Lets follow some comparison and arguments to determine if InfoCaptor is really an Anti Dashboarding tool. For this comparision we will refer to the Dashboards from the big vendors as big-guy-dashboards.
- Big-guy-dashboards are huge in all respect- InfoCaptor is agile in all respects
- All the big-guy-dashboard tools need some kind of server and seperate resources - InfoCaptor is like a "Monk", runs on bare minimum requirements, can be launched off a webserver, a PC or just a USB drive
- The preferred way of getting big-guy-dashboards to work is to make sure the server component is configured, make sure the database components work, make sure your browser is compatible and configured and the list goes on... - InfoCaptor is simple in all these matter - Just show me where to pull data from and how do you want to see it - table or Graph?
- To create big-guy-dashboards you need to hire expensive consultants(like me ;-)) - InfoCaptor just requires you to know basic SQL to start creating dashboards and SQL is such a sweet and easy language that anybody can master it within a brief time.
- Some times big-guy-dashboards are biased towards specific database - InfoCaptor works the same irrespective of any database - you can leverage the power of database features to its fullest. You can create dashboards against low end databases like MS Access and MySQL or hi-fi databases like Oracle, DB2, or SQL server.
- Can you access or talk to someone within big-guy-dashboards development team? - You can directly email or chat with InfoCaptor's dev team.
- big-guy-dashboard vendors have huge marketing and sales team - InfoCaptor does not
- big-guy-dashboards have long release cycles - InfoCaptor is agile and releases frequently based on iterative model
- big-guy-dashboards are full of features and often bloated - InfoCaptor has limited set but often the most needed features.
- big-guy-dashboards are often expensive to acquire and it could take several months or years to see true return on your investment- InfoCaptor on the other hand has low total cost of ownership and you get ROI within days.
- big-guy-dashboards have longer development cycle - With InfoCaptor, you can create your first dashboard in less than 27 minutes.
- big-guy-dashboards is the way to go when you have big budget and you like dealing with reputed and big vendors
As you can see, InfoCaptor does not fit into most of the things that dashboards from big vendors stand for and if you think that Dashboards should be exactly how the big-guys do it then I have no choice but to give InfoCaptor the title of "Anti Dashboard". But still InfoCaptor is a slim,trim and robust Dashboarding tool and certainly my favourite option for dashboards. You can deliver beautiful dashboards in minutes and start working on the next one.
So what are the typical features of an Anti-Dashboard that are not found in the so called Dashboarding tools of the world?
- abilitiy to see information from different databases like Access, MySQL, DB2, Oracle, SQL server, PostgreSQL, Sybase all in the same page.
- Draggable portlets by the end-user
- Resizable portlets by the end-user
- Colorizable portlets by the end-user
- Multiple Drill paths
- Interactive portlets - change the query on the fly - add filters/parameters - Zoom out/in Graphs
- Colorful export to Excel, PDF and HTML
- Auto-refresh - dynamically refresh the dashboards automatically within seconds ( try finding this one on all the server based dashboarding solution, please save the effort, you won't find it as it is impractical for Servers to push information to the client browsers every minute)
Some of the big-guy-dashboard vendors are Oracle, Siebel (now Oracle), Cognos (Oracle in future?) , Hyperion (now Oracle) and Business Objects (Oracle in future?) and I do respect them. They have, after all helped me realized the truth that InfoCaptor is just an Anti-Dashboard and I am OK with it 🙂