Bime is now in version 2. What does a number version mean for a SAAS application? Isn't it more something for the traditional software industry I hear you say? Well, in my opinion, yes and no. Our customers already know: we try to have a short release cycle. We feel that one of the powers of the SAAS model is pushing new things out and letting all your users benefit from them throughout the year instead of waiting for one massive release at the end.
So what's the point with V2? First, we wanted to take a break from fixing small things and take the time to polish and build the biggest features that we felt were missing. In short, a lot of the work was pushing features to the dashboard. In technical detail, version 2 is more than one thousand commits in git (our source control tool). So, there is loads more going on than what I'll present you in this post, but we'll just give you the basics. In the end, we just feel good about naming this release "V2": it's a milestone in terms of feature completeness for Bime and also a foundation upon which we'll build the future of the service.
Actually, with V2, we feel that we bridged a significant part of the gap with traditional software BI vendors while proposing a good deal of unique features: Déjà Vu for data snapshots, high performance and a powerful OLAP engine that runs in a web browser and that allows you to work in-memory or to use the power of databases, the explosion axis with coverflow views, the unique set of connectors that allows you to connect to on-premise (RDBMS, OLAP engine) and online datasources (SFDC, Google Analytics..)...The list goes on and that's only the beginning as in the coming weeks we are coming out with amazing stuff like high compression rates for Déjà Vu snapshots, self-service pre-packaged reports / metrics through our marketplace, and native mobile access. But, that's another story. Let's focus on the things we deployed in V2.
Dashboards: Faceted Business Intelligence at its best
Dashboards in version 2 are now even more flexible and also more feature rich. Improvements fall into 2 categories:
- You have a new positioning mode that allows you to move and place windows exactly where you want.
- You have a new dashboard sizing mode where you can adjust the size of your dashboard to bigger than one screen. Please, click on the following image to see what type of custom layout you can achieve:
- You can customize each window in depth with fonts, size, color and so on.
- You can add rich formatted text to your dashboard.
- You can add images to your dashboard.
- You have access to drill through (view underlying data) directly from the dashboard.
- You can access "decompose" which is viewing a set of points from another perspective directly from the dashboard. Let's say you have several product sales over time and that you want to see how these products behave per country or per sub category etc...
- You can cross filter your data just by selecting data points on a visualization. This one is very powerful. In V2 you can select a set of points on a chart and use this selection as a filter for all the other visualizations in the dashboard that uses the same connection. It looks like everything is linked magically under the hood.
- You can perform What-if analyses directly from the dashboard. "What-if" is when you can modify the value of a variable used in a calculation to see the impact of the change on another calculation. Before V2, it was only available in the pivot table and now you can propose it to your dashboard viewer. Have a look at this dashboard to see this in action.
- You can duplicate your dashboard and eventually change connection details. This is a real time saver for fixed structure connections like Google Analytics. You can just duplicate a dashboard and apply it to other websites in seconds.
- You can access time manipulation features from the dashboard by putting any time related element in the slicer. For Google Analytics, it's even better displaying a control as long as you use the "use query filter as prompt" in the dashboard definition.
Pivot Table: Interact directly with your data
- You get much more customization for charts: font labels, displayed values formatting, axis formatting etc...
- New explosion axis allows you to split the results of the query and generate as many charts as needed.
- Results of exploded results can be seen in a tile layout (good for comparison) or in a coverflow (space efficient in dashboards).
- You can select several data points in most charts and access decompose, drill through and focus features.
- "Drill though" allows you to see the underlying data on a selection of data points (available only in in-memory datasources and RDBMS).
- "Focus" is a shortcut to filter out elements visually.
- Datagrid is enhanced with color and size encoding.
- Member selection has been optimized to not unnecessarily reexecute queries.
- You can define dynamic time sliding windows such as "last X" days or month or quarter or semester or year.
We really hope you'll like this release. If you're new to Bime, it's definitely a good time to give it a try.