Analytics Don't Have to be Mission Impossible: Why I Joined ThoughtSpot’s Public Sector Team

For twenty years, I have worked in the analytics space and supported government customers. Earlier this month I told a friend, who is not in the tech industry, about my new job and she asked, “How is ThoughtSpot different than the other companies you’ve worked for? Isn’t it hard to represent one software product and then another?”

I explained that my career has been built on serving my customers, identifying gaps in their current solutions and trying to find something that will make the lives of every government workers a little easier. One of the greatest gaps? Decision making.

The advent of “big” data, IoT and our increasingly connected world have transformed expectations on how insights, derived from data, inform decisions. Combine this with the confluence of an aging government workforce and the newly enlisted soldiers, sailors and airmen who are digital natives, and it's clear information delivery across the government needs to be relevant, simple and timely. And that requires something transformative.

Bringing ThoughtSpot to the government market gives me the opportunity to fill a critical information gap pervasive at the frontlines, where life or death decisions impacting millions are made every single day.

Government IT systems are notoriously archaic and yet those on the frontlines have only minutes, if not seconds to make mission-critical decisions. For years, customers have shared, “This dashboard is interesting but what if my users don’t know what question they are going to ask? What if the mission changes and they need new information?” That’s where an analytics system predicated on the ease of search becomes revolutionary.

An Always Changing World

The tragic disaster in the recent California wildfires provide an excellent example of just how rapidly missions change, just one of the many missions our government agencies respond to daily

The National Interagency Fire Center is at the center of the relief efforts, busy coordinating with other Federal and State and Local agencies. For example, the Global SuperTanker, a modified Boeing 747-400 that can carry 18,000 gallons of fire retardant was brought in from Colorado.

A plane with red fire retardant coming out of the back.

Six other types of aircraft were utilized for specialized purposes; for example, the "Super Huey," the UH-1H supports crew transport, water and foam drops, medical evacuations backfiring operations and infrared mapping while the Grumman S-2T can cruise at speeds of 305 MPH with a 1,200 payload.

Now, imagine coordinating all of these specialties, ensuring you have the right personnel to fly the aircraft, that they’ve received the required training to operate the aircraft; that there is enough fuel to complete the mission, that the maintenance of the aircraft has been prepared properly and the safety inspections complete to allow for deployment. The combination of these factors, known as mission readiness, often requires an entire team of people just to pull the data and another team to compile and deliver the static dashboard to Commander of the mission.

Usually, the Commander has a new question, and the dashboard instantly becomes outdated.

A System that Keeps Up with the Mission

Now, imagine a system that allows the commander to make split second decisions as the mission changes by asking a question and getting an answer in simple language. ThoughtSpot delivers on this promise by making analytics as easy to use as Google, a service everyone from the newly enlisted to the Director of the Agency already knows how to use.

But what about the questions you didn’t even know to ask? That’s where SpotIQ, ThoughtSpot’s AI engine, comes in. SpotIQ automatically asks thousands of questions and finds the answers you care about, without you even knowing where to begin. 

Employees, total count agency by occupation.

By letting the entire organization directly interact with data, ThoughtSpot is able to learn  the intent of the end user, automatically tailoring the questions it asks based on feedback of the individual user and the organization as a whole.The longer the system is used, the more contextual and relevant its questions become. This allows us to deliver true actionable intelligence to the Government, allowing anyone - from frontline firefighter to the analysts at the 21 agencies that report fraudulent activity - to ask evidence based questions, strategically assess tradeoffs, and most importantly, obtain value from the massive amounts of data being collected.

In ThoughtSpot, I have found more than an incredible technology company that’s going to disrupt the analytics market. I’ve found a company that truly cares about its constituents, from its employees to its customers. Our principle of selfless excellence, where we strive for excellence on behalf of our customers instead of ourselves, combined with  the company’s incredible support for our Government work, that makes me confident ThoughtSpot will have a major impact on  Federal, State and Local agencies.

And so, 20 years into my career in analytics, I’m thrilled to have joined a company that can serve our country in the most austere environments, allow the front-lines to make meaningful decisions to improve mission outcomes, and transform our country for the better.