Top 5 questions to ask before choosing your BI Viz tool

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Business Intelligence is process of analyzing the data to produce meaningful and conclusive information.

Bird eye view of BI enabled system looks something like below –

We are going to discuss a bit in this article about Visualization.

Choosing well suited reporting framework for your system is very important decision to make. In many scenarios people make just in time decisions by doing quick and dirty research which may become a big issue as project grow. Choice of tool can be tricky and depends on whether you are planning to migrate existing visualization framework to newer or choosing it for the first time.

Roadmap of the tool and if any open source, then number of contributors is something you should see.

Ask below questions before you choose the platform.

How much data are we going to process?

Getting clear understanding on how much data you are going to process and visualize is one the key point of investigation before you choose any tool, and the projection of data size over the time. e.g. tool required for IoT based system would be different than that of CRM like smaller systems. You also need to know what type of data source you are going to connect to (Relational or NoSQL).

Different data connectivity/processing approaches are required based on the data size to process e.g. if you are going to use Tableau/Logi like platforms then you better write extracts to process large data, but if you are choosing JavaScript based charts, you need faster API to get and show the summarized information.

What is our budget?

The very important question during initial phase of the project. Everything come and stop here, the budget. You can build reporting for IoT system based on JavaScript backed up with lightning fast micro-services OR you can ease out your life by using the ready frameworks like Tableau, Pentaho, Logi etc.

The costing in both approaches differs a lot, frameworks work in named and core licensing that cost large bucks whereas other approaches are cost effective; it’s a tradeoff you may need to do based on the budget you have and of course the time.

Do consider the cost for various projections for data, number of users, report types etc.

What should be the time to market?

If you use low cost solutions, you likely end up spending more time (and hence money over the time) on delivering new reports, whereas with ready frameworks time to market may be amazingly less.

What types of reports are expected?

Usually reports are estimated based on their complexity such as Easy, Moderate or Complex. Reports could be as simple as list or may have complex layout with different levels of grouping, sorting, related sections, connecting to various data sources etc.

Again, time to market is usually a deciding factor.

Need of real time data vs. batch mode access is another key requirement to know.

How easily can we achieve non-functional aspects?

Performance, Scalability and the Security are key aspects that one must consider while implementing reporting solution, it is important to know the priority and the allocated budget to support these aspects.

With enterprise solutions you get most of it out of the box whereas for custom solutions you need to invest time to implement these tailor made features.

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