AoF 52: Are Dashboards Dead? w/ Nick Caldwell

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While dashboards have been a staple in the business intelligence industry, their ongoing overall low user adoption for the last decade has led to companies like LookerData to focus on ‘data experiences’. In this insightful, eye-opening and very forward-thinking podcast, my guest Nick Caldwell, Chief Product Officer at Looker (recently acquired by Google), to discuss where analytics is headed, only to go down a completely different path.

Nick said something that shocked me. Dashboards are dead! So what’s next? Tune in to find out!

“The future of BI is just simply not going to be dashboards. Data visualization is a necessary component, but not the key component.” [30:23]


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3 Knowledge Bombs

  • Nick on BI and Data Analytics - Dashboards are out. Applications/products are in.
  • Nick on Data Experiences - Get beyond dashboards to get all people better with data.
  • Nick on Embracing Data Experiences - Reach more end users with cost-effective, easier-to-manage applications and products.

In this episode, you'll learn:

  • [01:21]  - Nick Caldwell’s excellent education and expert engineering experience.
  • [10:12]  - Key Quote: We’ve got to make sure to take care of our people before we take care of the product. - Nick Caldwell
  • [15:47]  - Key Quote: I just think approaching your work with humility and modesty is where you should start. That’s how you build the best teams. - Nick Caldwell
  • [19:37]  - Today’s Topic: Where analytics is today, where it’s going, and a future forecast?
  • [19:58]  - What is Looker? Not your regular BI tool, but an API for all your business’s data.
  • [21:58]  - Data Experiences Defined: Moving beyond static dashboards to build experiences that allow anyone in a company to get their job done.
  • [22:24]  - Key Quote: We think everyone in an organization can get better with data, if it’s delivered to them in the right way. - Nick Caldwell
  • [22:32]  - Right Ways: In some cases, it’s a dashboard; in most cases, it’s an application to accomplish a specific task.
  • [24:13]  - Data Literacy Movement: Why companies shove it down people’s throats?
  • [24:28]  - Key Quote: The intent behind that data literacy movement is ensuring that people understand that data is more valuable than critical to business systems. - Nick Caldwell
  • [26:30]  - Key Influencers: Data matters, but dashboards don’t solve all problems or provide what you truly need to know.
  • [28:59]  - Key Quote: Now, we have the opposite problem. Everyone’s got too much data. So much, in fact, that it’s hard to control. - Nick Caldwell
  • [29:30]  - Key Quote: Everyone accepts that data is a necessary part of any modern company. Everyone wants to find ways to empower people with data. - Nick Caldwell
  • [29:57]  - Old vs. New: If all you’re building is dashboards, then you’re a dinosaur.
  • [31:03]  - What should happen? All people, not only analysts, need to get better with data.
  • [34:16]  - Software Development Lifecycle and Hub-and-Spoke Model: Who builds and maintains data applications/infrastructure? Treat data like a product.
  • [44:30]  - Other Approaches: Reach more end users fed up with existing data architectures with cost-effective, easier-to-manage applications and products.
  • [49:57]  - User Adoption: How can it be true that data is needed in organizations, yet BI dashboard adoption is effective?
  • [51:52]  - Key Quote: Data is being adopted, but it’s being served up in a different way. It’s not being served up via dashboards. It’s being served up via these purposeful, departmental-specific experiences. - Nick Caldwell
  • [54:39]  - Aha Moment: Nick’s cure and recovery from BI by rethinking how to deliver data and questioning fundamentals of architectural approach.
  • [01:02:39]  - Applicable AoF B2B Scenarios: Dashboards and embedded analytics.
  • Right-click here and save-as to download this episode to your computer.

Data is being adopted, but it’s being served up in a different way. It’s not being served up via dashboards. It’s being served up via these purposeful, departmental-specific experiences [51:52]

Links and Resources mentioned in this episode:

  • Nick’s Fav Books & Resources!
  • Check out Nick’s Non Profit work!

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  • Join the conversation by leaving a comment below!

BI Data Storytelling Accelerator

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Mico Yuk

Mico Yuk

As the Co-founder and CEO of BI Brainz, I've been in the Business Intelligence/Analytics industry since 2017. Trained 10K+ using our methodologies and frameworks! I love our amazing team and community! I share my passion for data to 20,000+ followers via the Analytics on Fire Podcast, our BI Brainz academy, blog, social media, global keynotes, training, and workshops. Our model is simple. We take what is successful for our customers and teach it! I'm a bona fide beach bum on days off!
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