When I previously reviewed Dundas BI, I literally raved about it. Dundas BI impressed me. That was no easy feat since I assess countless analytics offerings that never get a public review. If a solution is showcased, my readers can trust that I have indeed scrutinized the offering in a “hands-on” evaluation. Since I tested this solution less than a year ago, this time I was briefed on what was new. Again, Dundas BI did not disappoint. They just delivered over 100 new features in this latest release.
Looking through the enhancements in Dundas BI 4.0, this time I am taken back by what is truly unique. New data enrichment capabilities for making data corrections, setting benchmarks or targets for context, live what-if analysis, custom form write-back for centralized data collection, and governance for data creation capabilities have been added. In real-world analytics, these use cases historically required custom app development. It is thought-provoking to see Dundas BI extending into that area. Usually I see the reverse – app developers adding analytics. Let’s explore those data enrichment enhancements.
Data enrichment encompasses a series of functionalities that allow users to provide input or feedback directly to Dundas BI. With a persona-based user experience, data enrichment tools light up based on assigned role and skill level. Roles range from data consumers to analysts, administrators and developers.
There are many potential use cases for data enrichment. Data quality could be improved with an extended staff that is empowered to cleanse and correct invalid data. Users making decisions, taking actions and driving behavior with reports have deeper knowledge of local market conditions than the central office or technical staff. Data enrichment enables them to immediately update realistic benchmarks and targets for timely, valuable reporting. How many times have you wished you could collect data from users to verify report accuracy?
While I love the ability to set benchmarks, targets and collect data from users, any time you start correcting data outside of the system of record (data source) I get concerned about potential abuses and maintaining audit trails. In my career, I have witnessed several organizations manipulate KPIs and ask for secret back-door features to “improve” the data. In fact, one insurance organization that requested a hidden data change feature during app requirements gathering was years later raided by the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation. I’ll never forget when I got the call from a peer to turn on the news. I did not develop that app but I specifically remember thinking something felt wrong when I was writing up the requirements.
Regardless of how easy or hard it is to change data, where there’s a will there’s a way. To mitigate inappropriate uses of data enrichment, Dundas BI provides auditing and governance. All in all, data enrichment should be a fantastic addition but it does require planning to implement properly.
Smarter and Savvy Visualizations
For visual analytics enthusiasts, Dundas BI already had an extensive array of visualization types with extensive granular control that I almost never find in these tools. In this release, they have added a few more nice analytics features. An intelligent visual recommendations engine provides recommended charts based on data types. A new auto-generated correlations table to promptly find dependencies between multiple variables – a common requirement for data analysts. Another new chart type is an auto-generated parallel coordinates visual. It can be used to analyze similarity in multivariate data. Lastly Sankey Diagrams have been added for visualizing distributions and losses of values in a workflow.
For Visio fans, Dundas BI 4.0 can display generated Visio SVG diagrams binding to data to visualize complex processes performance. This opens a whole new world of visual communication possibilities from practical diagrams, building floor plans, business process workflows and even fun infographics. To get a sense for what you can design in Visio, check out my 2011 Visio data-driven visualization content. I am fairly certain that story hasn’t changed much on the Microsoft side. I have not seen any other analytics vendors in the market yet rendering Visio SVGs.
Another area of version 4.0 investment was to expedite development. That is an area with a lot of innovation and disruption potential in the analytics industry right now. Dundas BI already had smart defaults and automatic data preparation with fewer steps from data to visualization to speed up development workflows. Digging further into Dundas BI 4.0, the product team has provided faster ways to move proof-of-concept projects into production with easy re-wiring.
Other Noteworthy Enhancements
In this release, Dundas BI improved the embedding user experience. Now users can easily create and experiment with embedded content in the web browser. The new embedding capabilities minimize code required for web integration and simplify the embedding process to bring analytics to the user when and where they need it – in the app.
To wrap up my filtered list of what is new, cool, and exciting in the massive Dundas BI 4.0 release, other noteworthy features I saw include the following:
- New data source connectors to awesome analytics database Exasol and HPE Vertica
- Report and dashboard bursting to proactively deliver the exact data each user needs
- Even better responsive view control for high quality mobile user experiences
- Federated Claims-Based Authentication for Single-Sign-On with common authentication protocols (SAML-P/OpenID Connect/WS-Federation)
To Further Explore
If you want to learn more about the latest Dundas BI 4.0 capabilities, the product team is hosting a series of webinars that have already started. You can sign up for those events directly on the Dundas BI website.
If you are not familiar with Dundas BI, check out my Solution Review or ask them for a demo. Personally, I prefer trying out these products to understand where they shine. Hands-on evaluations with production sized data sets are always incredibly revealing, highly recommended exercises if you are considering a purchase. To try Dundas BI, you can sign up for a free trial.