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Rick van der Lans

Welcome to my blog where I will talk about a variety of topics related to data warehousing, business intelligence, application integration, and database technology. Currently my special interests include data virtualization, NoSQL technology, and service-oriented architectures. If there are any topics you'd like me to address, send them to me at rick@r20.nl.

About the author >

Rick is an independent consultant, speaker and author, specializing in data warehousing, business intelligence, database technology and data virtualization. He is managing director and founder of R20/Consultancy. An internationally acclaimed speaker who has lectured worldwide for the last 25 years, he is the chairman of the successful annual European Enterprise Data and Business Intelligence Conference held annually in London. In the summer of 2012 he published his new book Data Virtualization for Business Intelligence Systems. He is also the author of one of the most successful books on SQL, the popular Introduction to SQL, which is available in English, Chinese, Dutch, Italian and German. He has written many white papers for various software vendors. Rick can be contacted by sending an email to rick@r20.nl.

Editor's Note: Rick's blog and more articles can be accessed through his BeyeNETWORK Expert Channel.

We all know and understand dashboards. Dashboards consist of visual components in the form of gauges, graphs, pie charts, bar charts, heat maps, and so on, allowing business users to get a quick overview of key performance indicators (KPI).

I thought that we had seen it all with respect to dashboards and that nothing new could be invented. Wrong! Newcomer VisualCue has surprised me completely. This tools supports a new way of presenting KPIs with dashboards, and a new way of working with them.

Besides the more traditional visual components, the key visual component in VisualCue is a tile. In a tile various icons can be used to show multiple KPIs of a process or object. Each icon represents a KPI. A tile can represent, for example, a call center agent, a truck driver, a flight, a hotel, or a project. Heavy use is made of colors to indicate the state of the KPI, and thus the object. The icons can be designed by the customer or they can be selected from a long predefined list.

By showing many tiles next to one each other, business users can see the states of numerous objects or processes at a glance. In other words, the tiles make it possible for business users to see and process a lot of detailed data at a single glance. There is no need to aggregate data which always leads to hiding data, and hiding data can lead to missing opportunities or possible problems. So, with tiles users will see the wood for the trees.

The tiles are dynamic. They can be classified and grouped based on characteristics, for example, call center operators can be grouped based on reached business goals. Business users can also do drill downs on the tiles, showing even more details. And that's where this product really shines.

Again, I thought I had seen everything with respect to dashboards, but clearly I was wrong. The product is still very young, so it still has to proof itself in large, real life projects. But I recommend to check out VisualCue anyway.

Posted May 13, 2014 2:53 AM
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