Related terms: Drill, drill anywhere, drill through
Drill down is an analytics capability that allows users to instantly shift from an overview of data to a more detailed and granular view within the same dataset they are analyzing by clicking on a metric in a dashboard or report. It enables everyone to explore specific information in a report from different angles by stepping down from one level of a predefined data hierarchy to the next.
For example, a tabular report on sales performance results by region can help a user better understand why one region outperformed another by drilling down into a specific region. By clicking on a specific region, the report is automatically refreshed with further detail updated – in this case, to display all countries within that region and their various sales performances. This allows the user to go deeper – or ‘drill down’ into more particular layers of data they’re analyzing.
Typically, each time a user drills down in a dashboard or report, the value selected becomes a filter for the next level down. A user won’t see all the countries when they drill down – just the countries for the specific region selected.
The business benefits of drill down
Analytical features like drill down provides all users with deeper insights into the data they need to analyze, by allowing them to dig into the specific reasons behind metrics, instantly and easily.
An annual revenue report may aggregate overall sales into a large figure. Being able to click on that figure and see exactly what drove that result – whether most of the revenue was generated in a specific quarter, for example – with drill down provides the user with a bigger picture on the data, rather than just a general view. It provides different, valuable perspectives that shed insight on the many reasons behind performance, which enhances overall understanding.