Introduction to Reporting & Visualisations
One of the most difficult things to get right in a Business Intelligence Platform is the reporting suite and interesting visualisations. Building in the correct level of flexibility and ease of use is a challenge. Of course it goes without saying that the reports produced have to look stunning, eye catching and be very intuitive and easy to understand. There is also the added dimension of finding new and more interesting ways of understanding large datasets. As datasets get bigger and bigger visual understanding is key, this is why we are looking at awesome new visualisations for data in the most interesting and intuitive ways. Simply put the analysis and number crunching is the first stage, true value is added when the analysis can be put into a format that can be understood in one simple page in a single glance.
At PyCell we are working to bring the most advanced visualisation to you. We have integrated our analytics suite with D3 – which stands for Data Driven Documents and is in our view one of the most advanced visualisation toolkits available in the open source world. The D3 suite is the brainchild of Mike Bostock who is one of the most eminent people in the world of visualisations. One criticism that is levelled at D3 is that it is too hard to use for the average user. There is some truth to this – D3 is not easy to use until you have some understanding of how it works and some of the principles behind it (we will post an article with a beginners guide to using D3). So there is a steep learning curve which the average user might not have the time, or the incentive to move up. This is where PyCell can help. We have done the integration work that allows you to use a curated set of visualisations with your data. No need to code or do anything complicated – just pull your data in, get the analysis done and then visualise. We have a set of canned charts – front he ones you would expect in any suite – bar, line , pie etc to more complex ones which give you a deeper insight and a more meaningful way to look at your data and communicate it to others.
Once you have taken your data and managed to get the right analysis built, along with the right visualisations, the next step is to present this as a report. The report can be static or dynamic, and can be shared either within the an application, via pdf, as html or embedded. The point being that there is a wealth of choices on how you want to share your analysis and insights and who with.
The first question is are they internal or external to your organisation. If they are internal, you may then want to decide how you want to share the report – static or dynamic? Do you want the person you share with to have permissions to change things and play around with things. Do you want to have an interactive dashboard? If the user is external, the question again is how will you share. You probably don’t want to give them access to your BI Tool, so you will want to potentially use it for marketing – so you may want to create a slick infographic which you share on social media – this is going to be static probably png or pdf. Or you may want to embed an interactive visual on your website that allows users to interact. Again the choices are numerous depending on what you want to do. The key is to build reporting content that is engaging and easy to use, a fact that a lot of the existing platforms seem to have missed. At PyCell we are building a platform that will offer users complete control on how they want to present and report their data. And best of all we have cutting edge visualisations that will help you get your message across in the most interesting way possible.