How ARD builds a data-informed org through governed self-service analytics

ARD data team empowered thousands of business users to self-serve data exploration without compromising security and governance.

Using Holistics Since 2021
Industry Media
Employees 2000+

The Story Of ARD

Founded in 1950, ARD (Association of Public Broadcasting Corporations in the Federal Republic of Germany) is a consortium of nine self-governing regional broadcasters serving Germany’s 16 federal states and airing approximately 250 hours of television and 1,500 hours of radio programming per day. ARD is well-known for its commitment to delivering quality journalism and a content-rich variety of television, radio, and online programs, catering to a diverse audience in Germany and internationally.

Five years back, there were only a few teams having access to data, and it was like having a door you should step through to access the data. So not everyone could go through that door because they didn’t have the key for it. But right now with tools like Holistics, everyone has the key to unlock the door, and via the dashboards, they can access important information about the platform’s usage and about how users interact with our content.

– Johanna G., Analytics Lead

The Challenges: Risks of Dashboard Sprawl and Lacking Governed Data Exploration.

ARD, with its extensive network of regional broadcasters, generates a substantial amount of data across various mediums, including television, radio, and digital platforms. Recognizing the immense value locked within this data, ARD Online Data Team is committed to increasing data accessibility across the entire organization. Their goal still is to empower all levels of the company, from content creators to strategists, with insights and analytics.

With this goal in mind, Johanna’s team first went with another self-service BI platform. However, the tool fell short of meeting ARD’s essential needs, which included:

  • Unlimited dashboard users without cost-spiraling
  • The ability to manage large amounts of data.
  • Data governance features to avoid unauthorized dashboard creation.
  • Straightforward user and access control

These limitations hindered ARD’s data team from fostering a self-service culture across the organization. This consequently led the ARD team to look for a new BI tool with a balance between self-service, governance, and analyst productivity. And then they found Holistics.

The Partnership: Holistics brings intuitive UI, robust access control, and self-serve data exploration to ARD.

01. Intuitive Dual Code & GUI Modeling View

From Johanna’s point of view, Holistics features have a clear and intuitive interface, with separate pages for data modeling and reporting. The team particularly likes how they can use both GUI and code view for data modeling:

  • Use UI view to easily build new models, or have a bird-eye view of all the tables and zoom in when necessary.

  • Use Code view when analysts need to copy and paste the entire code from one model to another, without having to start from scratch

02. Robust Access Control

With Holistics, the ARD data team can fine-tune access management to establish proper data governance protocols, limiting dashboard creation to specific administrators. As they put it:

We have a huge user base. Now the number of users is in four figures. It is a diverse user group with many requirements and tasks. With Holistics, we can share different dashboards with different user groups without losing the overview. Furthermore, Holistics made it quite simple that you have different roles for different types of access.

– Johanna G., Analytics Lead

Besides the fine-grained user management, ARD’s data team likes how Holistics simplifies access sharing with password-protected dashboards and personalized service email addresses - which can be shared among different teams.

What our users like is that we can use service email addresses to share with many people and so three or four or more people can access at the same time.

It’s nice that you also can share password-protected dashboards and you don’t have to have an account in Holistics. That’s pretty nice, especially for those who are not in our organization, but you would like to share one specific dashboard

– Johanna G., Analytics Lead

03. Self-Serve Data Exploration

ARD teams enjoyed the self-service exploration features of their previous BI tool, so they’re pleased to find similar features available within Holistics.

Holistics allows dashboard builders to drag and drop to build reports without writing SQL. Dashboard viewers and explorers can intuitively drill down, drill through, or add filters to explore the data.

It’s great to have the drag and drop options, but also that you could add the business calculations by creating charts because then you have more possibilities to change data and to add formulas to make a more precise chart. That’s pretty nice, and I really like that

– Johanna G., Analytics Lead

The Results: A data-informed organization, a lean data team, and thousands of happy business users.

The transition to Holistics has also enabled ARD to address its data governance concerns effectively. With an effective tool for administration, a lean admin team now can govern over thousands of users, making sure that everyone can view and interact with the data securely and confidentially. Holistics’ support team also played a pivotal role in this transition, providing prompt and constructive assistance to make sure ARD gets the best out of the platform.

Holistics dashboards now become a part of the daily routine at ARD to assist in timely decision-making.

The content dashboard is one of the key instruments for our editors on a daily basis.

They look at the data at 9 a.m. in the morning and check their content success. It’s like in the daily routine. [..] Using the data, they then normally discuss how they should change the content which is visual or visible on the streaming platforms, or maybe they change the first picture on the main stage of the platform, or whether they see that they should promote another content.

– Johanna G., Analytics Lead

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