“Why are You Showing me That?” The Decision-Making Behind IdeaScale’s New Reporting

Over the next couple of months, IdeaScale will be rolling out a suite of new reports alongside improvements to our ability to integrate with Analytics and BI tools. Upgrading our reporting has been a long-held goal of our team and we’re excited to start letting customers get their hands of the Beta version of the new tools.

As we get ready to roll out the feature, we wanted to take some time to talk about how it works, why it works like it does and how our IdeaScale feedback community is going to help us with the next steps.

I honestly don’t want to tell you when the first mocks for reporting improvements were made here at IdeaScale. It was a while ago. Actually, it was a little more than a while ago and it’s kind of fun to look back and see what has changed and what hasn’t. The oldest version I can find looked something like this:

old reporting
What strikes me most about this mock is a key similarity to what we ended up releasing; it’s relatively simple. The experience we wanted to create with these reports was one that encouraged action by focusing on the key data that administrators need to get their job done. There are only 3 graphs and 3 tables in this initial release, but each can be segmented according to the four factors our customers use most commonly to organize their community: campaign, group, custom field response and/or by custom profile question –  and each has a particular set of use cases in mind.

Administrators monitoring the activity in their campaign can now quickly and easily check total activity and track user conversion from visits to participants. This data will help you make real-time decisions about messaging. Have high visitor numbers, but few ideas? Try targeting existing users with content that encourages submission and removes the fear of a bad idea.

Administrators managing complex moderation processes can check that key actions are taking place. Administrators can also monitor moderator activity over time, and break it down by campaign or group. Check that at least 1 moderator action is being taken per idea and ensure that certain campaign are not being overlooked with the “Moderator Actions” activity type in Activity Trends.

A gif of the Engage section of reporting being tested on our QA server.

Community Managers can monitor the delivery of ideas to the real world. You can track both the number of completed and selected ideas in the new Outcomes page, allowing you to track and summarize the rate at which your program impacts the world.

Administrators can make sure they never miss key information using our in-built Innovation Assistant, which lets you know early about any worrying trends in your community. These alerts are also sent to your IdeaScale representative, so that both your team and our team are always on top of what is happening in your community.

A mock of the Outcomes section of reporting currently in development, including some Innovation Assistant notifications.

Reporting in an Analytics Ecosystem

While we have focused our reporting dashboard on certain key actions, we have also attempted to broaden the ways our customers can use existing Business Intelligence and Web Analytics tools to build a broad picture of the behaviors taking place in their community. Meaning that almost any data you could wish for can be extracted from the IdeaScale system and merged with your existing reporting tools.

Web Analytics

IdeaScale supports single-click integration with Google Analytics and supports a number of similar web analytics products. The first step is to install your tracking code by simply copying and pasting it into the Integrations panel within your Community Settings.  This code then automatically inserts itself into the header of each of your IdeaScale pages and immediately begins tracking page analytics across your site.

Not only does this track the overall page views, sessions and users, it also contains inbuilt custom dimensions that allow our customers to break down activity by community role (Admin, Moderator and User) and # of ideas submitted. Below is some data from our ideas.ideascale.com community showing sessions over the week of the 4th of July, broken down by how many ideas each user had submitted. You can see that, due to the high activity among our internal team, we tend to get a lot of visits from users with more that 3 ideas submitted.

Google Analytics (and similar tools) have a lot of great features and we recommend you give this integration a try. As a final example, here is a global breakdown of sessions with all users shown in blue and sessions from admins & moderators appearing in orange:

Business Intelligence

In addition to this simple support for Web Analytics, we have optimized certain aspects of our exports to allow for flexible integration with Business Intelligence tools. This is done through two key features of IdeaScale’s BI focused exports; (1) the ability to set up automated delivery of iterative exports to a customer owned data store; and (2) the structuring of the data around a central events table, allowing for cross table analysis of data in almost any configuration desired.

Using these two key attributes organizations with an established BI suite can create a range of custom reports tailored to their use case and integrated with the rest of their business reporting. We are already running this system successfully with some key customers and are happy to work with any internal BI team interested in integrating with IdeaScale.

Not the final product

All the above is coming very soon and as you begin using it we truly want your feedback. You are invited to contribute to this campaign where you can let us know what we got right, what we got wrong and what more you’d like to see. While we won’t be able to implement every idea we receive we will be monitoring this conversation carefully and are keeping back some of our developers to take the best and most impactful ideas and add them to this new reporting. We hope you like what we’ve built or, at the very least, let us know about something that would make it better.


This blog post is part of a series authored by IdeaScale employees. It showcases how they’re thinking about crowdsourcing and innovation as part of their daily routine. Feel free to ask questions or make comments.

This post is by James Baillie, VP of Product at IdeaScale

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