Data Presentation Made Super-Simple for Those with Little Time for Data

Ted Cuzzillo,
Principal Analyst – Data Analytics

Summary Bullets:

• Toucan Toco offers template-driven data presentations for simple and fast production.

• The tool found a market in France, now tries for the U.S.

We’ve heard enough of that tired promise “easy to use,” yet here comes another one — and this one delivers. It pushes “simple” to an extreme. The tool is by Toucan, a software provider based in Paris, France. It introduced Toco in 2014, designed to pick up where data analysis tools leave off: with the presentation.  The French market, where Toucan has its base, loves it. Toucan claims that its Toco SaaS product has won more than 140 Fortune 500 customers since the tool’s introduction in 2014.

The secret sauce is no surprise: templates. The producer builds a Toco “app” on a fast march, on the cloud, from start to finish: Fill in a title in the “title” box, fill in a summary in the “summary” box, and connect one or many data sources. The result, surprising given the ease of production, can contain a wide variety of charts up to several levels deep, all ready to display well on desktops or mobile devices.
Unlike sophisticated data analysis software, which invite exploration, Toco shows only what the producer deems important.  An objection may arise from executives asked to approve a Toco license. What about the tools we have right now? Why the redundancy? Can’t they easily produce such presentations already? Toucan’s answer is, yes, of course those other solutions can do it. But those who’ve tried to make them do it, says Toucan, have found it difficult and time consuming. These complex data analysis tools just aren’t made to gear down fast enough from Ferrari-like performance to a walk in the park.
Data experts may turn up their noses at Toco. But those who know or care nothing about data analysis will turn their heads for Toucan’s Toco and similar solutions. Toco may be one of the first to colonize a frontier that big and sophisticated tools have found impenetrable. An enigmatic 75 percent or so of business users have no use for data. The tool will also work in smart cities. There, data will flow to an audience of whom many will not have the ability or patience to comprehend the analytics process. They just want the results.
Watch for this and similar solutions to gain importance over the next few years.


China’s Use of IT to Fight the Coronavirus Prompts Wider Applicability and Governance Questions

Summary Bullets:

• China has become a test bed for the potential to harness IT to manage and mitigate the effects of major health crises like the coronavirus.

• The widespread use of technologies like AI, big data, robotics, and blockchain raises questions about wider applicability, and concerns about longer-term governance.

Recent weeks have seen China emerge as a test bed for the potential to harness IT to manage and mitigate the effects of major health crises like the coronavirus. As of 11th March, China had almost 80,800 confirmed cases of the virus, also known as COVID-19, which had killed over 3,000 people. The economic impact of the virus has also been widely documented and includes disruptions to supply chains and lost business for countless shops, bars, and restaurants.

But China has also seen several applications of IT to help combat and manage impact of the virus. Examples include the use of workplace collaboration tools such as Alibaba’s DingTalk, Tencent’s WeChat, and ByteDance’s Feishu by businesses, hospitals, schools, and universities. These platforms enable various remote working arrangements, as well as the use of online classrooms, which support distance learning. Others include the provision of digital mapping tools. Baidu has created an epidemic map feature on the Baidu Map App that offers real-time location information about confirmed and suspected cases of the virus, as well as travel disruptions caused by enforced quarantines. Meanwhile, Tencent provides a self-examination tool on its WeChat platform to help users experiencing symptoms such as a fever or cough self-evaluate their condition and make any necessary arrangements. Tencent also maintains a map depicting clinics and hospitals that treat coronavirus patients. Continue reading “China’s Use of IT to Fight the Coronavirus Prompts Wider Applicability and Governance Questions”