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Twenty ways Datazen will power up your BI

Twenty ways Datazen will power up your BI

by: Peter Serzo

George Bernard Shaw wrote, "Progress is impossible without change.? If you know Microsoft and heard the messages from the recent Ignite conference, you know this is Microsoft's mantra (sometimes to our discontent).

The Business Intelligence-focused sessions revealed the continuing evolution of the stack, including Power BI moving to stand on its own as well as the ability to pin SSRS reports in Power BI. In one session, Microsoft introduced their newest BI Product, Datazen (bought in April 2015), which represents more than an evolution to Microsoft's BI DNA.

I am currently working on a project that is making use of Datazen. There has been much written about it in the last month, but I thought I would present 20 reasons why you might think of implementing this technology. These reasons present a compelling story for a product that presents itself like the groom you want your daughter to marry.

1. Datazen = Mobile BI. This platform was built with a mobile first mentality.

2. Datazen is built to work with touch: Touch Analytics. Does this represent a new category? No. Steve Jobs said it best a few years ago: "We are going to use the best pointing device in the world. You were born with 10 of them.?

3. Datazen is free if you have the SQL Server Enterprise Edition 2008 or later AND software assurance.

4. Datazen comes with a Publisher App to create the dashboards. You can obtain this in the Windows 8 store.

5. Datazen has a server component for security, data sources, and for publishing the dashboards for others to consume.

6. You can start from a dashboard template.

7. As you extend and move the components in your layout, Datazen determines what looks best.

8. Datazen supports contextual parameter-driven drill-through, and it can pass parameters to any Datazen dashboard or URL, so you could go from Datazen dashboard to SSRS.

9. Datazen always generates sample data.

10. Datazen supports custom branding for items like logos and colors.

11. Datazen has multiple preview layouts, BUT you can decide what each looks like in a layout. Datazen is best for scaling to the environment, such as a phone. But if you choose to create the layout for a device, you can present the optimal view.

12. You can color-code the performance of a target.

13. You can participate in a conversations about a KPI.

14. Custom Shape files are supported via ESRI files. This gives you the ability to create (almost) any type of dashboard you want.

15. Visualizations with an icon in the upper right-hand corner indicate that it is enabled for touch.

16. To work with dashboards, you do not need the Datazen server installed.

17. Datazen Hubs: Data Governance anybody? This is logically organized data. This can be organizational units or customers. Each hub can have its own data, its own brand, security and dashboard. This gives a unique experience per hub.

18. Users do not need to concern themselves with setting refresh rates. These are set when creating the data source.

19. Datazen supports up to 100,000 records offline cached. You could be detached now and have a significant record set with which to analyze data.

20. KPI tiles are created on the server, NOT in the designer.

Change is a constant, but change without progress is running to stand still. Implementing change requires a compelling vision and positive reasons. Companies that are resistant to change are at risk to fall behind. Blackberry is an example of not changing quickly enough. Conversely, Ford rebounded without a bailout in 2007 because data was used to support a vision.

Datazen is a tool that is worth your time. With very few barriers to entry, your organization will benefit from mobile touch data analytics.

Peter Serzo is a published author of the "SharePoint 2010 Administration Cookbook,? a founder of the SouthEastern SharePoint group, a speaker, and SharePoint Architect for High Monkey Consulting. Peter has been in the IT industry for 20 years. He has extensive experience with SharePoint implementing business solutions for several enterprise organizations over the past seven years.

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