Monday, October 04, 2010

Visual Mining

I had a look at Visual Mining's Performance Dashboards a few days ago. Visual Mining has a product call NetCharts which comes in different editions for different customer groups. The core version is a set of developer tools that allow Java developers to create HTML 5 or Flash charts. NetCharts Server provides additional features for delivering the charts to end users. The NetCharts Performance Dashboards add an additional layer of user interfaces and data access tools to allow users with relatively few technical skills to create their own dashboards.

Strictly speaking dashboards do not include tabular data. Well anyway, that was the original idea, even if most vendors do not stick to it. and most of the presentation I got of the Performance Dashboards actually revolved around the features of the table object that is provided. The tables offer of sorting and filtering as well as conditional formatting.

Each table is made up of a single hierarchy and one or more columns, either taken directly from the database or calculated on the fly as a variances, including simple time intelligence features such as previous year. The hierarchy has good presentation features - it shows children as indented elements, the parent can be above or below the children, level based formatting is available and so on. Furthermore the end user can add or remove levels and change their order on the fly.

The product also has drill-down feature in the tables and the charts, so users can see the transactions the underlie the aggregate data. Navigating in the finished dashboard is relatively simple, and more emphasis is put on creating the dashboards. The end user can be given the rights to modify the charts freely, even changing chart types.