Solution Stories: Complicated Data Input and Getting to the Root of the Problem


Solution Stories: Complicated Data Input and Getting to the Root of the Problem

Welcome to our latest Solution Stories blog series, where we delve into real-world client stories that offer valuable insights into navigating and solving everyday business challenges. These stories are often amalgamations of several real clients, merging real-life scenarios with standard, practical solutions.

Ashley is a department leader at a prominent non-profit organization dedicated to uplifting underserved communities. Ashley’s team found themselves grappling with an intricate challenge. The organization struggled to present and manage data from its affiliates and partner organizations. Their current solution was expensive and custom, but they didn’t know a better method.

When they contacted InterWorks, the problem appeared to be a standard data integration problem that would be solved with standard ETL tools and Tableau to visualize the results. However, as we dug deeper, we began to hear different versions of the problem from each stakeholder we interviewed.

Working with Ashley, we lead the team through a Solution Design Sprint (a time-constrained, phased approach to creative problem solving that uses design thinking to get to the right solution). As the sprint started, it became apparent that the standard approach to data management was insufficient. The team realized they were not just putting together a run-of-the-mill data platform but were architecting a comprehensive, integrated business application. The application needed to combine business processes, analytics, record management and custom user interfaces to solve their problems.

The team decided to use a modular approach, finding and integrating tools that solved the individual functions. The first step in the process was to select the right tools for this intricate task. Together with Ashley and the team, InterWorks evaluated which tools could be embedded, built with conditional logic, and were cost-effective. They also considered hosting and software as a service (SaaS) option for their new application.

After the evaluation, a lightweight stack of integrated tools, including open-source solutions, was selected to build the final product. This combination allowed them to start building quickly without being bogged down by heavy setups or significant expenses. In just three months, they moved from concept to a working demo, a feat that Ashley was particularly proud of.

The result was a transformative portal that provided analytics at the overall organization level and across data from multiple affiliates. It also enabled users to update and manage records within the portal itself. The application was a resounding success, streamlining the organization’s workflow and creating a robust, integrated data management system.

Ashley and the team benefited from the power of Design Sprints in clarifying complex problems. This opened the door to building the right solution to their data entry and management problems while providing a good user experience around the analytics their users needed. Working together to identify their needs and constraints, the solution leveraged modular, open-source solutions that were integrated and hosted by the InterWorks team.

Do you have some unique data challenges? Or are you looking for clarity? Ashley’s story represents one approach to solving data input challenges, but a lot can depend on your situation and the technology stack you currently employ. For some in the Microsoft stack, it might look like using a combination of tools within Fabric. For others with more straightforward needs, you might find everything you need in Curator and its data manager feature. Let us know if you’d like to run a Solution Design Sprint to find the right solutions for you; we’d love to help you find your solution!

More About the Author

Ben Bausili

Global Director of Product
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