Advanced Computing in the Age of AI|Tuesday, April 7, 2020
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Yellowfin Cuts Programming From Customized Analytics Dashboards 

DashXML on a MacBook

Business intelligence and analytics software developer Yellowfin on Friday plans to debut DashXML, a browser-based Java application designed to make it easier to create customized analytical functions and applications.

DashXML is a "flexible framework" that communicates, via web API, with Yellowfin's BI and analytics platform. With DashXML, IT departments and Yellowfin software partners can create personalized dashboards to incorporate Yellowfin content, without any need for programming, the developer said.

Yellowfin can basically connect to any columnar, analytical or transactional database, as well as cubes, to report from structured data sources,Yellowfin CEO Glen Rabie told EnterpriseTech via email. In most instances, Yellowfin will connect to a data source via a JDBC or ODBC driver, he said.

In terms of challenges regarding deeper, broader analysis of company data sources – including the desire to share the resultant insight more pervasively throughout the enterprise, in conjunction with the proliferation of new and existing data sources for the purposes of reporting and analytics – Yellowfin sees companies challenged by whether to use the cloud as a mechanism to support these trends, Rabie wrote. The flexibility and scalability of the cloud not only make sense for delivering analytical insights to decision-makers broadly; it can also make it easier to combine different datasets and source systems to create more insightful reports that can reveal interrelationships between different aspects of business operations – the correlation between marketing, sales, and financial metrics, for example, he said.

Without the ability to create these personalized dashboards without programming, application managers and developers had two alternatives, said Rabie, in a statement. They could just use an out-of-the-box BI tool, without any customization, or rely on open source charting libraries, which delivered personalization but typically removed the analytical functionality and security BI providers delivered, he said.

By eliminating the need for programming, Yellowfin allows enterprises to have both custom interactivity and design and security, Rabie added. This also accelerates organizations' ability to use these solutions, he said.

DASH_XML_Descriptor_ScreenDashXML certainly met the needs of LocalEdge, a multimedia organization and member of the Hearst Media family of companies, which needed a solution – and needed one fast – to satisfy clients and partners. LocalEdge wanted to create proof-of-performance reporting to each customer within its 15 core marketing products and services, said Vice President of Technology Scott Strozyk, in a release. Its previous system was more than a decade old; had an interface that was hard to navigate; was overly complex, and was difficult, expensive, and time-consuming to update, he said.

“We had a very complex set of new customer dashboard requirements and an extremely aggressive timeline to deliver the new solution," said Jeff Folckemer, president of Affiliate Relations and Technology, at LocalEdge. "Our customers were unhappy with our outdated, custom-built dashboard. Our sales teams were apprehensive to show it due to the poor look, feel and unpredictable performance. Our old customer dashboard was no longer an asset and was becoming a significant liability for our business."

A search turned up Yellowfin, whose DashXML integrated with existing product management and legacy applications and is extensible for new features over time, Strozyk said. By modifying an XML file on the front-end application server, then building or updating reports in Yellowfin, LocalEdge created and updated dashboards – a much simpler, faster process than alternatives, he said.

“We implemented much faster using Yellowfin than we could have with any custom-built solution,” said Folckemer. “The finished product is far better than we could have achieved with any other ‘out-of-the-box’ business intelligence tool. Both customers and business partners love the new dashboard.”

"We implemented much faster using Yellowfin than we could have with any custom-built solution," said Folckemer. "The finished product is far better than we could have achieved with any other out-of-the-box business intelligence tool. Both customers and business partners love the new dashboard."

Current Yellowfin customers can download DashXML today, at no cost, from the website's Support Center. Enterprises can deploy DashXML alongside YellowFin or on a separate server, the vendor said.

 

About the author: Alison Diana

Managing editor of Enterprise Technology. I've been covering tech and business for many years, for publications such as InformationWeek, Baseline Magazine, and Florida Today. A native Brit and longtime Yankees fan, I live with my husband, daughter, and two cats on the Space Coast in Florida.

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