Building a Schema for Data Democratization

Case Study

About Reuters TV

Reuters TV is the revolutionary video news app from Thomson Reuters, the world's largest multimedia news provider.

Reuters TV, the revolutionary video news app from Thomson Reuters, the world’s largest multimedia news provider. As a mobile application specifically designed for on-the-go consumption, getting insights from data is essential.

The Problem: An Inflexible BI Tool

Before Chartio, Reuters TV used another Business Intelligence solution as a starter solution for basic charts, A/B testing dashboards and scheduling of email reports. While this tool fit their primary needs, Riaan Ahmed, Growth and Analytics at Reuters TV, knew this was not a solution that could scale with them.

This particular BI tool required SQL knowledge and an analyst to create even the most simple charts or dashboards. While this typically wouldn’t be a problem for the analysts, due to the sheer quantity of ad hoc requests that kept coming in, the team could not answer them all.

“Tasks that should take five seconds were taking twenty minutes. As a growing company, we wanted to democratize data and requiring an analyst to continuously generate simple charts and dashboards wasn’t going to achieve that,” said Riaan.

With the goal to democratize data, Riaan started his search for an intuitive tool that would allow both technical and non-technical users, particularly on Reuters TV’s Marketing and Editorial teams, to effectively perform their own data analysis.

With this goal in mind, Riaan set three requirements for his evaluation: a quick implementation process with their data sources (Segment, Amazon S3, Amazon Redshift and Google Spreadsheets), the ability to schedule email reports and a way for non-technical users to perform analysis.

Our main requirement was the ability to run queries via a drag and drop interface. Ultimately allowing everyone, even if they know SQL, to quickly drag and drop field names across tables and create a chart.

“Our main requirement was the ability to run queries via a drag and drop interface. Ultimately allowing everyone, even if they know SQL, to quickly drag and drop field names across tables and create a chart,” said Riaan.

This requirement was paramount to Reuters TV for two specific reasons: it would allow the analyst team the ability to write complex queries with ease and it would give non-technical users the ability to create charts without any prior SQL knowledge.

The Solution: An Intuitive Interface

After evaluating several BI tools, Riaan chose Chartio and began implementing their various data sources into Chartio.

As a company that generates a large volume of data through its mobile application, it was important for the analyst team to reconfigure their data schema to appropriately consider scalability, speed of analysis and widespread data access.

“With Chartio, you only need to define field tables and how everything connects together once-which eliminates the problem of memorizing every field table and how everything connects together. This has cut down our dashboard creation time from a few hours to twenty minutes,” said Riaan.

Now, instead of writing complex SQL from scratch, the Analyst team relies on Chartio’s Interactive Mode to drag and drop measures and dimensions.

Once the initial query is built out, the analyst team can further manipulate their data by using Chartio’s Data Pipeline to analyze data in a logical process of steps.

“In using the Data Pipeline, we can easily join columns from any data source in the front-end without having to write complicated multi-dimensional queries that have to reference themselves over and over again,” said Riaan.

Rather than playing catch up on reporting and dashboard requests, the Analyst team can now refocus their time tackling hard to solve problems.

Before Chartio, we spent most of our time making individual dashboards and charts which didn’t leave us time to rebuild our data schema in a user-friendly way.

“Before Chartio, we spent most of our time making individual dashboards and charts which didn’t leave us time to rebuild our data schema in a user-friendly way,” said Riaan.

The Outcome: Democratizing Data for Content Optimization

By democratizing data and investing in a tool that allows non-technical users to drag and drop data to perform queries, it allows the Marketing team at Reuters TV to measure their efforts and how it affects user interaction with both their content and mobile application.

“With Chartio, the Marketing team is able to track Monthly Active Users (MAU) by creating a pacing dashboard highlighting a number we want to hit every month. From this dashboard we can see if we’re under or over pacing our goal and it allows us to make real-time adjustments on spend,” said Riaan.

Today, the technical and non-technical teams at Reuters TV are able to refocus their priorities and truly make data-driven decisions whether it’s around their data schema, advertising sponsorships or content curation.

“Chartio has allowed us to allocate resources on value add areas like tackling data science questions such as our content recommendation algorithms, which is what analysts should focus on,” said Riaan.