The drive to build is innate. We all want to make things that leave a mark, no matter if it’s in our personal lives or in business. This desire absolutely weighs heavily on the minds of the people who work with business intelligence and analytics platforms. Our “Power to the Builders” campaign is meant to celebrate just that: the desire to build, the strength of creativity, and the transformational impact that builders have on business.
We believe it’s important to recognize this desire and empower our users with a platform to build and create a future with data that inspires them. Ultimately, the work they do has a lasting impact on their organization, end-users, and customers.
Who is a builder?
When data was simple, producing insights from data was too. However, as data has become more complex, the demands of data have also become more complex. This has set the stage for the rise of builders of analytics. When we talk about builders we’re talking about all of the different professionals that work with data either scattered across an organization or as part of a data team.
Traditionally, these are the people who spend their days sourcing and managing the data pipeline, governance and security, customization, deployment, integration, automation, data discovery, calculations, reporting, and visualizations. These could be data engineers, developers, or analysts. Or, as product teams, data teams, and BI teams slowly move closer together, this can mean more modern, flexible, data teams where roles overlap and lines are blurred.
Builders are changing the world
Builders of analytics are problem solvers who see a complex data problem and think outside of the box to come up with creative solutions. They are open to learning something new, taking chances, and growing their careers by pushing boundaries and achieving their goals.
Take, for example, Shaul Shalev from Air Canada. A developer at heart, Shaul uses security data to create safer flight experiences for passengers and Air Canada staff. Air Canada collects terabytes of safety-related data and extracts actionable and meaningful insights for frontline employees. However, this isn’t only done in dashboards. Shaul understands that different people understand data better in different ways — and they can’t always be by a computer screen or on their phone. By creating an app that works on smartwatches, Shaul is able to push insights to employees no matter where they are. Not only does the development of this app impact Air Canada employees on the ground, but it also keeps passengers safer.
Crisis Text Line, a free, anonymous 24/7 text-based crisis intervention system is an organization using data to create positive change in the world. It analyzes text conversations in real-time using natural language processing and machine learning to pull insights from its rich dataset and identifies keywords in texts to help steer a counselor towards a safe resolution. This augments its already extremely qualified volunteers to understand what has helped intervene positively in the past in order to save more lives on the call, in real-time.
Finally, there are organizations like Gerimedica, a multidisciplinary electronic medical records platform that services the elderly care market. Gerimedica empowers healthcare providers by embedding analytics into its product. With a healthcare data philosophy squarely focused on what it calls “patient intelligence,” Gerimedica has been able to provide doctors and nurses with data about their ward by creating visualizations that streamlined operations, allowing caregivers to spend more time on patient care.
What do builders need?
Builders shouldn’t be limited in what they can do and how they can add value to their organization and end-users.
Data engineers need to be able to automate data workflows and empower business users with analytics built from one data model. They should be able to leverage existing data infrastructure to build robust pipelines that allow for governance, speed, and agility. Developers, on the other hand, require a diverse set of APIs and toolkits that allow them to build, customize, and embed without spending tons of time on complex development processes.
As we move closer to the needs of the line of business we see business analysts who need to be able to refine the analysis and perform complex calculations. They should be able to connect data from any source they have in order to reveal the best insights that will move the needle. As I mentioned earlier, end-users will often have requests for other reports that would traditionally make IT a bottleneck. Now, however, business analysts need to respond to those requests quickly and empower everyone to ask questions of the data and gain insights on their own.
Ultimately, all of these needs of builders allow business leaders to explore data without limits and answer questions on the fly. As an end-user of analytics, the need to gain new insights that were previously unknown, hidden, or unreachable is paramount to the success of an organization. And builders are the people driving this competitive edge.
Empower builders, empower business
Builders of data and analytics are where businesses are hanging their hopes. They are reshaping the way business is done, changing companies to be more data-driven, transforming business models, and creating new products. Organizations that recognize, leverage, and give builders the space to be creative will see the impact exponentially. We understand the power builders hold and believe in their collective ability to push businesses into a new era with analytics. We believe in builders.
Harry Glaser is the Chief Marketing Officer and General Manager of San Francisco at Sisense. He was the co-founder and CEO of Periscope Data, which merged with Sisense in May 2019. Prior to founding Periscope Data in 2012, Harry was a Product Lead at Google AdWords and graduated from the University of Rochester with a bachelor’s degree in computer science.