What can others learn from the successes and failures of the way you’ve unlocked the value of big data?: 

Our entire project was based on a user-centric approach. When AskingCanadians was reviewing its R&D agenda in 2012, we originally identified the development of a technology to integrate structured and unstructured data into one consolidated view as our research priority. However, we discovered technologies such as Tableau and Clarabridge, which removed the need for us to focus on building a new platform. This allowed us to focus on the real research challenge we had identified: the creation of a user-centric dashboard.

Dashboards present an exciting and compelling proposition when it comes to big data. But, dashboards along are not the solution in harnessing big data. And the trouble is, too many organizations take a technology or data approach. For us, the purpose of this research initiative was to see if we could harness multi-platform, multi-source data to create a user-centric dashboard that would provide a single brand health index designed to enable decision makers at The Weather Network to make better business decisions.

We wanted to find a way to cut through the clutter and the noise and to present data in a way that simplified it down so someone – a CEO or senior executive—could actually absorb it. We stepped back and asked ourselves: As a CEO, if you walked into your office every day and you were able to see something to help you make better business decisions, what would that look like? We had to get into the mind of the user. We didn’t want to build a dashboard for everybody across the organization. Our approach was rooted in the consideration: who’s actually looking at the data and what do they want to get from it?