When it comes to improving business decision-making and results, data analytics teams can sometimes face challenges with existing data tools. The disjointed nature of analytics workloads, performed with so many different tools, can create barriers between data analysts and the stakeholders they report to, which can lead to more work and less trust.

“The relationship between the data analyst and the people they serve, the stakeholders, that relationship is really difficult and broken,” says Ollie Hughes, co-founder and CEO of London-based data startup Count. “We need to bring data analysts closer to the business. We need to make them trusted advisors to the business, not just dashboarding machines that build dashboards all day long. »

Count recently announced that it has raised $3 million in seed funding and launched its flagship product, the Canvas, a new collaborative platform that aims to reduce data analytics workloads by up to 75% and bridge the gap trust between analysts and stakeholders.

“Data analysts have surprisingly low job satisfaction compared to other roles, like data scientists or data engineers, which have much higher job satisfaction. This is partly because they don’t know never what their work means, they’re constantly being asked for new tweaks, they’re always being asked more questions, and they’re not really involved in problem solving,” Hughes said in an interview with datanami.

To facilitate this disconnect, Count says the Canvas combines the best features of a digital whiteboard, an SQL integrated development environment and a visualization tool to give users a single place for all of their problem analysis and resolution workflow. The canvas connects to any modern database and allows users to create pivot tables and visuals with no code required. Business teams can use the canvas for requirements gathering, prototyping, analysis, business KPI reviews, customer feeds, ad-hoc reports, and custom dashboards. According to the company, customers can generate all the data reports they need, from notebooks to dashboards, and dig deeper into the data using cells to connect queries and share the logic behind them. tends.

Count was founded by Hughes and co-founder Oli Pike after they met at Cambridge University and subsequently began a career as a management consultant in London. While consulting for large companies, Hughes used various dashboard tools like Tableau, Power BI, or Qlik, but found them lacking in collaboration and presentation capabilities.

“It got to the point where Oli and I were talking about how these tools are all the same, they just have different flavors,” Hughes said. “Tableau is good for visualization, Qlik is good for data modeling, but when it comes to presenting facts and figures to your stakeholders and audience, and trying to derive results , they all have the same interface, it’s just a dashboard of read-only numbers and they’re all the same when it comes to providing information.”

While working with clients, Hughes came to resent these static dashboards: “The dashboard is published, and it’s very read-only, and you’re not really getting to the heart of the matter . We don’t actually discuss numbers, wrestle with them, or make dynamic decisions. It’s very wooded,” Hughes said. “So, we decided to try to find another way to solve the problem.”

A sample canvas screen shows its collaborative features. Source: Account

When conceptualizing a better method, Hughes and Pike decided to look at the actual decision-making process: “Let’s not look at how the tool works, let’s look at how the people work. Let’s look at how people make decisions, how they discuss them, and how they gain confidence in the decision to make a change,” Hughes said.

After conducting market research interviews with companies large and small, including startups and enterprises, Hughes and his team found that coming to a single business decision can be difficult and time-consuming: “Making a analyzing data, finding new information, making a decision or strategy change involves a huge amount of iteration. These decisions often involve a back-and-forth conversation involving multiple people, requiring consensus building and collaboration, which existing tools cannot always facilitate. While these first-generation dashboard tools were successful in pulling data from the database into a visual form, Hughes says “the next generation has to be about making the numbers useful and making them make better decisions.” .

The canvas captures every element of the analysis workflow in one place: gathering requirements, exploring data, analyzing results, adding stories, and presenting results. According to Hughes, the collaborative nature of the product energizes the analysis workflow: “The real goal is to reduce the friction of communication with stakeholders and to make the reports much more contextualized, clearer and more reliable”, says Hughes. “Rather than being a dashboard, [the Canvas] is a large white space where you can put SQL queries or write, create visuals, put post-its, ask questions, and all this in real time so that you can do it as a team.

Count’s total funding is now $5.2 million after its latest seed round of $3 million, led by TheVentureCity alongside existing investors LocalGlobe and angels DJ Patil and Anthony Goldbloom.

Earl co-founders, Ollie Hughes and Oli Pike.

Early adopters of Count’s platform appreciated its ability to streamline complex processes, with some reporting up to 75% reduction in workloads. In interviews with Canvas users, Hughes asked analysts to name the best part of using the platform and was repeatedly told how much time it saves: “People have said : ‘Something that would normally take me four days of meetings, I’m doing in an hour.'”

“Count is by far the best data tool I’ve ever used,” says Christopher Mee, head of marketing analytics at Hyperscience. “It gives our marketing team a shared space where we can explore the data together and come to conclusions that everyone understands and everyone trusts.”

“The development cycle for similar tools like Tableau is tough,” says Madhav Goswami, Principal Analytics Engineer at Farimoney.io, an early adopter. “You’ll get good dashboards, but to get good context, to tell good stories, you have to spend too many resources. The Count canvas lets you think multidimensionally in a way you can’t in Tableau.

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