Stonier believes that the world of data is begetting a new reality. The CDO has a major responsibility in this new context — after all, they will advise the organization on every key decision.

She sees her role as that of a subject matter expert, looking to the future, but also working towards a more democratic, more diverse and more informed present.

The data-driven economy is essentially people-centric, even as the technology becomes more sophisticated. As a result, Stonier argues that the onus is on the professionals who understand the data and the algorithms that underpin our everyday lives to question, “What are the risks? What are the biases?” Getting this right will take a mindset shift across the entire culture of our organizations.

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CHAPTER 4

How ThoughtSpot can help

Adopting this new mindset and making all the right transitions is a tall order. You have to navigate rapid shifts in technology, change (and possibly even break) long-standing processes, and influence or even rebuild your business culture.

To take the new decade of data head on, you need technology partners that will walk hand in hand with you, who are as committed to your success as you are.

At ThoughtSpot, we’d love to be that partner. We understand the realities, challenges, and pitfalls facing today’s organizations as we enter the defining decade of data. We pride ourselves on offering customers the ability to influence our product roadmap and a community to connect with peers and exchange best practices. We know that you need to move quickly and that there’s no time to waste on implementation.

Here is what it looks like in action:

Your data teams have time to deliver real business value.

92% of data workers report that their time is being siphoned away performing operational tasks outside of their roles.

Instead of using up your data team’s time maintaining pre-defined, static data-to-dashboard pipelines, switching to ThoughtSpot lets business users self-serve their own insights with Live Analytics — no more data remodeling, schema rebuilding, pre-aggregation ,or data movement required. Your data team will have far more time available for creating real business value.

 
With ThoughtSpot, the data team is able to be much, much more nimble. Add a billion rows of data? Achievable in a week.
Keegan O’SheaGlobal Director of Behavioral ScienceAfterpay
 

Your front-line workers have access to the information they need, when they need it.

ThoughtSpot’s consumer-grade UX supports even the most non-technical business users to self-serve the insights they need, when they need it. Plus, with Spot IQ, you get one-click auto-analysis of huge data volumes to surface the insights they might not even have thought to look for.

Afterpay

Building on trust

In today’s market, interactivity and real-time decision making is a must for companies. Your customers expect it, and your internal stakeholders need it to deliver against those expectations. Afterpay, now part of Block, is a company that’s seen incredible growth and clearly knows the importance of agility.

We asked Nitish Mathew and Keegan O’Shea from Afterpay what it was like partnering with ThoughtSpot. They told us, “In a lot of instances and organizations, procurement can take 6-12 months. We were able to get ThoughtSpot through this process in a week. We were able to make use of the cloud to move incredibly quickly. ThoughtSpot met the security standards that we needed to ensure compliance. The SSO made deployment simple, and its architecture meant it was seamless to integrate.”

Afterpay thrives in the new data-driven reality, and they’ve embraced the shift away from the old-school, command and control mentality. For Keegan, “The real shift here is a mindset shift that needs to be built on trust. If you trust your colleagues, and believe that you’re all on the same side, you can do so much more.” Nitish added, “In Australia, it’s what we call mateship. I see that as an essential element of our success with ThoughtSpot.”

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You have a single source of truth, with no more silos or fragmented insights.

90% of data analysts report that numerous data sources were unreliable over the last 12 months due to fragmented tools and processes.

That’s not really surprising—fragmented data sources produce fragmented insights. On the other hand, ThoughtSpot lets you live-query all of your cloud data wherever it’s hosted, with no aggregations or data movement required. ThoughtSpot’s cloud-native architecture is built for speed and scale, and it sits directly on top of your cloud data warehouse, natively inheriting all data models and scheme.

You finally crack the code on building sticky product experiences.

With ThoughSpot Everywhere, you can power up your apps by embedding search and AI-driven Live Analytics, customizable charts and tables, and instant insights right into your apps, product, or service.

In short, ThoughtSpot will put your business at the leading edge of the data revolution.

Let us help you dominate the decade of data. Find out why customers have chosen ThoughtSpot to become the architects of the new data-driven economy.

Start your free 30-day trial of ThoughtSpot today.