How to get started with AWS Quicksight

Our CTO, Tony Rost, sat down with product leader Dave Bellous to talk about his key takeaways from this year’s re:Invent: AWS Quicksight

Our CTO, Tony Rost, sat down with product leader Dave Bellous to talk about his key takeaways from this year’s re:Invent.

Q: Of all those sessions at AWS re:Invent, which one was the most insightful?

A: One of the ones that I really liked was the one on business insights with AWS QuickSight. It was a session all about data dashboards: how to build them, and why you’d use varying levels of complexity in data dashboards.

Q: What are some examples of the information you’d see in a QuickSight dashboard?

A: It depends on the organization; you’d look at sales, or you’d look at KPIs that were important to you. But one of the things I really liked was that it talked about why you’d use a more complex tool like QuickSights. 

If you had different regions or departments, and you wanted to give a personalized view of that information to a specific person—so that person knew what the next right action for them was or how they scored relative to other departments—they could get that unique, personalized information, just for them. 

It was easy to produce—simple. And you could use all of their simple tools that allow you to spark up a report right when you need it. 

Q: If someone wants to have a QuickSight implementation roadmap, can you walk through how you see the implementation going, from scratch all the way to the first launch? 

A: The thing that was interesting was that you can start with simple tools. If a whiteboard in an office works for you, stop there. You don’t need anything more sophisticated than that. 

But if you’ve got different departments, different people with different levels of seniority (managers, execs, and frontline team), you might want to give them different information—identifying why that information would branch, why you’d have different types of information for different people, and how you’d source that out. That’s where you’d start. 

And then you’d identify what those key metrics were and start to figure out why you’d deliver different information to different people. Then you’d start sharing that information—iterate through how to branch it out by region or by depth in the organization—and figure out what really moves the needle. As Drucker always says, “What’s measured matters.” 

As that process happens—measuring and seeing what’s working for the organization—you can continue to refine and iterate, and bring really valuable information that helps your team know exactly what to do next. And connect your executive all the way down to the frontline team, so they understand how to execute well.


Q: What did you think of AWS re:Invent this year? 

A: It was interesting. Obviously it was different than previous years, given our current situation, but I loved the amount of content. It was almost overwhelming what they were able to produce. And I loved that I could go back and revisit sessions—it really encouraged that process of going back to dig in and learn more. 

Q: What’d you think of having a virtual-only conference? 

A: I liked the convenience of being able to enjoy it whenever it was convenient for me. But I really missed the in-person, the serendipity of bumping into people who were also interested in the same topic and subject. You miss that connection with other people in the same way. 

I know they tried to do a few things to simulate that, but it just didn’t feel the same to me. So I loved the idea of the convenience and the lack of travel, and how simple it was to access—and I could take in more that way—but I missed the social connections as part of that. 

Q: Dave, thank you for taking your time out of your busy schedule today and joining us. And we’ll see you again at AWS re:Invent next year. 

A: Delighted. Thanks for the opportunity, Tony, great to talk to you. Looking forward to next year, maybe even in person!

AWS re:Invent is one of the most informative conferences to attend for anyone looking to the future of business and cloud—and as an AWS Advanced Consulting Partner, we look forward to it every year. For 2020, re:Invent was transformed into a free, fully online event packed with exciting sessions, and one silver lining of the remote event was that every Toad could attend!

For an informed understanding of how businesses evaluate BI tools like QuickSight within their implementation roadmap, explore Metal Toad's detailed comparison between Amazon QuickSight and Microsoft Power BI in their blog post on Choosing the Right BI Tool: A Comparison of Power BI and Amazon QuickSight.

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