By Debbie Lonsdale
At this time of year, just before we all wind down for the seasonal festivities and look forward to the beckoning new year, we tend to reflect on what we have achieved; what we could have done better; and of course what we learned.
Every year in the business of data management and analytics is a year of learning for us: this year more than most. As in most technology roles you cannot keep still: there is always something new to learn, a better way of doing something or brand new concepts to take on board.
As BI consultants, it’s our job to try and deliver the best applications we can using the technology we work with. Just when we think that the software we are using has nothing more to give us, new features and new modules are developed that can transform our whole offering. And make us smile.
This has happened to us a lot this year.
Not only did we attend our annual Diver distributors’ conference in Leiden where we had our usual general sessions on the state of the industry and marketing updates, but we’ve been lucky enough to attend several other training sessions on some of the latest developments in Diver. And meet key people from the development teams who can answer questions and take on board our suggestions.
You see, Dimensional Insight is constantly trying to deliver what our customers want by anticipating their needs and preferences. And we are part of that process when we interact with you as customers on a daily basis, as well as at our conference and trainings.
As I said, there has been so much to smile about this year, but personally speaking this Christmas my 3 biggest gifts from Dimensional Insight are:
1. The DIUX for Diveport
The DIUX is a brand new Diveport skin from Dimensional Insight. It isn’t a big thing, but for me it is a thing of beauty and makes my work look great! It has a very clean cut design that gives your Diveport pages a consistent professional look and feel. My biggest “like” is the way the pale blue page background covers the whole screen automatically, rather than having to add your own background portlet and size it. It also comes with some text files from which you can cut and paste some pre-written HTML code into HTML portlets, to add nice touches like the Time Range Calendar background that you can place around Time Series Quickviews as below.
And note the “hidden quickviews” – a feature which removes the old-fashioned looking boxes and highlights the values in blue.
I’ve tried out the DIUX by upgrading some demo sites that were using the Simplified Interface and it’s a pretty smooth transition. There is a little bit of resizing to do but it’s well worth it.
2. The ProDiver Upgrade
At last we are getting delivery of a new look and feel version of ProDiver! This should be shipped to us in the New Year but we’ve been able to have a play around with the beta version already, and I can tell all you ProDiver users that you will love it!
Apart from a brand new look and feel with modern icons, the best new feature you will find is the ability to switch dimension within the same window – very similar to using a Diver Portlet in Diveport! No more closing down the current window and starting again – just flip to another dimension!!
The menus and toolbars have been reorganised, the Console has been revamped and defaults to the left, and the quickviews modified. There is a new default colour scheme and font, gentler highlighting, lighter gridlines – all in keeping with the DIUX mentioned above. In general there is improved spacing and layout, including in dialog boxes – I think you’ll be as happy as I am with the new look ProDiver!
3. DI Measure Factory
The Measure Factory was introduced by DI a while ago but we have only really just begun to work with it after our training in Leiden. It’s essentially a system for automation and management of logic that adds context to KPIs and Measures. It’s unique in the industry as it truly enables data governance – all the measures are maintained and managed in one place – the Factory – and users or developers go to this Factory and select the measure they wish to use in any of their reports or indicators – much like taking something out of a library. And it makes ETL maintenance more efficient because you don’t have repeat logic.
The new Stamp Portlet which ships with Measure Factory allows you to select the measures you want to show in neat little sections within a portlet – and copy around the page, just amending the dimensions to get a consistent view.
Whilst we already carry out many of the functions of Measure Factory within our applications, i.e. the business logic and calculations, they can be spread out in various places within a project and can be managed by different stakeholders separately. The Measure Factory provides one central place of governance and demands collaboration.
Measure Factory is a brilliant new piece of software from DI, and whilst it is not planned as a retrofit to existing applications it will certainly be part of our toolkit for new ones!
Well, what do you think? These were my three biggest gifts from DI this Christmas – maybe you have others to share? If you would like to know more about any of these new features from DI then please get in touch through the web form.
Wishing everyone Season’s Greetings!!