Visual Analytics: What to Use, When and Where

With the emergence and prevalence of many new platforms for Business Intelligence & Analytics, a common challenge for many organizations is the choice of what platform will best meet their requirements. They want to gain better visibility into their data, to make it more real-time and actionable, and to encourage users to browse and explore the data, and make better data-driven decisions. Not only do they wrestle with the choice of platform, but they also face the deployment options for that platform, such as on-premise, cloud-based, or hybrid cloud; whether they purchase the licenses or acquire them via SaaS model; and the types and numbers of licenses required.

Only once these organizations have made all of those decisions can they begin the process of designing and building their analytics. At this point, they may struggle with the design process, and what visualizations to use when, in order to achieve the desired results. Fortunately, one of Tribridge's Business Intelligence & Analytics partners, ZAP, has provided an outstanding reference document to use as a "Visual Analytics Cheat Sheet." Although this document was written by and for ZAP, the concepts it presents can be applied to any platform the uses visual analytics, such as Power BI and others. Tribridge has used this very Cheat Sheet to vet its own Power BI dashboards for our industry-specific solutions, such as Advanced Distribution, Healthcare ERP, Advanced Field Service, and others, along with our horizontal dashboards, such as our CFO dashboards and BI Essentials dashboards for Financials against this.

These dashboards are highly interactive, extremely visual components that allow us to surface data in ways that were never before possible. These dashboards allow any user that has access to them to quickly perform advanced multi-dimensional analysis of the underlying data using any number of factors. Rather than spending time extracting data from source systems, processing and cleansing it in Excel spreadsheets, adding formulas and vlookups to it, and then summarizing it in pivot tables, or filtering and sorting the data in order to get to results, our users can now spend less time preparing the data and reports, and more time in browsing the data, exploring it for patterns, identifying correlations between data elements, doing ad-hoc analysis, and gaining instant insights.

The ZAP Platform

Tribridge has partnered with ZAP BI to provide an end-to-end data management and analytics solution that automates and simplifies the process of collecting, organizing and analyzing data.

The ZAP platform allows users to easily create and combine solutions including data automation, data modeling and data visualization from a central point to better manage business outcomes and insight. ZAP BI makes it easier to organize data from many sources into a consolidated, governed and trusted data model to reduce the time, complexity and cost of creating consistent and reliable information. It also allows organizations to avoid the cost and risk of creating proprietary data warehouses to feed analytics. And, it provides options for archiving data from legacy ERP systems and other line of business applications before they are decommissioned to enable ongoing reporting and analysis of data, without requiring the continued licensing of those legacy solutions.

The ZAP BI platform provides stunning visualizations and dashboarding capabilities, with pre-built analytics and dashboards that can be used out-of-the-box with platforms such as Microsoft Dynamics or customized to fit unique needs. The unique and flexible architecture provides capabilities that automate the management, integration and modeling of data from many sources, with out-of-the-box integrations with almost any data source. This removes much of the manual work of accessing, transforming, modeling and loading data. As a result, this provides a much faster time-to-value, even when combined with other visualization tools such as Microsoft Power BI.

For more information on ZAP BI and what this can do for your organization, please check out our BI&A Snack Session for ZAP BI.

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