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Where intuition meets data

Say hello to Quarrio

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Hello there, we are Quarrio. Let’s start with that name…why Quarrio? To be honest, naming companies these days is no easy task, it seems that every “good” name in the book is already taken – at least once you go look for a url! With Quarrio, however, we lucked out. As it happens, not only was it available, it was the ideal way to describe Quarrio, and what we believe.

Quarrio is a way to think about queries from a user’s perspective, it’s a combination of query and warrior, because our goal is to make querying data a simple, intuitive and beautiful experience for business users – yes – business users. Turning any VP of sales or CEO into a query warrior, however, is no easy feat. It took a long time and a lot of thinking to come up with the exact product that we felt would accomplish our goal. It started with understanding what problems business users had, and why we struggle with BI so much. As it turned out, we learned seven important lessons:

  1. Business users don’t want to play with data, they want answers.
    This may seem obvious, but given the BI industry’s fascination with “self service” we thought more business users would be inclined to be comfortable with the idea of creating charts and analyzing data by themselves, without the need for an analyst. Turns out, business users don’t want to be analysts, and they don’t want to take the time to learn to be analysts.
  2. If I don’t get how to do this in 5 to 10 minutes, I’ll probably give up.
    One of the biggest challenges the BI industry faces, we believe, is user experience. A lot has been written about outstanding user interfaces in BI, even as far back as 5 years ago (glacial timelines by high-tech standards). There are a number of exceptionally designed tools on the market …. if you are a BI analyst …. but, if you a business user, going to a three day class to ‘learn’ to use your new BI tool is not the most productive of exercises.
  3. Looking at charts only creates demands for more …. charts.
    This may seem obvious, but the users we polled overwhelmingly told us that one of their biggest frustrations was the time it took to get custom (the so called “ad-hoc”) reports created. The frustration? Looking at a chart or a table of data inherently spurs new questions the user had not predicted before – and that would have been impossible to predict – as one user told us, “…the data in one chart demands questions I need to ask next, I can’t predict that!…” problem is, since BI users don’t want to become analysts, all the ad-hoc requests get dumped on the BI team…and that creates a funnel effect.
  4. Sometimes I don’t want an “analysis,” just an answer.
    Turns out that business users often don’t want to see a beautiful dashboard or a detailed table of data, sometimes they just want to know what their opportunity conversion rate is, or who the sales rep with the least calls was last week – sometimes it’s as simple as that – or at least it should be.
  5. It’s not just about “analytics.”
    Beautiful dashboards, amazing charts, great tables of data…but what if you just want to know who last called your biggest customer? Well that means going into a different tool, and if your question is a little more complex than something a search-engine can handle, well, that often means finding the information manually. Shouldn’t business “intelligence” be about finding anything? even if it’s a single piece of data?
  6. What’s with those nine month implementations?
    Granted, this last wish is not as easy to solve, but business users have a very short attention span when it comes to new systems. You build excitement, you see amazing demos, you buy a platform….and then it turns out that getting it “deployed” will be a bit harder than anyone hoped, even if you already expected it. By the time you are ready for your business users, they’ve lost interest. Shouldn’t this be a little easier?
  7. Turning “questions” into report requests is not so simple.
    The “dirty secret” of the BI industry is its exceptionally high failure rate, as high as 80% by some estimates. It turns out that IT and the business users are not always on the same page. In our own experience, we found that one of the biggest challenges is that business users have a hard time translating what they consider a business “question” into an easily defined report request that an analyst can then execute.

From a larger perspective there is one common theme that is present in all of our findings: Business users want a system that lets them get information in an easy, intuitive and truly self-service model that requires little if any training. The answer, as it turns out, is in simply having conversations…..