The rise of data is forcing a tech evolution. As apps create more information, you have to keep up by delivering better dashboards and reports to end users. It becomes a self-feeding cycle: The more accessible data is, the more your customers expect analytics at the core of every application they use.
But of course, the range of BI features and functions available today means that some will be a better fit for your customers than others. So how do you decide which to embed into your application? It depends on the structure of your products and what your customers want to accomplish.
To determine what functionality you should provide, you must first consider the most common analytics capabilities on the market.
Dashboards are single screens that display critical pieces of information in panels, giving end users a unified view of their data. Web-based dashboards offer customization options so creators can match the user interface to existing branding or current application interfaces. They also let users drill down into more specific data or drill through to relevant reports.
Data Visualizations, such as charts, gauges, heat maps, and geographic maps, enable users to quickly draw conclusions and monitor key performance indicators. These can be presented in the context of a single chart or in a collection of visualizations in a dashboard, and can be customized to meet different users’ needs. Cutting-edge visualizations show high-level summaries of important data, presenting information in clearly defined spaces using shape, size, and color to provide context and meaning to users, who can identify trends at a single glance. Using flexible libraries like D3, you can create web-based visualizations that are dynamic, interactive, and visually stunning.
Static and interactive reports provide tabular views of data with or without parameters and scheduling capabilities, often with numerical figures and grouped into categories. Interactivity, including dropdowns and filters, enables users to view specific slices of data.
Self-service analytics and ad-hoc querying enables users to ask their own questions by exploring a set of data to create their own dashboards and reports.
Benchmarking allows users to compare themselves against industry standards and identify areas for improvement. Some cloud applications can even create value by providing new benchmarks based on data collected across the customer base.
Mobile reporting capabilities, made available on users’ mobile devices, ensure accurate visual display of information as well as compatibility with mobile features like touch input and interactive functionality.
Visual workflows, write-backs, and processes incorporate transactional capabilities directly within the analytic user interface. Examples include charts embedded on an existing application page to guide user behavior; a report with editable data cells where users can update the displayed data; and a visualization with selectable regions (on a map or area of a scatter plot) allowing the user to perform an action on the selected records.
What should you consider before enhancing your product with dashboards and reports? Dive deep into the BI evaluation process in this comprehensive guide.