Dashboard software is a key component of a good business intelligence solution. In a large enterprise, it is usually part of a bigger software package. In some cases, a dedicated solution may be used to meet certain project specifics. It’s also an option for smaller companies or lines of business. It’s an important piece to consider because its often the piece that gets pushed in front of executives or important decision-makers, so it needs to be functional, stylish, and fast.
Most of the technology these days is “drag and drop” so very little actual coding is needed. Some factors that should be considered include ease-of-use, data flexibility, scaling, and cost. However, no matter how cheap a solution is, if it doesn’t fill the organization’s need, that bargain is really a waste of resources.
Dashboards are part of the big enterprise vendors offerings, although it may be called something different depending on the company. Microstrategy includes them as part of Report Services, for example. The advantage there is that they are then part of your bigger BI stack and integrated in with your other reports. In some cases though, the functionality can be an expensive add-on.
Over the past few years, many smaller vendors have popped up as dashboad software solutions. Tableau has been making big strides, as has iDashboards. One of the advantages of going with a add-on package is that, in most cases, they are vendor agnostic and can work with most datasets. Many larger companies may use an Oracle stack, for example, for their enterprise reporting but use Tableau for some of their executive views and dashboards.Here are some of the other players to consider:
Inetsoft: Has a free version called Style Scope that may be worth considering.
Dundas: Has won several industry awards for its technology. It's heavily based on Microsoft technology and so can work well with a SSRS/SSAS environment.
SiSense: They market themselves as the easy-to-use quick solutions.
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