• Alternative data, or alt data, can indicate new trends much faster than conventional data
• Alt data is for domain experts only
The dawning of new trends might be described as being “like a string hanging down from the future.” That’s how the renowned forecaster Paul Saffo described it. The future first presents itself like the “odd event you can’t get out of your mind [that] could be a weak signal of a distant industry-disrupting S curve…”
Everyone’s looking for signs of the future. What’s going to happen to us? Who will suffer? When will the economy recover? Eyes are peeled for that weak but portentous S-curve.
The trouble, of course, is the abundance of those hanging strings. The great challenge is to distinguish strings that have real prescience. That’s true in ordinary times, but it’s far more important during upheavals like COVID and the shaken economy to follow. Alt-data customers say standard financial indicators and statistical releases are too slow. Continue reading “Using Alt Data to Glimpse the Alt Future”→
• Analysis isn’t enough anymore. To be truly data driven, organizations also need synthesis.
• The analysis-synthesis duo can thrive if supported by a handful of conditions and practices within the organization.
The recent QlikWorld Online conference came and went with no new public roadmap, but it did offer something better: an intriguing vision of an analytics trend that’s built on a handful of new requirements — which altogether stand as a row of streetlights for the analytics industry to portend a new road.
Understanding data depends on the knowledge brought to it.
It’s stylish these days to be ‘data driven’ even while almost no one talks about what that really means. Data is just a proxy, the spokes on the wheel, the shorthand for what’s really going on. What’s the real driver?
During a blizzard, for example, we may talk about degrees Fahrenheit or Celsius. But that’s shorthand for the cold and snow, which is what actually drives decisions about what to wear or whether to go out at all.
• Technology vendors should stay away from cities during the height of the COVID-19 crisis unless they’ve got a relationship already.
• Make sure your solution fits the city’s ecosystem and be ready to educate city staff.
The pandemic seems to some data technology vendors like as a great time to be heroes with the frantic staff in cities’ public health departments. But the advice from those close to the action is clear: If you don’t have a relationship with the city already, stay home for now — and get ready for what comes next.
The world will find its way through the COVID-19 pandemic with data.
Data analysts will be among the ordeal’s heroes, and organizations with strong data literacy throughout will recover the fastest. Invest now in data literacy.
Doctors, nurses, and hospitals are the frontline heroes for the acute victims of the COVID-19 virus. But data is everyone’s compass — today as ‘the curve’ signals danger and eventually as the curve signals hope.
It’s a good time to understand data. Many organizations in the western hemisphere now face their greatest peril of our lifetimes. Those that survive will eventually face another daunting task: rebuilding in a new, different economy. Understanding data – knowing how to read it, organize it, prepare it, analyze it, and explain it – will be crucial. Continue reading “COVID-19: Don’t Miss This Moment – Invest Now in Data Literacy”→
• Toucan Toco offers template-driven data presentations for simple and fast production.
• The tool found a market in France, now tries for the U.S.
We’ve heard enough of that tired promise “easy to use,” yet here comes another one — and this one delivers. It pushes “simple” to an extreme. The tool is by Toucan, a software provider based in Paris, France. It introduced Toco in 2014, designed to pick up where data analysis tools leave off: with the presentation. The French market, where Toucan has its base, loves it. Toucan claims that its Toco SaaS product has won more than 140 Fortune 500 customers since the tool’s introduction in 2014.
The secret sauce is no surprise: templates. The producer builds a Toco “app” on a fast march, on the cloud, from start to finish: Fill in a title in the “title” box, fill in a summary in the “summary” box, and connect one or many data sources. The result, surprising given the ease of production, can contain a wide variety of charts up to several levels deep, all ready to display well on desktops or mobile devices.
Unlike sophisticated data analysis software, which invite exploration, Toco shows only what the producer deems important. An objection may arise from executives asked to approve a Toco license. What about the tools we have right now? Why the redundancy? Can’t they easily produce such presentations already? Toucan’s answer is, yes, of course those other solutions can do it. But those who’ve tried to make them do it, says Toucan, have found it difficult and time consuming. These complex data analysis tools just aren’t made to gear down fast enough from Ferrari-like performance to a walk in the park.
Data experts may turn up their noses at Toco. But those who know or care nothing about data analysis will turn their heads for Toucan’s Toco and similar solutions. Toco may be one of the first to colonize a frontier that big and sophisticated tools have found impenetrable. An enigmatic 75 percent or so of business users have no use for data. The tool will also work in smart cities. There, data will flow to an audience of whom many will not have the ability or patience to comprehend the analytics process. They just want the results.
Watch for this and similar solutions to gain importance over the next few years.