Why HI-ADHOC?

HI (Helical Insight) is a reporting tool (BI tool) that helps in Data Visualization of various kinds
like Tables, BarCharts, LineCharts, etc. It is a very good tool since its use is simple
and easy.

HI has a feature called “Adhoc data visualizer” or simply “ADHOC”.
Adhoc makes data visualization amazingly easy since the user need not know anything about
SQL queries, javascript or html and yet he can get the desired report in the desired format.
However, if the user is well versed in the above mentioned subjects, he can tweak the reports
to make them jazzy and attractive.

All other Reporting tools being used at present require the user to be a trained report developer and or have in depth knowledge of the application, the data and different visualization methods.
To overcome this problem, ADHOC combines all the robustness of the existing tools and adds an easy to use layer on top of it.
However, this ease of use does not make the tool bulky or slow. On the contrary, ADHOC is lightning fast is processing large amounts of data, robust and highly secure.

Using the inbuilt functionalities of ADHOC, the data can be tested and any potential problems can be identified easily and early on since it does all the work and the user just needs to check the end results.
The ability of this module to present the data visualization as per the user requirements with very minimal input from the user makes this a very easy to use tool.

The Adhoc Module is completely UI based where an entire process of data visualization can be done by just drag and drop and renaming columns (setting alias).

The major benefit of using ADHOC is that the user need not spend resources in mastering the knick-knacks of Report Development, and can instead create equally good, if not better, data visualizations with basic understanding of the data and SQL.

Step one is mentioning the data source, where the user needs to specify the location of his data on the server which will be used to create a metadata for the report. The application will automatically access the datasource and pull all the tables automatically for metadata generation.

Step two is defining the metadata. Here, the user can define joins between tables by simple drag and drop and specifying the joining column. The application automatically creates the joins based on this information and the user need not worry about it during the report creation. Here creation of views is also possible if the report requires it. Once all the joins are specified, the Metadata is ready for use in the report.

Step three and the final step is data visualization. Once the metadata is specified, the report creation begins. The user now needs to search the field he needs to add in the report in the metadata-toggle bar and drag and drop it in the column addition location on screen.
The application creates the SQL query on its own and executes it to show the desired report.

There are a few more intrinsic properties and features, in this module along with the in depth guide to using the ADHOC module efficiently which will be explained in the next blog post “Guide to Adhoc”.

Need of BI framework / BI platform: Helical Dashboard Insights (HDI)

Business is changing very rapidly, so is their requirement and needs, organizations generally spends a lot on transactional system to help automate the key business process and spends equally on business intelligence tool to find some useful information from the enormous amount of generated data (transactional data). Nowadays Business Intelligence tools are the most important part of any organization. Some of the organizations purchase the BI tools from the BI vendor if their requirement is fulfilled from that tool; in some cases they develop in-house these tools if their requirement is complex. Let’s evaluate both the approaches.

BI Component / parameters Popular BI tool from market Home grown BI tool
Time Ready to use Organization has to wait till it is ready to use
BI resources You will need BI tool specialist to work on your purchased tool or find a outsourced vendor who supports you to design and develop your BI needs Since this tool is developed in-house you need not have to worry about find a vendor or resources for developing your BI solutions
Training You have to train your resources so that your team will be able to use the BI solutions effectively. No or very less amount of training is required (requirements have come from the same business users).
Support You have to completely rely on the BI tool provider company. This is not the problem in case of n-house developed product.
BI flavors BI tools come with different flavors for example, basic edition, professional edition, enterprise edition. It is very difficult to decide on which suits your need. Designing and developing your own BI tools helps you to add whatever flavor you want to add.
BI software Update problem You need to completely rely on the BI tool provider to release their updates, the updates are generally generic in nature, you need to first evaluate it properly before you decide whether to upgrade to new release/update or not. Updates will be designed, developed and tested on your own environment and hence less complicated.
License confusion There are many different ways of selling the licenses. For example, number of users wise, number of servers, number of cores etc. No license
Compatible Environment You need to make your environment compatible with the BI software to get the best output from the purchased BI software. You can design and develop your BI software in such a way that supports your environment.
Risk There is a huge risk associated with selecting a BI provider; you need to follow vendor risk management to be completely assured of whatever you are selecting. Risk in this case is very less.
Money Have to pay hefty amount of money to purchase this tools Slowly you can increase the budget for this tool
BI features Most of the BI features are presented in these tools. In-house develop all the BI features
Customized BI features No, you are restricted to either use all or none. Yes, you can develop the feature in house as per your requirement
Asset to your organization No. Since you don’t have any rights on the BI software Developed code is your own code and act as an asset for your organization.

 

Considering the above list it is best to develop your own BI software. But obviously going that path is have its own disadvantages as mentioned above time is the biggest contributing factor why companies don’t go for in-house development, also not many companies have IT/BI resources who can design/architect the BI software but they know what they are looking for the BI software. The third important factor is money especially in countries like India where company wants all the BI features but they don’t want to spend money for all those features. This brings me to another question “is there a middle way?”

We at Helical are continuously working in providing a middle way, Helical Dashboard Insights (HDI) – a BI framework / BI platform, which has some pre-build features in it by default like

  1. BI repository
  2. security component
  3. reporting component
  4. scheduling component
  5. email component
  6. dashboard component
  7. input control components (should be able to add any type of input controls like dropdown, slider, calendar etc)
  8. front end component (for designing UI)
  9. data visualization component (should have the capability of customizing the visualization/charts and also developers should be able to design their own charts/visualization)
  10. data source component (should be able to communicate with any data sources e.g. relational, noSQL, flat files etc)
  11. exporting component (should be able to extract the report/dashboard in different formats like CSV, Excel, PDFs etc)
  12. Analytics component (Should be able to convert your data into cube for better analysis)
  13. Embedding functionality (should be able to embed the solution to any solutions be it a website, web application, desktop application)
  14. Mobile ready (should be able to see the solution on the mobile)
  15. Plug and play architecture (should be able to add or remove any of the components from the framework)
  16. Caching component
  17. Dashboard / report language to control your reports and dashboards
  18. Software Development Kit (SDK) for developer to create new components

With the above mentioned list of components what you have to do is start altering the code, add more plugins to the BI framework/ BI platform, remove the component which you don’t want, customize completely the BI framework and come with your own BI tool.

Conclusion : With Helical Dashboard Insights (HDI) – a BI framework / BI platform, it is always good to start with as it is future ready, customizable and very light weighted, you can work on top of HDI to come up with your own BI software within no or very less time. From day 1 you are able to utilize this platform for your basic BI needs and then you can start adding more features to it for your more complex BI needs.

Please contact us for questions, demo, feedback, and for other details.

Nitin Sahu | nitin@helicaltech.com