This article talks about various ways you can build dashboards and different mechanisms you can publish them and make them available to end users
Static Dashboards : Infocaptor comes with a built-in prototyping and mockup engine. With this feature users can simply drag and drop widgets on the dashboard canvas. This ability does not require any input data as it is just like wireframing dashboards on the fly. Data can still be added to the widgets using simple interface. This is a tremendously useful during requirement gathering phase of any BI dashboard building process. Once the mockup or the static dashboard is ready, it can be published as web url and shared with other colleagues and users to get their opinions.
Live Dashboards : Also known as always current dashboards. When you use a live database like SQL such as MySQL, Oracle, DB2, SQL server or even Cloudera Impala or Hadoop Hive, InfoCaptor dashboards maintain a live connection with the database and any interaction with the dashboard will bring fresh information from the database and present it to the interacting user.
Packaged Dashboards : Often there is need to produce dashboards with one off needs. For e.g when you are working with data that is refreshed only monthly or yearly, or data that is available only as csv or text files, these are some of the situations when you don't need live dashboards. In packaged dashboards, data is packaged with the dashboards and is loaded from a static copy that is stored on the infocaptor server. The packaged dashboards are great delivery mechanisms as they don't rely on any database and data is aggregated using the infocaptor in-built browser SQL engine.
Stephen Few, a recognized expert in dashboard design, defines dashboards as "a visual display of the most important information needed to achieve one or more objectives; consolidated and arranged on a single screen so the information can be monitored at a glance."
Data for any organization's KPI Dashboard may come from multiple sources. Past sales data may be organized and consolidated into a Microsoft Access Database (.mdb or .accdb). Current sales goals may be stored in an Excel spreadsheet (or .csv file) that is updated quarterly. And detailed sales transactions may be available from a relational system (e.g SQL server, Oracle, MySQL etc).
For a manager or executive to be successful, the manager needs to see her current performance and goals/targets in a scorecard dashboard. Either showing the successful goals as red, green, yellow visuals or use the more efficient bullet charts is more meaningful to the manager. She can then see an interactive chart for her past sales performance and further drill down into detailed reports or transactions. Also having the interactive filters to select different periods like year, quarter or product line allows her to compare past trends.
Performance dashboards can be more successful when they remain fresh and focused. Market dynamics change ,technology changes, and users habit and usage pattern changes.
InfoCaptor provides comprehensive visualization library to alternate with different visual styles and adapt with the modern world. InfoCaptor's web based delivery platform enables to incorporate simple and effective feedback loop and change management process for publishing new and updated analysis and dashboards. This iterative mechanism is definitely a sure way for continued success. This also enables to create a data driven culture.
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