Building Interactive Dashboards made easy with Amazon QuickSight

With an ever-increasing volume of data available today, there is a larger opportunity for the company to expand. If only a minute of such data is accurately mined and modelled, your company will gain a unique edge over its competitors. Business Intelligence (BI) tools can help Enterprises analyze and visualize this data based on the business requirements.

Key business decisions are made efficiently based on the quality of data available. Hence the ability to interpret and derive meaningful insights from the data is one of the primary concerns in this era.

For such use cases, Business Intelligence tools helps in augmenting the quality of data by adding a presentation layer so that actionable information can be derived which eventually leads to effective decision making.

BI tools are a red ocean market having plenty of competitors, be it Tableau, Microsoft’s Power BI, QlikView, SAS, IBM Cognos or Google’s Data Studio, among others, with every tool offering its own functionality and features.

In this blog, we will focus on the various features of AWS’s relatively new BI tool, QuickSight.

Here is why Amazon QuickSight is being embraced amongst other BI tools,

Ease of use

Amazon QuickSight, as its name suggests, it is especially designed for its speed and ease of use.

The data preparation console is user friendly and the data can be quickly customized by adding calculated fields to data sets which makes the dashboards interactive. The ability to adjust the reports as per the domains and requirements is remarkable. The filters and actions in QuickSight instantly help in gathering insights in no time.

Data source accessibility

QuickSight integrates seamlessly with a spectrum of data sources like relational databases, S3, Apache Spark etc.

QuickSight can connect to a variety of Software as a Service (SaaS) data sources either by connecting directly or by using Open Authorization (OAuth)

Data in file formats like CSV/TSV, ELF/CLF, XLSX  from local sources can be visualized by either uploading directly to SPICE (super-fast, parallel, in-memory calculation engine of QuickSight) or uploading the file to S3 and crawling the data to extract schema so that it can be queried by AWS Athena and visualized in QuickSight.

 

Slick and smooth SPICE Engine

The super-fast, parallel, in-memory calculation engine (SPICE) which is built from the ground up for the cloud, enhances the speed and support users to query large amounts of data, process and analyse them at a lightning pace, simultaneously. By simply logging-in users can connect to the data and create dashboards with ease.

Sharing the dashboards via email becomes simpler with the options for scheduling and customizing the email details with email text and report preference.

Smart suggestions for Visualizations

Based on the underlying properties of different columnar data, QuickSight has an in-built suggestion engine that drills into datatype, which recommends the most appropriate graph using AutoGraph. The best visual that matches the analytical patterns in the dataset using a collection of algorithms is shown by default.

Embed dashboards and APIs

It is easy to build embedded dashboards with QuickSight, which empowers the users with analytics to gain insights from within their custom applications. The interactive dashboards and visuals are flexibly designed to enhance the look and feel of the application.

Email notifications can be enabled about the status of the loading data and data refresh can be scheduled rather than refreshing it manually.

Mobile Applications

The application securely enables to get insights from the data from any browser and share the interactive dashboards with other users. The visuals in the dashboards are in sync with application perfectly which makes it more convenient to access.

Mobile Application – Source: Amazon quicksight blog

ML- Insights

To gain additional insights from the data ML- insights feature enables the user to identify the hidden patterns, discover outliers, perform accurate forecasting and what-if analysis with AWS’s proven machine learning & natural language capabilities.

Scalability

Organizations can scale their capabilities for users and delivers extremely fast, responsive query performance. More users can simultaneously work on the QuickSight with access to all sources of data at the same time.

Service & Support

The support provided by AWS support in fixing up the queries that we raise is remarkable. The issues are being sorted out directly via email and phone to understand the customers effectively.

Pricing

The unique feature that QuickSight hold is pay-per-session model users who consume dashboards others have created. Readers are charged at $0.30 for a 30-minute session up to a maximum charge of $5/reader/month for unlimited use, instead of paying periodically despite the usage.

Common business scenarios where Amazon QuickSight kicks in,

  • In an organization level, to exhibit the activity status of the job to the management, client and show the progress over a period.
  • Effectively showcasing the market position & revenue generated from various projects, thereby can help companies realise the potential opportunities.
  • Sharing monthly reports from different departments in an organization made easy using ad-hoc QuickSight dashboards.
  • By building user-friendly dashboards, clients can forecast the data fields based on their requirements for leveraging their products or usage of services.

 

 

Challenges faced in Amazon QuickSight

  • Limited number of charts/visuals are available when compared with other BI tools.
  • It is not possible to build a visual from different datasets in an analysis without using joins.
  • There are not many customizations available for filters and controls
  • Limited control of theme customizations for individual fidgets
  • Auto sizing is always enabled for the fidgets in the analysis, which gives little room for custom alignment of visuals.

Written by ;

Sowmya S

and

Umashankar N

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