60,000x Faster with Data Visualization and Self-Service Insights

How do we untangle thorny business questions, track progress, gain key insights, and make actionable decisions that build better products and make Albertans’ lives better? 


Being laser-focused on our customers’ experience means that tapping into and making sense of data is our inevitable key to Transformation. That means finding ways to make data accessibility a priority to both the machines and humans at ATB. For one, our Transformation relies on data integrity and depth (quantity) in order for us to exploit machine learning and AI. But just as machines need data, finding ways for humans to interpret it in meaningful ways meant we needed tools to deliver data in ways that human brains could process more effectively too.

Visual data is processed 60,000 times faster than numbers or text. We’ve made a decision to not only make data readily available (and accessible through self-service) to business units at ATB, but to do away with reliance on data reports and spreadsheets — and make the move to go all in on data visualization and self-service. 

Like many organizations, ATB used to have to rely on a central business insights team for any and all data insights. Anyone across the organization, when seeking to tap into data sets to inform their work, would essentially ask for and receive a report. But this assembly line, baton hand-off model exposed inefficiencies. On one hand, complex forms of numeric figures and equations in spreadsheets don’t speak to everyone (especially thousands of columns of numbers!). On another hand, business units and product teams know their data best and are able to make inferences on it if enabled. 

In the early days of our Transformation, we rolled-out a visualization tool for insight development across the organization and a team to support adoption. Teams across ATB have been progressively introduced to the tool as we work to lay the foundation for a fully immersed self-service experience. 

And we’re getting closer to a true self-service insights where business users no longer need to request reports from a siloed-off data department, but instead trained team members across business units can ask questions and generate insights and stories from our data quickly, easily, and in a digestible manner. 

For the newly-formed Self Service Insights team, this will mean less time spent generating reports, and more time ensuring the integrity of data sets and building the data lake, while continuing to support the deployment and use of visualization tools across the organization (such as Tableau).

We are already seeing the benefits: 

  • increased employee engagement (knowledge is power)
  • data storytelling becoming a part of the DNA of Transformation 
  • uncovering insights from vast amounts of raw data has become easier
  • data is better understood and leveraged more effectively
  • less reliance on assumptions that need to be validated reversely, but instead more ability to ask “why” and find answers to make real decisions

We’re not quite there yet. But our reliance on reports and spreadsheets will become a thing of the past, as we move towards self service insight maturity, and eventually, access to real-time data. 

Here, we’ll see even more the power of human + machine potential. As we edge more and more into this territory of ATB’s Transformation, we’ll continue to share. Follow our journey here.

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