The term “Business Intelligence or End to End BI Solutions ” was first coined by IBM researcher Hans Luhn in 1958, and then used in its modern sense in 1989 by then Gartner analyst Howard Dresner. It’s a term which we use in our daily business and are so accustomed to it now. But what exactly End to End BI Solutions means. Many people get confused in BI and they think that BI means IT or data mining etc. The primordial meaning of BI was to implement intelligence in our business to get the best out of it. This intelligence can be derived from the human mind or by using computers. As the decades passed by data kept on increasing and we needed tools to analyze the data and get information out of it. Manual interpretation and analysis were not at all possible. Hence it came in and established BI by bringing in software, tools that would load the data, analyze it and process it to give us the right information in a timely manner. End to End BI Solutions helps in understanding our market and also helps in making decisions. The sole purpose of End to End BI Solutions is to increase our revenue, organize our processes and give the right information to make intelligent decisions. BI Market is basically divided into 2 parts. One is Open source BI and another is Proprietary BI. Open source markets include tools like Jaspersoft, BIRT, Pentaho etc. Proprietary BI has many vendors like Microsoft, Microstrategy, Tableau, Qlicktech, SAP, OBIEE, IBM Cognos etc.
We at DEFTeam are market leaders in providing Open source BI and Predictive analytics. We understand that not all companies can avail of proprietary tools which have a starting cost of approximately 1 million USD. DEFTeam caters to all organizations who don’t want to spend million’s of dollars for BI but yet do not want to compromise on quality and performance. We bring the best of open source and deliver a viable solution in terms of ROI. We provide consulting services & support for an “end-to-end” custom Data Warehouse, Business Intelligence and Predictive Analytics solution based on your business requirements. We utilize open source technology, in-memory BI, and analytical tools to architect a solution that utilizes “best of breed” features of various tools and tames structured and unstructured “Big Data” to provide a lower TCO but a feature-rich solution. We offer a global delivery model that leverages labor arbitrage which can be tailored to achieve 100% offshore/offsite delivery.
DEFTeam is a Red Herring Global 100 company for 2011 and Asia top 100 finalists in 2010 in providing End to End BI Solutions. To get more information, pl. visit www.defteam.com or write to us firstname.lastname@example.org.
Collaborative BI or Collaborative Business Intelligence enables business users to query, report and apply advanced Collaborative analytics; though it is known fact that each of the above has their own limitations and often it is difficult to uncover information on cause and the impact of business problems and the corrective actions that could be taken. In this scenario, very often multiple users working collaboratively can fill in data gaps, raise new considerations and make collective judgments and decisions with Collaborative BI or Collaborative Business Intelligence.
Collaborative BI, as it exists presently is designed around the premise that facilitates business users to collect, share the information necessary and contribute to the discussion from anywhere and anytime for their everyday decision-making, while at the same time Collaborative Business Intelligence will prevent duplicate work and by allowing colleagues to draw on each other’s strengths.
According to BI industry thought leader, Wayne Eckerson, Collaborative BI or Collaborative Business Intelligence is now moving from a niche-nice-to-have capability to an industry-defining component of leading BI solutions: “Most people don’t make decisions in a vacuum; they share ideas, options, and perspectives with others. Nor do they analyze data in a vacuum, at least anomalies or variances that require further attention. When people exchange ideas on a topic, they refine each other’s knowledge, fill in the gaps, and challenge assumptions. The result is a more comprehensive understanding of a situation and a better course of action.”
Collaborative BI provides three primary capabilities:
Business managers and users feel comfortable to interact with one another to improve communication as part of BI initiatives. They will be able to share BI findings and discuss their meaning and possible options for improving business performance. Ease of discovery and documentation of ensuing discussions are key features of collaborative BI or Collaborative Business Intelligence.
Enriching information with knowledge
Users also will be able to add their own knowledge to BI results. Through collaborative processes, users can share information about why events are unfolding the way they are to provide a business context to findings, and they can point to related data and content. Published BI results can be enhanced through feedback mechanisms such as by providing a social media-style forum within the collaborative Business Intelligence tool itself, for the discussion and dissemination of ideas surrounding reporting and analytics, create a knowledge-sharing network that improves the reach of information and analysis throughout an organization and across departmental lines.
Collectively decide the best course of action
The ultimate goal of any BI program is to make timely and better business decisions. A collaborative BI or collaborative Business Intelligence environment supports team efforts to assess situations and make informed decisions. Collaborative Business Intelligence also enables organizations to track decisions and analyze their validity and business impact. Such analyses provide feedback that could help improve the decision making process, allowing companies to document best practices and monitor the types of information that provide useful input for decision making.
Organizations need to spend time and think through and identify the types of employees who will be using a system like this, their needs, and what features they will use(It is important to determine who requires what), then the true power of a collaborative BI or Collaborative Business Intelligence system will be realized. For many organizations, the collective BI journey is just beginning. But if Collaborative Business Intelligence implemented properly, the end result will significantly benefit an organization’s decision-making abilities.
iReport Template designer is a tool to make Jasper reports. Lot of us use default templates for creating reports. We might have barely noticed that custom report template is also available. In this blog, we will walk you through on “ Creating a Custom Report Template in iReport ”.
An iReport template is a predefined style/layout which we can use to create reports. An iReport template can help report designers to maintain a standard format for reports with predefined styles and reduce the development time. iReport template can also help in keeping consistency among report designs. These iReport templates can be reused to create few standard reports like invoice report, work orders and different statements (income, profit & loss etc). By using iReport templates we can have most of our report formatting complete even before we start developing the report. This saves a lot of time for a report author/developer. iReport gives users an option to choose from various ready to use templates. When a user selects to create a new report a prompt with the predefined template is displayed, the user can either choose a new report or an existing template as shown in the below screenshot.
We can add these custom templates to the repository as per our convenience. Please follow the following steps to add report template to the new file editor page.
Go to Tools → Options and select iReport → Wizard Templates
Now we can add a report template by clicking on Add Jrxml. A report template is just a simple jrxml report with predefined styles, fonts, and report bands.
Now we can choose any existing jrxml from our machine which needs to be added in the report template repository.
Once the report is added to the Wizard Templates, we can see the template in the template chooser window while creating new reports and Creating a Custom Report Template in iReport will be available for the report authors to use.
Embedding BI is the process of adding rich data visualization and manipulation to an application by leveraging Jaspersoft’s BI suite in the design and coding of an application.
All of the following can be achieved by embedding Jaspersoft BI:
1. Reports that run on demand with output in your application or delivered in a file.
2. A repository of reports with secure role-based access, scheduling, and email delivery.
3. Interactive reports and dashboards displayed in your application.
4. Self-service ad-hoc reporting and advanced analytics integrated into your application.
Based on typical user scenarios and experience with numerous real-world implementations, Jaspersoft has identified five levels of embedded BI functionality:
Level 1: Embedding of Static Reporting.
Level 2: Embedding of Managed Interactive Reports.
Level 3: Embedding of Highly Interactive Reports and Dashboards.
Level 4: Embedding of Self-Service Reporting and Ad-hoc views.
Level 5: Embedding of Advanced Analytics.
Level 1: Embedding of Static Reporting
The Jaspersoft embedded BI solution for level 1 is implemented straightforwardly with the APIs of the JasperReports Library. Using this library, applications can programmatically define a data source, use it to fill and display a report, and then export the report in any number of formats.
Reports are designed separately using the iReport or Jaspersoft Studio tools, then exported in JRXML to be bundled with the application.
Level 2: Embedding of Managed Interactive Reports
The Jaspersoft Customization Solutions, embedded BI solution for level 2 relies on web service APIs to access reports on the server. The end-user application has its own user interface, but when it wants to list or run a report, it makes calls to the server.
Web services are a set of APIs that allow the calling application to make requests for information that is processed or stored on the server. Web services use the HTTP protocol to exchange XML and JSON objects over the internet.
For example, the calling application can request a URL that represents a search of the repository, and the server responds with XML objects for each report that matched the search.
JasperReports Server implements both REST and SOAP web services, but this document focuses only on the more modern REST services.
Level 3: Embedding of Highly Interactive Reports and Dashboards
The Jaspersoft embedded BI solution for level 3 is to use iframes to display reports and dashboards that are being served directly from JasperReports Server. JasperReports Server has a web interface that creates interactive reports and dashboards in web pages in the user’s browser.
In level 3, the host application uses iframes to display the server’s pages inside of its own user interface. The embedding application only provides the placeholder for the iframe, and then users interact directly with JasperReports server within that iframe.
An iframe is an HTML element that creates an inline frame for external content. Therefore, this solution applies to a wide range of applications that are themselves web applications accessed through a browser or to applications that can display HTML in their user interface. In either case, JasperReports Server provides mechanism to customize the look and feel of its content so that the contents of the iframe blend seamlessly with the appearance of the host application.
Level 4: Embedding of Self-Service Reporting and Ad-hoc views
The Jaspersoft embedded BI solution for level 4 is to use iframes again and provide access to the Ad-hoc editor where users can access data presented through a Domain. The powerful in-memory engine of the Ad-hoc editor allows users to explore their data dynamically, by dragging and dropping columns and rows, changing summary functions, pivoting, and drilling down to detailed tables.
As in level 3, the host application uses iframes to display the server’s pages inside of its own user interface, and then users interact directly with JasperReports Server within that iframe.
Level 5: Embedding of Advanced Analytics
The Jaspersoft embedded BI solution for level 5 provides several tools for working with OLAP cubes:
1. Jaspersoft ETL (Extract, Transform, and Load) allows you to prepare and import large volumes of data automatically from any number of sources into any number of data structures, including optimized relational databases used to define OLAP cubes.
2. The schema workbench lets you define an OLAP schema for data in a ROLAP cube.
3. OLAP views combine a connection to the ROLAP cube with an MDX query to give access to the multidimensional data.
This data analysis tool lets users slice, dice, and drill down through the cubes. Advanced users can edit the MDX query to modify their view of the cube.
Bar charts are the most commonly used charts in Business Intelligence reports and Dashboards. They are useful in summarizing the categorical variables or qualitative variables where the length of the bar is directly proportional to the value they represent. This post is one of many posts related to best practices in Data Visualization Solutions. In this post, we will learn which color palette should be used in bar charts.
Let us assume a company is manufacturing 4 products namely A, B, C, D and your manager want to see the sales of these products during 2012 using a bar chart. Which bar chart would you choose?
In the first bar chart all the four bars are represented by four different colors. Most of the people will be tempted to use this bar chart as it looks attractive. Actually, the colors in the bar do not convey any meaning and tend to confuse the user as the user searches for meaning for each color resulting in wastage of time.
Color scheme followed in the third bar should be avoided as this color scheme is best suited for plotting the heat map. In this color scheme, order plays a very important role. Color with lower shades represents a variable with less value and color with high intensity represents the variable with a high value. So this color scheme should be avoided in bar charts.
Based on the best practice Data Visualization Solutions second bar chart is recommended as all bar charts are represented by the same color, It makes easy for the user to compare values across all bars.
A business intelligence dashboard is a data visualization tool that displays the current status of metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) for an organization. Dashboards consolidate and arrange facts, metrics, and performance KPI’s on a single screen. A business intelligence dashboard is a tool which is easy to read, often single page, real-time user interface, showing a graphical presentation of the current status and historical trends of an organization’s key performance indicators to enable instantaneous and informed decisions to be made at a glance. business intelligence dashboard is a key to an organization’s insight. It’s an organization’s boon, but if made or used in a wrong way it’s an organization’s nightmare.
In Today’s world, every big, medium and small organizations use Business Intelligence. Dashboards comprise a major chunk of Business Intelligence. It’s of uttermost importance that dashboards should reveal most important information in a precise manner. Creating dashboards is an art where there is nothing wrong or nothing right. The dashboard will show only what you want it to show. Almost every BI tool allows us to create Dashboards. Some are self-service BI tools like Tableau, QlikView, where users can create their own dashboards and others, are traditional tools like Jaspersoft, Pentaho, Cognos etc where BI developers create a dashboard. No matter what who creates a dashboard, there are few key points which we should keep in mind creating it. These key points are what we call “Best Practices” for creating Dashboards and are Golden rules which we have to keep in mind to make a dashboard useful.
10 Golden rules for dashboard design:
1. Information should be concise, clear and accurate. Too little information will make the feature all but useless and too much will make for a good manager’s meeting conversation piece, but will actually render the dashboard cumbersome to use.
2. Limit the information to what’s necessary.
3. Add related KPI’s in one dashboard and select the right metrics.
4. Highlight the data which is important, like the top performers, top sellers etc.
5. Avoid too much of information on a single dashboard, it can detract from the importance of the data.
6. Avoid overwhelming and distracting visuals.
7. Decide the time interval at which the data on the dashboard needs to be refreshed.
8. Always take inputs from the end users and take feedbacks.
9. Manage the real state of the dashboard effectively to avoid scrolling.
10. The dashboard should be visually appealing, effective and practical.
Jaspersoft Report gives an interactive pixel perfect and ad-hoc based reports for the web, printer, and mobile devices. Jaspersoft and Pentaho use Google map marker to improve the maps which is an important KPI for Information Author. Updates of the actual map can be seen by millions of people in Google maps.
DEFTeam provides various extended functionalities of Google maps in Jasper and Pentaho Report servers. Google map marker allows you to add and update geographic information with various Traffic lighting and various kind of dynamic representations in any domain. Directional representation of path or navigation of any particular entity can be graphically plotted in Google maps. The path representation can be provided in various styles.
DEFTeam provides customized solutions based on Google maps with various extended features like multi-level drill down to the last granular level, dynamic screen adjustment of maps and customized input controls.
Need to adopt Business Intelligence (BI) by the organizations to make smarter, faster and informed decisions is increasing with the increased competition. Thanks to the challenging economic environment that led to the advent of Business Intelligence into the array of IT Solutions. Access to information is what gives companies a competitive edge and allows them to discover new business opportunities. Yet in many companies decisions are not based on the information, data or Business Intelligence because of the inability to keep up with demand for informative data and analytics. To fill this gap business users of organizations are demanding more control and faster access to relevant information Self-Service BI Tools will help them to take appropriate decisions.
To fulfill this demand and decrease the amount of time involved in a typical BI project – A new approach named, Self-Service BI Tools got evolved which involves setting up an environment in which the information seekers and decision makers can create and access specific sets of BI reports, queries, and analytics by themselves with minimal IT intervention.
Gartner defines Self-Service BI as: “End users designing and deploying their own reports and analyses within an approved and supported architecture and tools portfolio.” This statement from Gartner implies a partnership between business units and IT which is sometimes referred to as “Managed” Self-Service BI. Self-Service BI Tools is emerging as a large segment of the business intelligence and analytics environment for many fortune 500 companies. Self-Service BI Tools can also be defined as a facility within the BI environment that enables BI users to become more self-reliant and less dependent on the IT organization.
One significant and major reason that Self-Service BI Tools is becoming more prevalent is that the Corporate BI environment cannot always react fast enough to support the needs of business users.
The major factors behind the evolution of Self-Service BI Tools are:
1) Less turnaround time.
2) End Users/ Business Users having in-depth knowledge of the data and subject areas.
3) The ever-increasing variety of data sources.
4) Dynamic business needs that require instant attention and analysis.
5) Enable different types of information workers to share BI results and work together to define new ways of viewing and analyzing data.
In order to deploy Clustering Jasper Reports Server in a production environment with high-availability, scalable and fault-tolerant service and provide uninterrupted services to Clients without any failover or Downtime, DEFTeam has successfully implemented and served its customers with an ideal solution of Load Balancing of Clustering Jasper Reports Server Repository with Database Clustering. Cluster environment contains multiple mirrored Jasper Repository Databases with one acting as a Master while the remaining as its Slaves.
Load Balancing can be implemented in different Databases in different approaches like in ORACLE using RAC (Real Application Cluster), PostgreSQL using PgPool or PgBouncer, MySQL with HAProxy configuration etc.
Database clustering is a bit of an ambiguous term, some vendors consider a cluster having two or more servers share the same storage, some others call a cluster a set of replicated servers. Replication: It defines the method by which a set of servers remain synchronized without having to share the storage being able to geographically disperse.
There are two main ways of going about it: Master-Master Replication: Any server can update the database. It is usually taken care of by a different module within the database (or a whole different software running on top of them in some cases). Downside: It is very hard to do well, and some systems lose ACID properties when in this mode of replication. Upside: It is flexible and you can support the failure of any server while still having the database updated. Master-Slave Replication: There is only a single copy of authoritative data, which is then pushed to the slave servers. Downside: It is less fault tolerant if the master dies, there are no further changes in the slaves. Upside: It is easier to do than Multi-Master and it usually preserves ACID properties.
TIBCO Spotfire is a true and best example of quality and class of Quintessential Visualization Tool. Quintessential Visualization Tool – TIBCO Spotfire helps in making informed decisions or decisions for the betterment of business in near future, predicts or forecasts business Key performance indicators(KPIs). Get the essential insights from complex data with never missed opportunities, to know where the business is leading and many more…
Compared to other visualization tools available in the market, TIBCO Spotfire provides more flexibility, scalability and is more viable for any size of an organization. It creates data analysis within no time and at the click of a button, one can see how does the data look in different dimensions and select the most impactful representation and share it with peers or business users organization-wide.
TIBCO Spotfire is best fit for future BI trends where user is going to be more interested in self-service BI than canned reports(Pixel perfect/fixed reports) and dashboards, Predictive analysis which tells user WHAT TO DO and not just what is going to happen, powerful, simple and cost-effective tools and BI for everyone (Democratized BI).
TIBCO Spotfire outperforms every other tool in a market in the following ways in terms of features:
Capacity to handle the enormous amount of data and different data sets– Spotfire can handle right from tiny flat files to BIG data, HADOOP and can handle any amount of data which has no limit (provided powerful hardware support)
In-Memory, In-Database analysis makes it unique and faster than any other visualization tool in the market
Simple and Seamless UI lets data scientists and analysts build analytics application for end users or business users
Deployment – From small to large corporations
Automation Services can send reports at scheduled intervals, take and save snap of data/visualization when a certain event occurs or it can trigger an action based on a particular action/requirement
Scalability factor makes it even more productive
‘Work offline’ allows the user to work and create visualization without having to connect to the server; when the server is up and running user can connect and deploy analysis on the server. This extraordinary feature comes in handy when the user is traveling and not able to connect to server or server itself is not up and running.
Bookmarks and Collaboration – Bookmark allows the user to save dashboard instances and retrieve the same as and when required; this comes handy for comparing more than two scenarios and Collaboration enables the user to participate in communication thread
The user can have simplified storytelling approach to their data analyses using complex data sets which do not have any dependence on structured or unstructured, historic or real-time, internal or external, on-premise or cloud
More emphasis on Geo-location and predictive analytics which helps gain a competitive edge and make better decision making in the future
TERR (TIBCO Enterprise Runtime R), R or S+ to write and create new data models
User Authentication and authorization can easily be performed
Connectivity to MS-AD (Microsoft Active Directory) and LDAP (Light Weight Directory Access Protocol) gives more security organization-wide so that only authenticated users are allowed to log-in and see what they have access to
The dashboard can further be drilled down and rolled up using filters, sliders, Filters hierarchy and hyperlink (detailed visualization)
The user can add more functionality to dashboard/visualization using PYTHON script and HTML. For example: Clicking on ‘Export’ button will take a snap of dashboard in PDF
Highly Interactive visualization, customizable Charts, Maps with layers, Treemaps, Parallel Coordinate Chart and Heatmaps facilitate user to analyze more dimensions of data within no time and without using queries, OLAP cubes, indexes, functions, and formulas
Share your insight to your peers, end users, business users through TIBCO server
Recommended visualization – In case the user is not sure of which visualization to be used for data analysis or storytelling approach; Spotfire provides built-in intelligence with best-fit visualizations for user data analysis
Themes – Dashboards can be viewed in different in-built and customizable themes
Cost effective – Organizations do not require to spend loads of money to train their employees or end users; with few hours of training users can build simple to complex dashboards
Undoubtedly TIBCO Spotfire is the best available Quintessential Visualization Tool and is going to capture a bigger market share. This is one which will meet the needs of the today’s CXO in their decision-making process.