We are at the final stage of a project for a Global Food Distributor at GuardX and I thought I could review the project as it comes to a close.

The goal was to provide a custom analytics dashboard for said firm. This organization has data, mostly gathered in spreadsheets, which are becoming cumbersome as their data stores become larger. Their requirements included a data upload facility for recurring updates to their data, custom graphs and charts to provide data analytics with functions such as filtering and aggregation, and an export process so they could easily disseminate their findings throughout their organization. Finally, we would install this software on the organization’s Windows servers.

To fulfill their need for a data upload facility, we provided an easy-to-use web wizard that allows them to upload Excel, CSV or JSON files with their data. While it is not necessary that the data be structured, it was in this case: the names of the columns for the dataset were included in the files. The files are processed and read into the system, which then persists the data to an accessible database in the web application. This means that a user can now immediately go to the web-based notebook application to access and query this data from the dashboards that we created (they are connected to these databases).

As for custom charts and graphs for Business Intelligence and Analytics, we created a set of queries that show the proper data tables and aggregations, all based on a design document supplied by the organization. These charts and graphs have intricate features, such as being able use drag-and-drop to select which columns from the data to show; filtering and aggregations (for example, getting the sum, min, max, average and/or count of a set of rows); being able to switch seamlessly between bar, pie, line, trench charts, and more; specific custom filters to fit their data; and an export button to quickly get the CSV data of a specific chart.

Finally, to allow the firm to easily disseminate their findings throughout, we provided a few methods of data export and chart/graph “sharing”. Specifically, analysts will be able to export the data to CSV (readable by Excel) on any visualization; as for sharing, any visualization can be easily sent to colleagues by a shareable link that is automatically generated. This allows users to send a specific data table or visualization without the need to connect to the whole Analytics Dashboard. Also, any project can be switched to “Presentation” mode, which means that one can present and/or demonstrate a series of graphs and/or charts in a structured and organized method.

All of these features give a user a full roundabout experience. Any user can easily import, setup queries on their data, customize their charts and graphs, export all of the findings and/or easily present this information via “presentation” mode– all in once place. As this global distributor increases its data stores, the Analytics Dashboard will grow with it and allow their analysts to gain insights on their business operations.


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