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rob

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Reply with quote  #1 
Stephen, in April 2007 you wrote (in Dashboard and Analytic Software)

"Can the same software product be used for dashboards and faceted analytical displays? Absolutely, but no software that I'm aware of currently supports both of these needs equally well. The best analytical tools lack presentation design flexibility -- the ability to present the data exactly as it's needed -- and the best dashboarding tools don't support analysis very well. This will change in time, but we have a way to go."

Is this still true three years on? Do people use two different pieces of software for the two closely related functionalities? I would be really interested to hear which software people here are using for their data exploration and presentation, and whether they think both are equally well provided.
sfew

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Reply with quote  #2 
Rob,

Yes, this is still true today, but some progress has been made. For example, Tableau Software, which is an excellent visual analysis product has enhanced the flexibility of its "dashboard" functionality. While greater control has been provided for the positioning and sizing of individual charts on the dashboard and bullet graphs have been added to its library of chart types, Tableau still doesn't provide the fine level of layout control that's ideally needed for building great monitoring dashboards.

I've yet to find a product that provides precise layout control for dashboards, which also functions well as an exploratory visual analysis tool. Few products try to do both. The products that currently work well for the creation of well-designed dashboards tend to be programmer's tools with lots of power, but that power comes at the cost of having to write code or wade through long lists of functions in dialog boxes. A programmer's interface never works well for seamless and efficient exploratory data analysis.

Whether a single product will ever work ideally for both exploratory data analysis and for the design of great monitoring dashboards is difficult to predict. The greater problem today is the fact that there are still too few products available that support either one of these tasks effectively. Even though new products that claim to fit into these categories are frequently released and effusively marketed, I haven't seen a single new visual analysis or dashboard product that's been released in the last three years that's worthwhile, with the exception of nodeXL, but it only supports network analysis using node and link visualizations. I can still count the combined number of products that work well for either visual analysis or the creation of monitoring dashboards on my fingers. That's sad.


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Stephen Few
rob

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Reply with quote  #3 
That is sad. So you would recommend using two independant packages for the two stages? Is it possible/difficult to have the dashboard updating live with a separate visualization software?

Many thanks for your reply

sfew

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Reply with quote  #4 
Depending on your needs, you might be able to get by fine with a good visual analysis tool (for example, Tableau, Spotfire, Panopticon, or if you need statistical horsepower, SAS JMP), which could be used to build fairly good monitoring dashboards as well. If your dashboard requirements demand more, then for this you might consider products such as Corda CenterView, QlikView, and the next product release from PureShare.

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Stephen Few
pzajkowski

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Reply with quote  #5 

Stephen:

Although this thread is nearly a year old, where do you think XLCubed fits in between analytics and dashboarding? http://xlcubed.com -- I see they've released a fairly new version (v6). The last time I looked at the product was when v3 was still in beta. I'm guessing that xlcubed still lacks the dynamic exploritory capacity of Qlikview or Tableau.

sfew

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Reply with quote  #6 
pzajkowski,

I'm guessing the same, but don't know for sure. It's been at least three years since I last looked at the product.

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Stephen Few
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