Dashboards and Data Viz

There seems to be a lot of confusion in the market about dashboards and the different vendors. A couple general thoughts on how I see the space.

There are three general categories in the dashboard space:

• The stack provider – this would encompass companies that sell the entire Business Intelligence (BI) Stack including, in most cases, reporting, analytics, data warehouse, extract, transform and load (ETL) tools and some type of dashboard tool. Generally, these are complex stacks of technology. They take a lot of resources, money and support, but can be valuable when a comprehensive BI suite is needed.
• The widget provider – this would include companies that sell chart widgets. These are mainly used for internal development. Widgets can be used in a development project for dashboards. Programming can be done to pass data to the widget and they are usually imbedded in other applications. Security can be built as well. These would be a good fit for companies that have the resources and time available to build software.
• The Dashboard Solution Provider – these are solutions that focus specifically on the dashboard silo within BI. These will usually come with a framework for user management, security, connection to data sources, etc.

When choosing one of these three options the key criteria will be:

• What do we need?
• What resources and money will it take?
• What is our timeframe for deployment?
• Do we want to build it ourselves or buy it?
• Do we have the expertise to do this?

Dave Ferguson, iDashboards


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