Extending Oracle DVD Map functionality

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1. The challenge

Despite Oracle Data Visualization Desktop (DVD) having now caught up with the leaders in the data visualization quadrant, there are, like in any product, still detailed functionalities which can always be enhanced. As such we are excited to share this product enhancement related to the map functionality with you.

In the example below, you can see an out-of-the-box DVD map visualisation showing traffic violations in US.

Extending Oracle DVD Map functionality

Figure 1: US traffic violations map chart

As you can see there is only a limited amount of insight which can be drawn from this visualization. Let´s try to build on this by adding some sizing based on a measure - in this case, the number of accidents:

Extending Oracle DVD Map functionality

Figure 2: US traffic violations map chart- sizing added

Even after colouring it with the app’s fine amount (Fine Amt), it still looks like something is missing.

Extending Oracle DVD Map functionality

Figure 3: US traffic violation - Formatted version

It’s possible that we could improve our visualisation by colouring by a dimension instead of by a measure; however, DVD does not allow dimension values at this time.

 

2. DVD 12.3 Plugin

Let´s try downloading the Custom Points Map Plugin from the Oracle Store instead.

Extending Oracle DVD Map functionality

Figure 4: US traffic violations - plugin used

Ok, that looks nicer. The ability to control the size of the dots really helps for better  chart comprehension, but the plugin still lacks helpful functionalities, such as being able to colour values by dimension.  Further inspection  of the plugin leaves much to be desired. What if you decide to maximize or minimize the visualisation? (⤢):

Extending Oracle DVD Map functionality

Figure 5: Maximize map chart

Well, not the best vantage point. Of course, you can resolve this by simply zooming in several times… until the moment you have to max out again.

 

3. The ClearPeak's solution

So are you ready now for a bit of magic? Let me present to you the solution that ClearPeaks developed in order to enhance the user experience. By simply adding some adjustments to the code, we were able to address all of these issues while utilizing the same visualisation tool (Oracle DVD 12.2.3) and plugin (Custom Points Map Plugin) as before. Alright, now we are ready to explore our data!

Extending Oracle DVD Map functionality

Figure 6: US traffic violations - using updated plugin version 1

Our first order of business was to resolve the dimension colour problem, enabling this feature for our customer. This was such an improvement! Now it´s much easier to find recognizable patterns or dependencies. We also thought that it may be wise to implement a colour gradient for measures in order to promote further and more accurate analysis of our data, so we did that too!

Extending Oracle DVD Map functionality

Figure 7: US traffic violations - using updated plugin version 2

Oh, and the problem with the zooming in/out? Yeah, we fixed that as well.  This is the final result of our tweaks:

Extending Oracle DVD Map functionality

Figure 8: US traffic violations - using updated plugin - final version

Looks much nicer, right?

Unfortunately, as nothing in life is ever truly perfect, there are still some inconveniences with our touch-up, namely, legends are  not available at this time. The good news is that there is a work-around for this problem, called “list chart”. To take advantage of it, add a second visualisation onto your canvas and drag the dimension (SubAgency) into it. Select “list chart” as a visualisation and you’ll have your legend.

Do not forget that DVD keeps the colour context within a canvas, so you should not worry about losing your legend.

Curious about how to make this solution work for you too? Luckily, you just have to follow the architecture of the plugin. Define which boxes (colour dimensions) you want to see and which values are allowed in it (i.e. colour boxes for dimension values and size box and gradient colours for measure values). Then, make sure to include them in the plugin.xml file. After that, link them with the map visualisation in the pointsMapVizdatamodelhandler.js file. Defining further details about the colours, buckets, etc. can be done in pointsMapViz.js. Of course, all changes should be synchronized with the main map library used by Oracle - oraclemapsv2.js.

 

4. Demo

Check out a demo of this solution below:

Conclusion

Even though there are still some restrictions when using DVD as a reporting tool, Oracle is really heading in the right direction with this new version - 12.2.3, especially with their custom plugins idea. By giving the users the opportunity to download and create new plugins and adjust the code of the plugins according to everybody´s needs, Oracle DVD offers a flexibility that nowadays is required on the BI market. If we combine all this with ClearPeaks’s know-how, it really is a recipe for turning every Oracle DVD project into a success.

Contact us if you’d like to receive more information about this solution.

Think Big, Think Data!

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Big Data & Data Science
A recent publication in The Economist asserts that data has now surpassed oil as the world’s most valuable resource. In the last two years alone, the world has collected and stored more data than all previous years in recorded history — combined. With over 60 billion connected devices worldwide, this trend will only continue. By 2020, it is estimated that over 30% of all data will be stored in cloud services. Data Mania is truly upon us!

However, you may still be pondering on whether Big Data (BD) could provide true value to your organisation and how effectively you could kick-off such an ambitious initiative. Perhaps you’re in a quandary about how you could leverage BD for competitive advantage, or perhaps you’re actively considering a digital transformation program. Be rest assured that your competitors certainly are. On average, only 0.5% of corporate data is actually analysed, leading to untold numbers of missed opportunities for those that discount it, and substantial benefits for those that do not. Retailers leveraging BD alone have increased their margins by up to 60%!

Digitalization is rewriting the rules of competition, with incumbent companies most at risk of being left behind by new disrupters in the industry. It is no secret that BD has a paramount role to play in any digitalization initiative. This year alone, 73% of all Fortune 1000 companies have reported that they are investing in BD, and that number is set to grow in coming years.

But BD, as the Economist rightly suggests, is a resource. If data is not captured, analysed and exploited, its value becomes inconsequential. This is where Data Science - specifically Data Discovery and Prediction - comes in. Not only can you now report on past actuals as in classic Business Intelligence (BI), but calling on algorithms and machine learning techniques, you can now predict into the future, leveraging your BD resources to feed your predictive models to a high degree of accuracy. Imagine the business opportunities this presents in all functional areas of your organisation!

Big DataHopefully we now have you thinking about BD and the possibilities it provides! But how does this BD initiative impact on the past years of investment in your Corporate Data Warehouse (DWH)? Simply stated, any BD initiative absolutely co-exists with the DWH — only with BD, the type of data, the velocity and the increased volume serves to enrich the DWH platform, providing a much more holistic business picture. BD technology platforms, either on premise or more often on Cloud, allow for this high volume data capture, which more classical relational database technologies cannot.

 

So let's get started!

At ClearPeaks, we offer our customers a pragmatic proof-of-concept (POC) service in which we will work with you to:

Define the right POC business case, the expected ROI, the problem and the desired BD solution.
Deploy a scaled-down POC environment, capturing data from various diverse sources beyond what you are capturing in your DWH. This could be high volume data, real-time streaming data, social media data, etc.
Use Cloud BD platforms to provide a full POC experience, after which an in-house hosting / cloud decision can be made. We start with Cloud as it´s quick to deploy, elastic and cost-efficient.
Demonstrate how the combination of DWH, BD, predictive modeling and powerful visualisations can bring tangible benefits to your organisation, all in an acceptable timeframe and with minimal costs.

 

Some useful Big Data definitions:

Volume, Variety & Velocity: Dealing with large, fast and varied data is now a possibility for any business. The key point now is defining what knowledge can be extracted from the data, not implementing complex software solutions.
Cloud: On-premise hosting of BD platforms is not always possible, and in some cases is not really recommended. The perfect partner for BD is the Cloud. The Cloud enables your BD solution to grow with you in a flexible and cost-effective manner, without the headaches of maintaining complex hardware systems.
Real-time: Provide up-to-the-second information about an enterprise's customers and present it in a way that allows for better and quicker business decision-making — perhaps even within the time span of a customer interaction. Real-time analytics can support instant refreshes to corporate dashboards to reflect business changes throughout the day.
Predictive analytics and machine learning: Predictive models exploit patterns found in historical and transactional data to identify risks and opportunities. Apply it to cross-sell products to your costumers, improve customer retention and credit risk assessments, optimize marketing campaigns, increase your revenues and more.

 

Authors:
Gordon, Oscar, Marc

Click here if you would like to know more about our Big Data services!

Tableau 10.3: Data-Driven Alerts and a smart trick for KPIs

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With version 10.3, Tableau has introduced a very useful feature: Data-Driven Alerts.

Now, when looking at a dashboard in Tableau Server, you can set up automatic mail notifications to a set of recipients when a certain value reaches a specific threshold.

In this article, we’re going to go through the basics of this feature, explaining how to use it, and then show you how to get even more from it when dealing with KPIs.

 

1. How to set up an alert

In our example we have a dashboard that shows the yearly earnings and revenues of our company. We have two KPIs (amount of earnings and revenues for a certain year compared to a target) and three charts comparing them with expenses and with each other.

Tableau 10.3: Data-Driven Alerts and a smart trick for KPIs

Figure 1: Dashboard example

To set up the alert on one of the measures shown, all we have to do is click on one of the axes (without applying any filters or actions) and then click on Alert. We will be able to set up our alert and save it in the pop-up window.

Tableau 10.3: Data-Driven Alerts and a smart trick for KPIs

Figure 2: Alert creation

The various options for the condition are:

Above or equal to
Above
Below or equal to
Below
Equal to

The frequency can be set as:

Once - the first time it's true
As frequently as possible
Hourly at most
Daily at most
Weekly at most

In the example shown, we’re going to set up an alert on the Earnings measure, and we want to receive an email as soon as the value reaches €5M.

Once saved, the alert becomes active. If you want to see the status of all the alerts when browsing a site, click on Tasks (if you have permission), and then on Alerts. You will see a list of all the active alerts, with name, view, owner, recipients, email frequency, last check time, and last alert time. You can also edit or delete them by clicking on “…”.

You can set up more alerts on the same view or dashboard, and even on the same measure or axis. Just remember that you must do it on the original dashboard, with no filters or actions applied (otherwise Tableau will give you an error).

Tableau 10.3: Data-Driven Alerts and a smart trick for KPIs

Figure 3: Alerts management pane

 

2. A smart trick for KPIs

Alerts are a really good new feature and work pretty well. In the previous example, you get an email as soon as your earnings reach €5M. There is, however, one major restriction: alerts can only be set up by clicking on a continuous axis. This means that we can’t use them on our beloved KPIs, as they usually only show a number and maybe a few indicators.

In our example, the KPIs show the value of the earnings and the revenues. To set up an alert on them, we could click on any of the axes below, and even set one up on revenues. But what if there is no axis in the dashboard for the measure that we want to track?

Don’t worry, we’ve got a neat trick to show you.

We’re going to add a third measure, a calculated field that shows the ratio between the earnings and the revenues, that we can call Quality.

Tableau 10.3: Data-Driven Alerts and a smart trick for KPIs

Figure 4: Dashboard example with new KPI

How can we add an alert on it? It has no axis, but we can modify it and “cheat?” Tableau while still showing our KPI. We can edit the sheet like this:

Create a dummy calculated field that simply has value 1
Drag it to the sheet, alongside your quality measure
Set the visualization as a bar chart and use the double axis feature
Fix the axis of the dummy field to go from 0 to 1, so that it always shows a full bar
Do the same with the second axis, synchronizing the two axes
Clean the two axes, removing text and ticks. Leave some text on the second one to indicate where to click to set up the alert
Set the size as maximum and the colours the same as the background, in order to “hide” the bars
Drag your quality field to the dummy text box, and align it in the middle

Done! Your sheet will now look like this (we added some extra fancy text to it, but you don’t need to):

Tableau 10.3: Data-Driven Alerts and a smart trick for KPIs

Figure 5: New KPI sheet

Drag your new sheet to the dashboard, then upload it to Tableau Server and click on “Click for Alert”. You can now set up an alert on your custom KPI!

Tableau 10.3: Data-Driven Alerts and a smart trick for KPIs

Figure 6: Alert creation on new KPI with no axis

 

Conclusion

Data-Driven Alerts are a very powerful new feature that users had been asking for quite a long time, allowing the tracking of the most important measures in the easiest possible way (by receiving a notification in your business email box) without having to repeatedly check the dashboard! This should save you a significant amount of time…

Yes, the axis chart restriction is a bit of an inconvenience, but this can be overcome with the trick shown above. We are also sure that Tableau will improve it even more in future versions.

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