A few weeks ago, I started my Insight on Insight series.  (This is a sup­ple­ment to the already infor­ma­tive Insight related blog that my col­league and friend, Michael Hal­brook, Insight Guru Extra­or­di­naire, is also writ­ing).

And then I kind of took a step back — because, well, I had to work.

But I have been want­ing to revisit this topic and so here we are, friends.

Today, I wanted to address one of the sub­jects I brought up in my last post on the subject.

What makes Insight a true dif­fer­en­tia­tor in the marketplace?

Again.  I am a ven­dor.  I know that you just might take what I am say­ing as “suspect.”

How­ever, I also want you to know — I am a ter­ri­ble liar.   I am very bad at the art of deception.

And I am ter­ri­ble at Poker.

But here goes.

1) Speed to process — Insight can process mas­sive amounts of data expo­nen­tially faster than tra­di­tional busi­ness intel­li­gence solu­tions.  Part of the speed that is gained is that the data schema is not cubed or tab­u­lar in nature, but rather, cir­cu­lar.  Omni­ture works closely with its clients to size solu­tions in a man­ner in which the entire dataset can be REBUILT if needed in the course of 1 — 2 days.

I have worked with clients who will rebuild datasets over a given week­end to add new dimen­sions or incor­po­rate new data feeds with 5+ ter­abytes of data.

Process starts on Fri­day night.  Ends on Sunday.

Some­times we hear that this is too slow.  But this is from clients who started their dataset with 5 months of data and have now seen it grow to 15 months.  Or have started with 50 cus­tom dimen­sions and have now expanded that to 200 dimensions.

I guess the best anal­ogy to that is — and this is just off the top of my head — you can buy a sports­car and expect great per­for­mance when you take care of it and fol­low the main­te­nance plan.

Or you can let it go, not bring it in for ser­vice and shove ten peo­ple in it and com­plain that the doors won’t close.

You wouldn’t do that.

Would you?


The dia­gram above shows a sim­ple view of the Dataset Schema within Insight.  Within the demo schema above — there are five lev­els — Vis­i­tor, Engage­ment, Visit, Hit and Com­merce.  This dataset is an exam­ple of a multi-channel dataset which is com­bin­ing cus­tomer inter­ac­tions along with web activity.

(Most of the dataset is not seen as the image would be too long.  Ping me if you are inter­ested.)

All new dimen­sions, or cat­e­gories, are asso­ci­ated to the indi­vid­ual level when they are added at the dataset.  The lack of a tab­u­lar con­struct makes it pos­si­ble to query across the dataset with greater flex­i­bil­ity than in a cubed environment.

2) Speed to change - One of the aspects of the soft­ware that make it so cov­eted by clients who know how to max­i­mize it, is its abil­ity to be flexible.

Like I men­tioned above — as long as the data is fed into the sys­tem and can be asso­ci­ated through a pri­mary key, it can be made into a new dimen­sion in a rel­a­tively straight­for­ward reprocess of the data.

In addi­tion, the abil­ity to save seg­ments as dimen­sions and cre­ate your own met­rics is an equally valu­able propo­si­tion for clients whose busi­ness analy­sis needs can change with enor­mous flu­id­ity based on the busi­ness demands of the day.

For more infor­ma­tion on that, check out Mike’s piece on Seg­ments in 5 Min­utes.

3) Speed to answers — Tra­di­tion­ally, when mak­ing a query from a data ware­hourse, you sub­mit your query.

And then you wait.

And then you get an answer.


So what do you do with that?

Usu­ally, great analy­sis is iter­a­tive.  It does not stop when you have the answer, because the answer usu­ally leads to more ques­tions.  If you are an ana­lyst, know­ing that 733 is the answer to your ques­tion will cause you to ask more ques­tions like how, why, from where?

As soon as you start a query in Insight — the sys­tem starts return­ing an answer.  The imme­di­ate answer is an extrap­o­la­tion based off of a local sam­ple — but as the query reaches 100%, it becomes more and more exact.

What this allows you to do is start ask­ing ques­tions, and maybe some more ques­tions as you see the fall­out of trends.  The sam­pling is highly accurate.

So you don’t have to take 10 cof­fee breaks wait­ing for your sep­a­rate and very dis­parate ques­tions if you are still work­ing in the old order.

Which is a good thing, right?

I guess it is.  Unless you really, really like coffee.

4) Speed to action — It goes with­out say­ing that hav­ing the abil­ity to process so quickly and drive answers so effi­ciently enables your busi­ness to act more quickly and make rel­e­vant deci­sions to drive value.

I have worked with one large retail client who, prior to hav­ing Insight, had to scram­ble madly after the Black Fri­day rush to deliver find­ings and pro­vide eval­u­a­tion for C-level report­ing.  How­ever, in try­ing to pull data from dis­parate sys­tems and try­ing to merge reports — Black Fri­day analy­sis was not fully com­plete until …  well …


Which is great.

Except at this point — the infor­ma­tion was not really an impe­tus for change.  Instead — it was solely that — infor­ma­tion.  Some level of insight could be extrap­o­lated for future busi­ness deci­sions — and poten­tially to change behav­ior for NEXT Black Friday.

After imple­ment­ing Insight and join­ing data that pre­vi­ously needed to be manip­u­lated, mas­saged and inter­preted for weeks prior to deliv­ery, the com­pany was able to make some dra­matic changes.

A true par­a­digm shift.

What took months to ana­lyze could now be deliv­ered to the C-level team within days after Black Fri­day and with the abil­ity to make changes to store inven­tory, web­site spe­cials and hol­i­day cam­paigns to directly influ­ence the cur­rent hol­i­day season.


So there you go.  Just some Insight on some core foun­da­tions of Insight that ele­vates it beyond tra­di­tional report­ing tools and makes it a true “game-changing” fac­tor for com­pa­nies who have embraced it.

More to come on my Insight on Insight series — Is Insight too Com­plex for Me?

You can fol­low Kiran on twit­ter @measureTHISgirl.


I always like to read these post which is help me a lot, so I fully appreciate for posting these type valuable post.


From long period of time I am searching a lot of time for Insight on Insight. That's good if you want to process a query for instant response then its require to mile second response, so if it get more quick result then it make some pretty difference for others.

Solange Blant
Solange Blant

Thanks for posting! Your job won't be left unnoticed and unappreciated. It helps me understand much in this sphere. I like the intelligible way you present information so that it became comprehensible, transparent and accessible for ordinary people as I am. Well done!


I love reading posts like these which help us to understand more about data processing and this one on Insight was really enlightening!! I was really impressed by the many features of this software and the details of its speed and its many features were truly enlightening!! I am sure that anyone reading this will get to know about the core foundations of Insight which will really help to understand it better – hope to see more like these here!!