The data-shy among us have two friends in the software business. One a few years old and one new this year. Nashville, Tennessee-based Juice Analytics rolled out Juicebox in February to join Paris, France-based Toucan Toco’s product Toucan for a pain-free “story” based entry into data analysis.
Important as such products are for the business audiences, they’re critical for the public as governments at all levels, particularly local. Understanding data will quickly become a basic skill of city life. The pandemic only accelerated that requirement.
On the surface, Toucan and Juicebox appear similar. Each touts “data storytelling,” and both come clothed in bright colors. But the differences quickly appear. Each one takes users on a radically different path, and each leads to distinctly different destinations and implications.
In the simplest terms, Toucan Toco’s product Toucan channels data’s meaning from a data analyst to data consumers. As Toucan puts it, it focuses on “one aspect of data and analytics, which is the communication of insights only.”
Compared with business users served by the likes of Tableau, Qlik, and Microsoft’s Power BI, Toucan users are passive. They’re fed what Toucan Toco describes as “only what you need to know.” The consuming audience absorbs information that’s as easy to consume as dinner in a restaurant.
The Juice Analytics’s product, Juicebox, is more like dinner at home with Blue Apron or other meal kit service.
Toucan encourages dependence while Juicebox makes data consumption easy while it prods the data-shy into gradual self-confidence. A chef’s knife lends much more confidence than a butter knife.
Each approach pays off differently for the enterprise. Juicebox’s active approach grows analysts. A certain portion of its users will no doubt sprout legs, such as when they see that cooking by number is just a short leap to cooking by touch, smell, and sizzle. They may have not quite as satisfying a dinner the first few times they try that, but in the end they’re better cooks.
On the other hand, restaurant meals have a place. They can be faster and tastier. A Toucan’s audience will absorb the data’s meaning fast, even meaning that comes out of the most sophisticated analysis.
The enterprise intent on quick results may prefer Toucan. But the enterprise that wants to breed deep, enterprise-wide intelligence will prefer Juicebox.
The choice made by local governments will vary by local culture. Those with a population dominated by people who prefer receiving knowledge from authoritative sources will lean toward Toucan. Those with a population that’s confident in their ability to understand data will lean toward Juicebox.
I’ll let you ponder red regions and blue regions on your own.