A drill-down or drill-down analysis is the process of moving through information or data from information that is broad or less specific to information that is more detailed. A drill-down can be preformed in a database or in a problem solving technique in order to help find answers.
In order to organize information in a logical easy to use system, drill-downs are very important. Without the use of drill-downs information in great detail would need to be stored in a way that it was always visible causing a lot of clutter and confusion for users. Take a website such as gap.com whose goal is to create an easy to use, fast and convenient way for customers to shop online. The website is broken down on the first page into links that take customers to each of their online stores, including Old Navy, Banana Republic, Piperlime and Athleta. The page also includes links to the Gap store for men, women, GapMaternity, GapKids and babyGap. Once you place your cursor on the women’s link you are then given two additional choices of petite and tall. Once into the women’s link you are given choices of specific departments, top picks, special sizes, and Gap Body. Once you select a link from this page, such as handbags you are then brought to a group of links featuring their products. If you click on a link of a handbag you can then look at the bag and find more information about the product. Without this ability to do a drill-down into the gap.com site the shopping experience would be nearly unbearable. Drill-down are used in many different programs and systems to move through information, providing levels of information that are easily moved through.
Another example of the use of a drill-down is when searching through a company intranet to track sales numbers. For instance in the company that I used to work at we had to track our weekly sales and record them on a sales goal board. In order to obtain this information we had to go through different levels of information to get to the end numbers we need to obtain. This included doing a drill-down from company wide search, to a regional search, into a store, and into the numbers for each sales representative.
Drill-down are not only used in processes dealing with computer systems and databases. There is also a practical use for a drill-down in problem solving. If you find yourself with a problem and you are not sure of how to solve the problem or perhaps the cause of the problem itself you can use a drill-down to help define it. Start with the problem on the left hand side and branch out with potential causes/solutions. This may take a little research and time but eventually you will find that there might be many causes/solutions to your problem. For instance, if you are dealing with a noisy neighbor and you are not sure what to do about it; you may look at some potential causes. Perhaps it is not just the neighbor that is the problem, maybe it is thin walls. Perhaps the issue is due to a neighbor moving in or a temporary issue that is not worth starting conflict over. You may continue with a drill-down until you have come up with some potential solutions to the problem.
Drill-downs are an important process in almost all programs, databases, reports, websites and almost anything else you can think of that is accessed through the computer or internet. Without the process of doing a drill-down information would be overwhelming and difficult to deal with.