Gartner Blog Network

Loneliness, Happiness and the Analytics and BI Bake Off

by Cindi Howson  |  March 19, 2019  |  1 Comment

We just completed our fifth annual Analytics and BI bake off in Orlando and our first ever bake off in London.  These bake offs are action-packed, informative sessions that I have offered for more than a decade. One Twitter follower described it as the World Cup, Grand Prix, and Olympics of analytics and BI. It’s an apt analogy. It takes a fair bit of preparation, extreme commitment, and is high stakes for any who participate.

We always try to bring in the idea of data for good into the bake off. I  sometimes feel like Goldilocks in trying to get to the perfect data set that is messy enough but not a consulting project, not too political (no way were we going to debate Brexit), and of broad interest (I could go with football, but the Packers didn’t fair too well this season). This year, we had the added twist of needing a global data set.   I am grateful to the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Economist who made their data from a groundbreaking survey on loneliness available for the bake off. We wanted to better understand the impact of technology on loneliness and happiness, so we also brought in Gartner’s Consumer Values Survey data and mashed these two data sets together.

The results are illuminating, sometimes sad, sometimes surprising. We as individuals and as a tech community can also take action on several findings.

Here are some of the most noteworthy findings with screenshots and videos from participating vendors.

  • Microsoft found that the loneliest age group are those 35 to 44 years old, but this varies by country, gender, and employment status. See their blog and app here.

  • Qlik found that lonelier people tend to have poorer health. Using their new Insight Advisor, they found older people with high income, who are divorced and healthy are the happiest. (Hmm, on the divorce stat…., we can only speculate on the root causes of that finding.) See their video here.

  • Tableau analyzed the risky versus positive behaviors lonely people engage in (drinking, overeating versus exercising). Technology does seem to relate to higher rates of loneliness. So here is one action point I can suggest:  bonding hormones are released when our loved ones hear our voices, but not when they read a text. So think about calling your loved one versus only texting. You can see Tableau’s video here.

  • ThoughtSpot used it search-based interface to ask the relationship between happiness and loneliness. Even very happy people sometimes feel lonely. Using the SpotIQ augmented analytics capabilities, they found that increased usage of technology combined with long-term unemployment relates to loneliness. So maybe here, we need to think about the isolating way of applying for jobs online versus networking in person. Read more about their findings in this blog.

While we are limited to four vendors to the main session, we are grateful to vendors who participated virtually:

  • Oracle found older generations seem to be able to cope with loneliness better than younger generations.
  • Salesforce found that political affiliation explains a higher rate of loneliness, at least in Japan.

I do expect to get a few more findings and videos, so check back over the next week for additional updates.

Thank you to all our amazing panelists, both on the main stage, show floor show down and virtually!

Will Thompson (Microsoft), Bethany Lyons (Tableau), Josh Good (Qlik), and Cindi

Angela Hooper (ThoughtSpot), Josh Good (Qlik), Francois Ajenstat (Tableau), Will Thompson (Microsoft), and Cindi









Disclaimer:  data in these analyses are for demonstration purposes only and may not be statistically accurate if vendors did not apply weights to ensure data was representative of the total population.


Cindi Howson


Additional Resources

100 Data and Analytics Predictions Through 2024

Gartner’s annual predictions disclose the varied importance of data and analytics across an ever-widening range of business and IT initiatives. Data and analytics leaders must consider these strategic planning assumptions for enhancing their vision and plans.

Read Free Gartner Research

Category: business-analytics  business-intelligence  data-and-analytics-strategies  

Cindi Howson
Research VP
1 years at Gartner
25 years IT Industry

Cindi Howson is a Research Vice President at Gartner, where she focuses on business intelligence (BI) and analytics. Her work includes writing about market trends, vendors and best practices and advising organizations on these subjects. Read Full Bio

Thoughts on Loneliness, Happiness and the Analytics and BI Bake Off

  1. Navi says:

    Love the article and the cause. Well done !

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comments or opinions expressed on this blog are those of the individual contributors only, and do not necessarily represent the views of Gartner, Inc. or its management. Readers may copy and redistribute blog postings on other blogs, or otherwise for private, non-commercial or journalistic purposes, with attribution to Gartner. This content may not be used for any other purposes in any other formats or media. The content on this blog is provided on an "as-is" basis. Gartner shall not be liable for any damages whatsoever arising out of the content or use of this blog.