We understand that the SaaS companies who embed Exago BI into their applications are like new parents: they want to know everything there is to know about this new and very important system they’ve become responsible for maintaining. Is it scaling well? Is it getting good engagement? Do people on social media think it’s cute??
To answer these questions, they need metadata.
Metadata’s great, and it’s why we added Exago BI’s baby monitor— I mean metadata monitoring feature— to v2017.1. This activity log is hands-down one of the application’s best-kept secrets, and this post is an effort to change that.
Setting up the Exago BI activity log is a simple matter of flipping some toggles and applying some configuration settings. Then you can start gathering report management, execution, and performance statistics for the web application and any scheduler servers you may have running. All that information gets stored locally in a SQLite database file, which you can then report on using Exago BI.
What’s even cooler are the kinds of questions you can use the BI activity log to answer:
Who are my power users?
Activity log records user and company identification information, which means that you can use it to determine which of your clients and which individuals make the most use of your product’s reporting suite. Information like this could prove hugely valuable to your marketing and product management teams, who might want to reach out to those companies and individuals for feedback on the application. Conversely, monitoring can help you identify companies with low adoption rates, giving your customer success team a chance to check in and see if there’s an opportunity for them to provide assistance.
Which features are getting the most use? The least?
Who doesn’t want a little insight into user behavior? Monitoring tracks usage of both large-scale features like the Advanced Report designer and Dashboard designer as well as small-scale features like the Google Maps wizard and gauge wizard. Any surprising usage patterns could give you new and valuable insight into your clients’ needs, further spurring product innovation and development.
Which reports should I cache, and which should I cull?
One way to optimize your application’s data performance is through report execution caching. This feature allows users to run reports off of a cached file rather than live data each time they execute a report. This helps protect your web server, execution server, and database while getting users the data they need faster.
But which stock (“canned”) reports should you apply caching to? Use the monitoring service to track execution frequency! Applying caching to those run most often will give you the greatest performance boost.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, you’ll also find the least frequently executed reports. If a report goes untouched for an inordinately long time, consider culling it from your report library. Now you have one less thing to keep track of!
How are my scheduler servers performing?
Exago BI’s activity log tracks scheduler server RAM availability and CPU usage over time, which means you can learn a lot about your distributed architecture’s performance. Monitoring these servers will help you and your system administrators determine when and how to scale in response to increased load.
Is my authentication protocol functioning as it should?
Monitoring can tell you who is editing and/or executing which reports, so you can cross-reference this information with your access data to perform an authentication protocol audit! This is a great way to catch authorization vulnerabilities before they are widely exploited.
To learn more about implementing Exago BI’s activity log, check out our documentation articles!