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Can Your Data Visualization Tool Do THIS?

by | Dashboards & Data Viz

Exago Dashboards

Data visualizations and dashboards have always been hot ticket items in business intelligence (BI). We get why — they offer quick insights and engaging interactivity all while being fun to look at. Many BI platforms have even focused their offerings solely on dashboards and data visualizations because of the sizzle they add to sales.

Unfortunately, viz-forward or viz-only brands tend to prioritize flash over function in their feature design. They often end up doing one of two (or both) things:

  1. They build tools so complex only analysts or engineers can use them.
  2. They leave out less flashy features (like tabular reporting or user-defined formulas) that users end up missing.

In making these moves, vendors have recreated some of the problems BI was designed to solve in the first place, like requiring IT to handle all BI requests or the need to buy and coordinate multiple specialized tools as opposed to one neat end-to-end solution.

But you don’t have to choose flash over function. With a balanced tool, you can have both. That’s why we want to challenge your data viz and dashboarding tool to a duel! (Duels are kind of our thing.) We put together this list of problems Exago BI can solve. Can yours solve them, too?

Can your tool…schedule, export, and email individual visualizations, dashboards, and reports?

Sharing might sound like small potatoes, but it’s actually really important. Insights don’t mean much to an organization if they can’t be shared, and most people these days want to see the data themselves rather than rely on word of mouth (with good reason). So unless you want to summon your superiors and colleagues to gather ‘round a single screen every time something comes up, the ability to send charts and dashboards is key for communicating important data to your team while it’s still relevant.

With Exago BI, you can export entire dashboards or individual dashboard elements, like visualizations or tabular reports (in case you need to dig into the detail behind the KPIs). You can also email them ad hoc or on a schedule. Team members with the right permissions can also access dashboards in a shared folder for collaboration and set them to refresh data on a schedule so it doesn’t get stale. (Every five minutes or every day at 5pm, up to you).


Selecting Exago BI chart export option

Visualization export options on a dashboard tile


Does your tool…let you visualize data without building a cube or custom data model?

Believe it or not, many viz-focused BI platforms require their customers to craft proprietary data cubes (which are infamously tricky) or custom data models before building a new visualization or dashboard. This barrier to entry not only steepens the learning curve, but also firmly places these tools in the hands of analysts and beyond the abilities of basic business users. Not to mention the time and effort added to the actual design process.

By design, data fields in Exago BI are already queued up and waiting to be dragged and dropped or selected from a dropdown. The data model is built automatically according to administrative settings, so designing a new dashboard is a self-service process non-technical business users can do on the fly.

Can you…build visualizations without coding or querying?

Did you know it’s also pretty common for analytics applications to require their customers to hand-code or query data in order to build a dashboard or data visualization? Many even require their customers to learn the proprietary querying language used exclusively in their program. Like with proprietary cubes, this requirement limits who is able to use the tool and gives less technical folks the short end of the stick.

All visualizations, dashboards, reports, (and ETL!) in Exago BI are code-free so users of any technical skill level can build them without relying on their IT department. If admins or power users do wish to hand-query certain tasks, we give them the option to do it in standard SQL.

Can it…drill down into other dashboards?

At this point, drilldowns are an expected piece of any data viz or dashboard. Users want to explore data, not just glance at it. So odds are whichever analytics tool you’re using has some drill down capability that allows you to click on a data field or section of a chart to get more information. But can you link dashboards together so users can drill down from one dashboard directly into another?

Take, for instance, a SaaS company who is planning to release a new version of their application. To estimate a release date, the Product Delivery Manager goes to the Build Status Dashboard to view how many issues are still unresolved. Instead of clicking through multiple levels of drilldowns to get the info she needs, she can open the Development Dashboard directly from the Build Status Dashboard. The Dev dashboard tells her the average fix time per engineer and how many individual fixes each engineer owns so she can confidently estimate a release date. Linked dashboards in Exago BI allow users to interact with and follow data stories to their conclusion.

Can it…easily apply themes, change chart types, or invert data with just a couple of clicks?

When it comes to dashboards, style is about more than aesthetics. It is an important part of how information is communicated. Besides, no one wants to linger on an ugly or unintuitive dashboard long enough to actually learn anything. That’s why making changes to the styling of a dashboard should be swift and simple and should include everything from color to chart type. It should not require top-of-mind knowledge of hexadecimal values or additional hours of work.

In Exago BI, right-clicking a chart is all it takes to sort or invert data, change the chart type, adjust the color theme, and more, so you can make the necessary adjustments to build an engaging dashboard and get on with your day.


Selecting Exago BI chart legend location

Right-click visualization styling options on a dashboard tile


Can you…change the way dashboards work with a few lines of code?

We believe BI should expand, not limit, the possibilities of how you visualize data. That’s why we give admins the ability to add new functionality whenever they want with custom code.

With Exago BI extensibility, you can add bells and whistles like inter-widget filtering or automatic advanced attributes to vizs and dashboards. We don’t presume to have thought of everything you might want users to do with your application yet, so we make it easy for you to customize Exago BI.

Do you want all charts built in your application automatically branded with your company’s font and colors? There’s code for that. Do you want to make dashboards colorblind-friendly? There’s code for that, too. If you can name it, it’s likely you can do it in Exago BI.

So how do we stack up?

We hope you can see that you don’t have to sacrifice the  necessary daily functions that led you to seek embedded BI in the first place in order to gain a flashy product that looks good in marketing collateral.

You can still wow your customers with bright data visualizations and dramatic drilldowns on sales demos while ultimately handing them a tool they’ll actually be able to use— and love!

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