Category Archives: Displays

So where to start? Dashboards, graphs, and charts OH MY!

I’m trying to break back into development, so I’m going to blog about how and what I’m doing to make it happen.  I’ve been mulling around what will be my first step and I kept coming back to familiar territory – how to display data for large and small data sets.  One of the things I was always looking for was how to do it for as little investment as possible.  $ and Time that is.   I usually had trouble convincing my superiors to make the investment, so I never had much budget.  I did get lucky with one open minded company who was willing to see the vision, and from what I’ve heard, it’s still doing well for them to this day.

Please take this all as the musings of a beginner, so if I’m wrong, please forgive me:)  This is also my experience of about 5-7 years ago.  I want to find ways to

One of the things I noticed on my first venture into this space was that there are a lot of ways to display your data.  SSRS is a good cheap start, can connect to transactional and warehouse systems, learning curve isn’t too bad and is easily transferable to other systems.  Data set up doesn’t have to be there since you can write SQL to point right at your database so the initial set up is small.

Performance Point was a good alternative, but it took a lot of server setup and if you can’t afford Sharepoint, forget it.  One of the things I noticed though, was that the visuals weren’t great.  Grid’s looked fabulous, but the gauges – which was what everyone we were setting up the dashboard for was looking for.

Dundas came along at a good time for us because we already had the SSIS and SSAS setup done, so all we really needed to do was point at the cube, and play around with the dashboards to configure them correctly.  Very pretty, but had some difficulty because (at the time) Dundas was really more geared towards importing data rather than looking at a cube.

As I start getting back into things, I’m going to relook at all of these again, plus I’m going to check out PowerBI for my first post since I was playing around with it the other day.  I liked it, but it seems to have the same notion in common, you have to know how to set up the data or at least have some notion of WHAT data you need so you can slice and dice things the way you want.

Goal: to understand how things work under the cover, how to get data ‘ready’, and to figure out a way for companies to deliver the most with the least $ investment.