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Analytics tools

Analytics tools represent the consumption layer of the data stack. These tools enable people to both analyze data and to produce data assets.

People can build lots of different assets in analytics tools, including strategic research, one-off reports, dashboards, and self-serve BI tools. Broadly speaking, these assets can be categorized into two classes:

  • Self-serve reporting tools. Many companies and teams track key performance indicators (KPIs) that measure if the organization is healthy or not. These metrics are often displayed in operational dashboards that business leaders regularly monitor to better understand what’s doing well and what problems need to be addressed. These are the charts that are on TV screens around offices, or that people check on in regular meetings.

  • Ad hoc answers. Companies often need to answer a specific question or understand an acute problem. Why are new leads dropping? Should we open a new office in Brazil? Is this new product ready to ship? These questions aren’t answered by a dashboard; they’re answered by deep analysis. Analytics tools also provide means for analysts and data scientists to conduct and share this sort of work.

Analytics tools represent the consumption layer of the data stack. These tools enable people to both analyze data and to produce data assets.

Related terms:

Data warehouse, ETL tools, Analytics architecture
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