Cognitive tax is a term used to describe the intellectual hardship faced by an individual when they’re completing a task. Intellectual hardship can take many forms: distractions, lack of access to necessary resources, unclear or confusing directions, or unnecessarily difficult processes, to name a few. In the world of Business Intelligence (BI), reducing the amount of cognitive tax levied against data teams is particularly critical for empowering employees to work smarter, and more productively.
To put intellectual hardship into context, imagine buying a bookcase that requires at-home assembly. The pieces for the bookcase come in a box, with a set of instructions, and any necessary tools. As you begin reading the instructions, you realize that they aren’t written in your native language. In order to build the bookcase, you must translate the instructions: for each step, this requires you to stop building, log on to the internet, and wait for the information to be translated, before returning to your work and picking up where you left off.
As a result, building the bookcase turns out to be an inefficient and meandering process, and it requires you to work longer and harder than truly necessary to accomplish your goal. It also eats away at the time that you could have used to complete other tasks.
When we face a higher level of intellectual hardship than is necessary – like trying to assemble a bookcase without clear instructions – there is a higher tax on our cognition. Cognition, the way that we gather, store, and understand information – and how that process influences our behaviors – is directly related to the amount of intellectual hardship that we face at any given time.
Empowered data teams accelerate business growth
In the context of BI, cognitive tax occurs when a data team must toggle between their work applications and their BI tools to access data insights. With traditional BI, this back-and-forth is necessary due to the fact that data insights aren’t integrated within everyday applications. This means that teams working to manage their data are spending more time and energy trying to understand vital information and uncover critical insights. This increased intellectual effort then directly impacts the teams’ ability to work as productively as possible.
“When a team cannot smoothly move between a data-driven call to action and their day-to-day processes, they struggle to work efficiently. They end up jumping from their interactive systems to a BI solution, and back . . . Data is often exported into “to-do” lists and then acted on in a silo without adjusting to the impacts. Static data drives decision making, and rapid changes remain invisible to the team as they progress, hidden in another system, another browser tab, another login screen.” Alistair Witney, Project Manager, Astrato
It’s estimated that an individual employee can spend one-to-two hours each week toggling between their workflow applications and BI tools. With modern embedded analytics, however, users can view and evaluate advanced data and analytics within their enterprise application – no toggling required. The data itself is managed by an analytics platform, while any reports or visualizations generated by the embedded analytics are housed within the workflow application for easy viewing and manipulating. It’s a seamless integration that reduces cognitive tax and enables productivity.
“By generating embedded content, progress reporting can sit comfortably within the same system or screen as a team’s usual workflows, automatically refreshing to show on-the-fly changes and synchronising visibility and output into a single flow of value.” Alistair Witney
And when your teams face less intellectual hardship and less cognitive tax, your business directly benefits. With more seamless, more effortless access to meaningful insight, your teams can make smarter decisions, faster, which can promote user engagement and product popularity. And by tapping into once-unavailable resources (data teams that would usually spend one-to-two hours each week toggling between workflow apps and BI tools) your capacity to work and innovate doesn’t just increase, it levels up. Not only will your team have more time and energy, they’ll have access to more reliable, more meaningful insight to guide their decisions.
Astrato: a creator-centric solution for smarter working
Astrato makes it easy for forward-thinking organizations and individuals to work smarter. Astrato’s cloud-native product leverages the flexibility and performance of Snowflake’s cutting-edge data cloud in a no-code solution, offering unrivaled freedom and approachability while producing sophisticated, modern visualizations and reports.
Astrato’s solution goes beyond bringing you a next-generation data visualization experience. This is a creator-centric tool in more ways than one: Astrato’s no-code offering means that all users have the unprecedented ability to visualize data without any special training. It’s a product that actually contemplates the need for organizations to take into account the finite nature of their intellectual resources, and recognize opportunities to work smarter.