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Blog: Analytics at Vault: Past, Present, and Future

Analytics at Vault: Past, Present, and Future

Interactive dashboards have become a trend in the last 6 to 8 years. Let’s face it: flipping through a 200-to-sometimes-400-page report is no longer considered an option for many modern-day professionals, so in response to the Artificial Intelligence (AI) disruption era, Vault Consulting has been offering interactive reports for the past 5 years. Association clients can opt for an interactive dashboard no matter what type of research study they’re conducting.

According to Marketing Director Karen Taylor, it’s beneficial for benchmarking project results to live on an interactive reporting tool, “not all of our benchmarking clients want it interactive, but we push it because we think it’s a better benefit for the membership.”

Even though the consultants at Vault do their due diligence to add the high-level findings and top key performance indicators (KPIs) to the top of PDF reports, which usually take up about the first 20 to 30 pages, when compared to a few strokes of the curser and a click of the mouse to find exactly what one is looking for, interactive reporting tools seem to take the cake.  Moreover, when participants of a benchmarking program on, say, ‘Compensation and Benefits’ complete the survey themselves, they’re able to easily visualize their data and see where they rank within the aggregate data.

Nevertheless, some association clients have not made the shift towards interactive reporting, and that’s ok, assures Senior Web Applications Developer Michael Martin. Martin suggests that associations with members who work in smaller to midsize companies benefit the most from this type of interactive reporting, and that employees of larger corporations already have digital systems in place. “Typically, employees of large corporations just need raw data to implement into their systems; whereas, small to midsize businesses may not have those resources intact.”

Martin goes on to explain that sometimes interactive reporting is just not in the cards for some associations for one reason or another, “all of our clients have not transitioned over to interactive reporting. We do present it, but in some cases, it may not be financially feasible for them, or sometimes they might just not be ready for it. Although we’re starting to see more transition to this platform, we’re still not 100 percent there.”  

While not all clients have moved into this futuristic reporting style, Vault team members have witnessed the perks of making the shift not only for memberships but as a benefit to associations, whether it be membership increase, retainment, or non-dues revenue. “One of our long-time-clients went from receiving results in booklet form via mail to interactive reporting. After transitioning to interactive reporting, they saw an uptick in their membership engagement, largely due to the interactive reporting tool they now offer,” Taylor observes.

Another benefit of using interactive reporting is that it’s configurable, meaning that associations working alongside Vault help not only to develop the survey but also the design of the reporting tool’s interface. “We work with the client to agree on different dashboards to view their data,” explains Martin. “Some clients lean on us about how it should look, and some clients are more vocal about how they want it to look,” adds Taylor.

Also, Vault sets restrictions within the reporting tool, so that the system stays in adherence with Antitrust laws, and participants are not vulnerable. One example of this would be when Vault developers apply viewing restrictions if there are less than three companies participating within a data point. This is especially important for trade associations that are looking to conduct statistical reporting such as ‘Production and Detailed End-Use Sales Reports’ or ‘Market Share Analysis.’ It’s also easier for associations that conduct studies on a quarterly, biennially, or annual basis because they can just drop the new data into the tool instead of having to build out an entirely new report each cycle.

Without a doubt, the greatest advantage of using the interactive reporting tool is the product’s advanced ‘context-aware’ feature that helps users unravel patterns and trends that are inconceivable to the naked eye or sometimes the human forethought. The product Vault uses has the ability to uncover correlations between all data points by making suggestions that move users closer to insights that would have otherwise remained hidden. The tool has the capacity to make a causal-end user feel like a sophisticated user. Martin relates to us the beauty of this feature in simple terms, “If you have questions about the data, the tool will allow you to dig deeper into the data to find those answers, and sometimes the tool gives you answers which you didn’t know you had a question for.”