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Top BI Dashboard Best Practices To Keep In Mind

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Top BI Dashboard Best Practices To Keep In Mind

Dashboards help you keep track of key metrics and performance indicators.

They can be very powerful tools, but only if they are set up correctly.

The best BI dashboards are designed to be easy to read, intuitive and actionable. They should give you a clear picture of how your organization is doing and help you spot trends and anomalies that indicate areas for improvement.

There are several best practices that can be used to create a robust BI dashboard, including the following:

Define Business Goals

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Before you even begin your BI project, it’s important to define your business goals. Business intelligence is not a one size fits all solution. There are so many different ways to use data and analytics that it’s best to know what specific problems you’re trying to solve before thinking about how to do it.

The goal of any BI project should be to help make decisions easier or faster by providing actionable insights into company performance and strategy as well as external factors affecting market demand or supply.

Before jumping into the technical details of creating a dashboard, take some time to ponder what success looks like for this project. Be ambitious and realistic at the same time. Remember: don’t let perfect get in the way of good enough—just keep moving forward until all aspects of your dashboard are complete.

Set KPIs

As you take advantage of state-of-the-art BI dashboards, it’s important to remember that KPIs should be measurable and actionable. They should also be specific—not general—and SMART: specific, measurable, actionable, relevant, and time-bound. This means you can’t just say, “we want more revenue” or “we want fewer expenses.” You need to break that down further into something like “increase revenue by 20% compared to last year” or “reduce costs by 10% every quarter.”

If you’re measuring sales data from all over the world, then don’t use a geographic breakdown as part of your report. Instead, focus on regions where the company makes most of its money and spend some time talking with members of those departments, if necessary, before setting up reporting.

Incorporate Visualizations

When you’re looking at a BI dashboard, it’s important to use visualizations to tell a story. Visualizations help you understand the data and make sense of complex data.

Visualizations can be used to highlight trends in your data, which is useful when comparing different metrics from one period to another. It’s also helpful for spotting anomalies within each metric—for example, if sales have been dropping off lately but customer satisfaction ratings are still high, that may indicate something’s wrong with your product or service offerings.

Incorporating visualizations into your dashboard allows you to spot trends quickly so that you can take action right away if needed; this ensures that nothing gets overlooked.

Automate Alerts and Notifications

There are several ways to leverage alerts and notifications when it comes to BI dashboards. You can use email notifications, mobile notifications, SMS-based communications, or push notifications. While some of these methods are better than others, they all have their place in your BI dashboard strategy.

If you utilize email alerts every time a new report is published in the system, you will soon find yourself drowning in emails. This is especially true if your team has created dozens of reports that need constant monitoring for changes or updates. The same holds true for mobile notifications or SMS messages; both options can easily become overwhelming if there aren’t controls beforehand for data points to be updated.

In order to avoid getting overwhelmed by alerts from your BI dashboard software toolset, consider implementing some sort of “bucket system.” In this, each alert goes into one category — such as “must respond now” or “wait 24 hours before responding” — before being sent out.

Keep It Simple

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Your BI dashboard should be easy to read and understand. It’s a good idea to keep the colors consistent throughout all of your visualizations so that viewers can easily identify differences across them. For example, if you use blue for positive numbers, then stick with that color scheme throughout all charts and graphs.

For people who are colorblind or have difficulty seeing certain shades of colors (e.g., bright reds), it’s best not to use them in your dashboards since they may not be able to perceive those shades at all. In general, stick with dark-colored text on light backgrounds rather than light-colored text on dark backgrounds; this will make it easier for everyone to read the information presented on your dashboard.

Conclusion

It’s important to remember that your BI dashboard is there for you to use and make the best decisions possible. It can be overwhelming at times, but if you take these tips into consideration, they will help make your life much easier.


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Next-gen chips, Amazon Q, and speedy S3

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AWS re:Invent, which has been taking place from November 27 and runs to December 1, has had its usual plethora of announcements: a total of 21 at time of print.

Perhaps not surprisingly, given the huge potential impact of generative AI – ChatGPT officially turns one year old today – a lot of focus has been on the AI side for AWS’ announcements, including a major partnership inked with NVIDIA across infrastructure, software, and services.

Yet there has been plenty more announced at the Las Vegas jamboree besides. Here, CloudTech rounds up the best of the rest:

Next-generation chips

This was the other major AI-focused announcement at re:Invent: the launch of two new chips, AWS Graviton4 and AWS Trainium2, for training and running AI and machine learning (ML) models, among other customer workloads. Graviton4 shapes up against its predecessor with 30% better compute performance, 50% more cores and 75% more memory bandwidth, while Trainium2 delivers up to four times faster training than before and will be able to be deployed in EC2 UltraClusters of up to 100,000 chips.

The EC2 UltraClusters are designed to ‘deliver the highest performance, most energy efficient AI model training infrastructure in the cloud’, as AWS puts it. With it, customers will be able to train large language models in ‘a fraction of the time’, as well as double energy efficiency.

As ever, AWS offers customers who are already utilising these tools. Databricks, Epic and SAP are among the companies cited as using the new AWS-designed chips.

Zero-ETL integrations

AWS announced new Amazon Aurora PostgreSQL, Amazon DynamoDB, and Amazon Relational Database Services (Amazon RDS) for MySQL integrations with Amazon Redshift, AWS’ cloud data warehouse. The zero-ETL integrations – eliminating the need to build ETL (extract, transform, load) data pipelines – make it easier to connect and analyse transactional data across various relational and non-relational databases in Amazon Redshift.

A simple example of how zero-ETL functions can be seen is in a hypothetical company which stores transactional data – time of transaction, items bought, where the transaction occurred – in a relational database, but use another analytics tool to analyse data in a non-relational database. To connect it all up, companies would previously have to construct ETL data pipelines which are a time and money sink.

The latest integrations “build on AWS’s zero-ETL foundation… so customers can quickly and easily connect all of their data, no matter where it lives,” the company said.

Amazon S3 Express One Zone

AWS announced the general availability of Amazon S3 Express One Zone, a new storage class purpose-built for customers’ most frequently-accessed data. Data access speed is up to 10 times faster and request costs up to 50% lower than standard S3. Companies can also opt to collocate their Amazon S3 Express One Zone data in the same availability zone as their compute resources.  

Companies and partners who are using Amazon S3 Express One Zone include ChaosSearch, Cloudera, and Pinterest.

Amazon Q

A new product, and an interesting pivot, again with generative AI at its core. Amazon Q was announced as a ‘new type of generative AI-powered assistant’ which can be tailored to a customer’s business. “Customers can get fast, relevant answers to pressing questions, generate content, and take actions – all informed by a customer’s information repositories, code, and enterprise systems,” AWS added. The service also can assist companies building on AWS, as well as companies using AWS applications for business intelligence, contact centres, and supply chain management.

Customers cited as early adopters include Accenture, BMW and Wunderkind.

Want to learn more about cybersecurity and the cloud from industry leaders? Check out Cyber Security & Cloud Expo taking place in Amsterdam, California, and London. Explore other upcoming enterprise technology events and webinars powered by TechForge here.

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HCLTech and Cisco create collaborative hybrid workplaces

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Digital comms specialist Cisco and global tech firm HCLTech have teamed up to launch Meeting-Rooms-as-a-Service (MRaaS).

Available on a subscription model, this solution modernises legacy meeting rooms and enables users to join meetings from any meeting solution provider using Webex devices.

The MRaaS solution helps enterprises simplify the design, implementation and maintenance of integrated meeting rooms, enabling seamless collaboration for their globally distributed hybrid workforces.

Rakshit Ghura, senior VP and Global head of digital workplace services, HCLTech, said: “MRaaS combines our consulting and managed services expertise with Cisco’s proficiency in Webex devices to change the way employees conceptualise, organise and interact in a collaborative environment for a modern hybrid work model.

“The common vision of our partnership is to elevate the collaboration experience at work and drive productivity through modern meeting rooms.”

Alexandra Zagury, VP of partner managed and as-a-Service Sales at Cisco, said: “Our partnership with HCLTech helps our clients transform their offices through cost-effective managed services that support the ongoing evolution of workspaces.

“As we reimagine the modern office, we are making it easier to support collaboration and productivity among workers, whether they are in the office or elsewhere.”

Cisco’s Webex collaboration devices harness the power of artificial intelligence to offer intuitive, seamless collaboration experiences, enabling meeting rooms with smart features such as meeting zones, intelligent people framing, optimised attendee audio and background noise removal, among others.

Want to learn more about cybersecurity and the cloud from industry leaders? Check out Cyber Security & Cloud Expo taking place in Amsterdam, California, and London. Explore other upcoming enterprise technology events and webinars powered by TechForge here.

Tags: Cisco, collaboration, HCLTech, Hybrid, meetings

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Canonical releases low-touch private cloud MicroCloud

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Canonical has announced the general availability of MicroCloud, a low-touch, open source cloud solution. MicroCloud is part of Canonical’s growing cloud infrastructure portfolio.

It is purpose-built for scalable clusters and edge deployments for all types of enterprises. It is designed with simplicity, security and automation in mind, minimising the time and effort to both deploy and maintain it. Conveniently, enterprise support for MicroCloud is offered as part of Canonical’s Ubuntu Pro subscription, with several support tiers available, and priced per node.

MicroClouds are optimised for repeatable and reliable remote deployments. A single command initiates the orchestration and clustering of various components with minimal involvement by the user, resulting in a fully functional cloud within minutes. This simplified deployment process significantly reduces the barrier to entry, putting a production-grade cloud at everyone’s fingertips.

Juan Manuel Ventura, head of architectures & technologies at Spindox, said: “Cloud computing is not only about technology, it’s the beating heart of any modern industrial transformation, driving agility and innovation. Our mission is to provide our customers with the most effective ways to innovate and bring value; having a complexity-free cloud infrastructure is one important piece of that puzzle. With MicroCloud, the focus shifts away from struggling with cloud operations to solving real business challenges” says

In addition to seamless deployment, MicroCloud prioritises security and ease of maintenance. All MicroCloud components are built with strict confinement for increased security, with over-the-air transactional updates that preserve data and roll back on errors automatically. Upgrades to newer versions are handled automatically and without downtime, with the mechanisms to hold or schedule them as needed.

With this approach, MicroCloud caters to both on-premise clouds but also edge deployments at remote locations, allowing organisations to use the same infrastructure primitives and services wherever they are needed. It is suitable for business-in-branch office locations or industrial use inside a factory, as well as distributed locations where the focus is on replicability and unattended operations.

Cedric Gegout, VP of product at Canonical, said: “As data becomes more distributed, the infrastructure has to follow. Cloud computing is now distributed, spanning across data centres, far and near edge computing appliances. MicroCloud is our answer to that.

“By packaging known infrastructure primitives in a portable and unattended way, we are delivering a simpler, more prescriptive cloud experience that makes zero-ops a reality for many Industries.“

MicroCloud’s lightweight architecture makes it usable on both commodity and high-end hardware, with several ways to further reduce its footprint depending on your workload needs. In addition to the standard Ubuntu Server or Desktop, MicroClouds can be run on Ubuntu Core – a lightweight OS optimised for the edge. With Ubuntu Core, MicroClouds are a perfect solution for far-edge locations with limited computing capabilities. Users can choose to run their workloads using Kubernetes or via system containers. System containers based on LXD behave similarly to traditional VMs but consume fewer resources while providing bare-metal performance.

Coupled with Canonical’s Ubuntu Pro + Support subscription, MicroCloud users can benefit from an enterprise-grade open source cloud solution that is fully supported and with better economics. An Ubuntu Pro subscription offers security maintenance for the broadest collection of open-source software available from a single vendor today. It covers over 30k packages with a consistent security maintenance commitment, and additional features such as kernel livepatch, systems management at scale, certified compliance and hardening profiles enabling easy adoption for enterprises. With per-node pricing and no hidden fees, customers can rest assured that their environment is secure and supported without the expensive price tag typically associated with cloud solutions.

Want to learn more about cybersecurity and the cloud from industry leaders? Check out Cyber Security & Cloud Expo taking place in Amsterdam, California, and London. Explore other upcoming enterprise technology events and webinars powered by TechForge here.

Tags: automation, Canonical, MicroCloud, private cloud

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