In a recent post about our strategic product roadmap, Gina VanderLoop, our Founder and CEO, described our process for working with clients, other nonprofit organizations, and experts to identify the areas where we could have the most impact. Data management and storage, identity resolution, analysis and insights, unified engagement strategies, and flexible automation rose to the top as the most pressing opportunities.
Why did they rise to the top? The technology world’s pendulum seems to be swinging back from the “all in one” solutions, which tend to satisfy no one completely, to “best of breed” solutions that allow organizations to select the right tool for their business need. As a result, there’s a proliferation of point solutions and data that must be unified and stored for comprehensive analysis.
There is no shortage of data platform solutions, but few are purpose-built for the nonprofit sector. We’ve heard many stories that organizations spend much time and money building their own through trial and error, sometimes never quite arriving where they had hoped. That’s where the idea for our Unite Analytics was born.
Unite Analytics is a turnkey data analytics platform that enables nonprofit organizations to tame data silos and quickly start discovering trends and insights that will inform organizational strategy.
Data Management – Ingest and Unite
The first challenge is to wrangle your data into one place. Organizations can ingest and unite data from all sources using pre-built connectors (300 and counting) and flexible import tools to create a comprehensive data set in a data lakehouse environment. As you might expect, we have out-of-the-box data ingestion from Revolution CRM and other solutions our clients favor.
If data lakehouse is a new term for you, it combines data lakes (flexible, cost-effective, ability to scale, unstructured) and data warehouses (data is normalized and structured to enable analysis) for the best of both worlds. We’re doing this in Amazon Web Services (AWS).
That’s the underlying architecture of Unite Analytics – easily ingest and store data with the ability to combine the data into models that enable analysis and reporting.
We’ve been great at integrating our clients’ many systems into Revolution CRM over the years. Good integration requires robust constituent matching; otherwise, your CRM becomes inundated with duplicates.
We fully expected, and have already seen, that our Unite Analytics clients are bringing many more data sources to the table. Data that they had always hoped to explore but didn’t have a clear place or path into the CRM. Google Analytics data, media streaming data, Nielsen data, as well as one-off lists and one-time-use point solutions.
And that data isn’t necessarily structured in a way that provides a clear name-name, address-address, phone-phone, email-email, or other data points we might normally use to match constituents in a CRM setting. This is where identity resolution across all those sources and fragmented data structures becomes so important if you hope to use it for downstream analysis.
With identity resolution, you can bring structure to the data cyclone and provide the opportunity to observe giving, engagement, and behavior across all data sources.
Analysis and Insights
This is where structure becomes important. You’ve combined disparate data, resolved identities, and established structure through a data model that normalizes the data to explore it through queries, visualization tools, and reports.
We provide SQL access for the data nerds, a visual query builder, and Amazon QuickSight for visualization and dashboards. If you are partial to other tools like Power BI or Tableau, you can also bring those tools to the platform.
With all of the data in one place and accessible for exploration, you’ll be amazed at what you’ll find and where those discoveries can lead to actionable insights that can influence organizational strategy.
We’ll dig into Strategy and Engagement Activation in our next blog posts in the series.