Dashboards & Data Visualization


Simple Tableau Mobile Dashboard

Now that I'm working with Tableau on a regular basis at work, I've also decided to recreate my existing dashboard examples so I can better understand the exact differences (pros/cons) between Tableau and SAP Dashboards / Xcelsius. This first posting on the topic covers the simple mobile sales dashboard that I originally posted about here.

The main point of this exercise is to leverage design elements from PowerPoint to create a more polished looking dashboard on a mobile device. I experimented with the new transparency options in Tableau 8.1, but found that my dashboard would crash when trying to layer transparent sections over graphics in the dashboard. Trying an alternative approach, I used version 8.0 and just set the backgrounds of each section to match the image.

Click on the image to seeing the working Tableau Public version. Try it on your desktop and mobile devices!

I had to make a page for each KPI (budget, actual, variance) because putting them into a single table wouldn't show correctly over the graphic bubbles. Other than that, it was much faster to build this dashboard in Tableau and the separate pages wasn't much of an inconvenience. I was also able to use the x/y positioning and exact sizing of elements to make sure that they were all aligned correctly and easily.

The 'sales rep' quick filter at the top adjusts all of the numbers, and the entire dashboard is mobile ready by default... so I'm pretty happy with the outcome on this one!


Xcelsius Slide-Out Menu with Inovista

Today I'm going to show you a slide-out menu using the Inovista component suite. One key thing to note is that many of the 'mobile' components can add good value to your desktop dashboards. In trying to review what I've done in this example, I've found that there are a lot of details, so I'm going to summarize the process and provide the source file.

You can view this on the iPad by downloading the 'Dash Reader' app from Invoista. Then you load this URL.


Click on the image to see the desktop version in action.

Filed under: Updates Continue reading

Metro / Flat UI Tabs

I've had a request come in to see how to make the flat UI style tabs that are used in my Balanced Scorecard dashboard. Here is how you can make those tabs by layer core out-of-the-box components.



SAP Dashboards Loading Progress Bar

Some dashboards have a lot going on and maybe a simple loading spinner doesn't cut it. One solution would be to use a loading bar. If you have several queries, you could count the number of them that have returned data to update the overall progress. Or, if you know roughly the speed to update the dashboard, you can just ballpark the loading progress using the SAP Dashboards / Xcelsius history component. Want to know more?



Inovista Tutorial – Part 1 (The Basics)

I've had a number of people reach out in response to my teaser post about the capabilities of Inovista add-ons. Before I jump into things like the concept of sliding panels, we need to cover some of the basics.

If you are going to invest in the Inovista add-ons, I highly recommend that you get the full developer suite for $999. Remember, this is only required for the developers and not the end users, so it grants a lot of extra features without being a big deal if you have a couple hundred end users. Usually I recommend that organizations have at least 2 licenses because everyone needs a back-up. If you end up building a lot of mobile dashboards with Inovista, they have another option that allows you to package your own apps. I haven't reached that point myself, but their mobile app reader is a great way to get started.

Here are some of the packages in the suite:

- Advanced Shapes
- Mobile Components
- iOS Components
- SVG / Image Controllers
- Inovista Mobile Charts
- Inovista Grids
- Inovista Microcharts


Holiday Goodies

My friends over at InfoDiagram let me know that they have some PowerPoint holiday icons (not to mention other great stencil & icon sets). If you want to download these holiday icons for free, you can use the coupon code: JoshWishesHappy2014 here: HOLIDAY ICONS

Continue on to the post if you want to try out my cheesy animated tree-trimming dashboard!



Animated Slide-out Panel and Other Dashboard Tricks

In looking to improve the quality of my Xcelsius/SAP Dashboard data visualizations and incorporate UX in line with current web trends, I have been working with Inovista over the past few months to better understand their add-on suite. I would say that there is a lot of power here, with many hidden gems. The mobile options hold some cool tricks, and you don't have to be using their mobile stand-alone app to enjoy the benefits.

Lead Conversion Dashboard(Click Image to Launch Interactive Version)

Filed under: Updates Continue reading

Business Intelligence Job Landscape

While my personal specialization is in dashboard design and data visualization, I'm finding that there are a lot of tools and options to choose from. Although I have focused on several of these, it is important to understand the overall market trends and the benefits/comparison to the alternatives. Gartner's 2013 BI Magic Quadrant is a great place to start, but I thought it would be interesting to take a look at the corresponding job market for some of these tools. To accomplish this analysis, I used the trends feature on For a current snapshot, the following chart shows the number of listed openings by term searched. I'm sure that there are duplicated positions and such, but it gives us a nice order of magnitude demand for these skills. The accompanying comments and opinions below are my own.



Excel Career Path Template (Unlocked Version)

Apart from my regular blog visitors looking for dashboards, Xcelsius tricks and design inspiration... I've had a lot of people request the different versions of my Career Path Template. For far too long I have dragged my feet on finding the unlocked Excel version and posting it here. That wait is finally over!

Click on the image below to download the file.

Excel Career Path Template


Xcelsius Reborn vs. Visualization Best Practices?

Since I'm fresh off of the 2013 ASUG Developer Wars, I felt inspired to build another dashboard quickly. Plus I had hours to kill in the airport while waiting to return to the East Coast. I figured this was a great time to build another sample showcasing our upcoming add-on package and stand-alone dashboard reader.

I've spent a lot of time reviewing the entries Stephen Few's recent dashboard competition. In particular, Jason Lockwood's winning dashboard entry, so I used that as inspiration for this example.