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insight Encyclopedia

Data Analytics Platform

A data analytics platform is a unified solution aimed at contextualizing data by combining various analytical tools.

These platforms are used by businesses for many reasons, such as comparing the number of sales between two regions and identifying the factors that contributed to the different figures. Analytics platforms can also give information on the behavior of website users at different times of the day, for example, or inventory levels in different store locations.

Businesses often code their own tools to allow for greater customization, but this process can often be problematic. Though the end-result is bespoke to their needs, creating and using these tools consumes time and resources, sometimes lengthening the development cycle. These tools need advanced developers to create them, and then rely on regular maintenance and updates indefinitely.

An alternative approach involves purchasing bolt-on tools, some of which can be integrated sacrificing customization for convenience. The lack of customization can impact branding due to the lack of design options in the way the analytics information is presented, among other issues.

Best-of-breed data analytics platforms are a solution to this issue, combining the advantages of both alternatives.

By analyzing trends relating to a business, stakeholders can predict and react to those trends using business intelligence technology, and having an all-in-one analytics platform often provides a more elegant and streamlined way to do that than using multiple separate tools. A good analytics platform will allow the user to acquire, store and manage data, and enact processes to extract and measure that data.

These platforms typically provide a library of elements—charts and other data visualization tools, dashboard components, and customization themes. Users have a number of self-service BI options that allow them to build their own dashboards and reports without supervision from the IT department.

Other advantages of using a good analytics platform include:

  • Automatic updates to feature sets.
  • Turnkey security that integrates with existing frameworks, enabling single sign-on, one place for user access control, and support for multi-tenancy.
  • External technical support  for users and developers.
  • Flexible architecture that supports any IT model—on-prem, cloud, or hybrid.

BI Platform

Business intelligence platforms allow users to gather information from analytics tools or platforms, compile actionable reports, and act on that information to enhance performance.

BI platforms are valuable tools that allow for methodical business strategies to be planned and carried out. Much like a data analytics platform, a BI platform is a best-of-breed alternative to either bolt-on or custom-built BI tools, both of which come at the cost of either usability or affordability and convenience.

Good platforms come with pre-built elements that still offer customization to suit business needs, as well-as self-service BI features that allow multiple departments to carry out BI without drawing valuable resources from the IT department.

Data Visualization Platform

A data visualization platform takes data and expresses it visually in purpose-built tools which are easier to analyze than data tables.

Data visualization platforms provide a holistic approach to data analysis that improves workflow and saves time spent skipping back and forth between multiple tools. These platforms also have excellent persuasive power in presentations, case studies, and other materials by allowing the user to clearly present figures through charts and graphs.

As with BI and data analytics platforms, data visualization platforms were created as a response to market demand for an alternative to bolt-on tools that lack customization features. In the past, companies unsatisfied by bolt-on tools were forced to create tools at their own expense, and then maintain and update them. Now, data visualization platforms allow for advanced custom visualizations to be created without the need for in-house development or constant maintenance.

Visit our visual gallery to see examples of data visualizations.