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Dundas Dashboard and MS PerformancePoint Comparison

by Teo Lachev, PrologikaMonday, December 06, 2010

Interactivity

You can add interactive features to your dashboards to make them more user-friendly and informative. One interesting interactive option is hover-over actions that navigate the user to another dashboard or a web page.  Coupled with the scripting, hover-over actions are a powerful mechanism to provide additional context to KPIs and datasets.

Dashboard Hover Over
Figure 5. Hover-over actions navigate the user to another dashboard.

Figure 5 shows the effect of a hover-over action initiated by the user pointing the mouse cursor over the small image above the KPI to open the Variable Operational Expenses Trend dashboard in order to see more details behind the Support Expenses per Month KPI. Behind the scenes, the hover action triggers an event that executes the following script:

ParameterInfoCollection params = new ParameterInfoCollection();
ParameterInfo param;
param = new ParameterInfo();
param.GrainLevel = e.GrainLevel;
param.ParameterName = "MarginTime";
param.FilterValues = DateRange.FilterValues;
params.Add(param);
services.ShowDashboardPopup("72e12730-7937-49f1-8a0f-f6473a4ba477",
sender, e, params, 500, 300);

Another interactive feature that your users will appreciate is drillthrough.  KPIs and datasets can be configured for drillthrough actions. Similar to hover-overs, developers can write custom scripts to control the scope and target of the action.

Finally, end users can add annotations. A user annotation is a comment that is manually attached to a data point (or data range) by a user viewing a dashboard. These comments can be used to add context to data or to communicate with other users.

Implementing Analytical Dashboards

Dundas analytical dashboards are somewhat similar to PerformancePoint analytical charts and grids. It allows end users to analyze data from an Analysis Services cube interactively. Dundas provides three controls for implementing an analytical dashboard:

  • Analytical Chart – a control for building an interactive chart reports using any of the supported chart types, such as bar, line, chart, etc.
  • Analytical Grid – a control for implementing crosstab (pivot) reports.
  • Analytical Combo – a tabbed control that lets the user switch between chart and grid views.

Figure 6 shows a sample analytical dashboard with an Analytical Combo control connected to the Adventure Works cube.

analytic dashboard cube
Figure 6. Add an analytical dashboard to let users create interactive historical and trend reports from a cube.

Implementing the above analytical dashboard takes a few mouse clicks:

  1. Right-click the Analytical Dashboards section in the Design Explorer and choose New Analytical Dashboard.
  2. Drag the Analytical Combo control and save the changes.
  3. At run time, the users can drag the cube objects and drop them to the Measures, Categorical, Grouping, and Slicer zone.

To avoid starting from scratch each time users open the analytical dashboard page, you can add pre-defined report views to the virtual cube. Unlike PerformancePoint, version 2.0 of Dundas Dashboard doesn't let you write custom MDX queries when requirements go beyond creating simple reports.

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Discussion:

pravin patkar said:

This could have been a great article if it was an unbiased and there was summary level side by side comparison.

Mark Wevers said:

@pravin
A side-by-side would have been nice b/c most of the images are of Dundas, but after working extensively with PerformancePoint and Dundas Dashboard I think the arguments are well made.

K Wymore said:

I have to agree with Mark on this. After using Performance Point for almost a year, we are now looking at new tools because Performance Point is lacking in many ways. Dundas is more flexible and more visually appealing than Performance Point and it doesn't require SharePoint integration to function. A side by side comparison would have been nice. Maybe someone else will do another review describing building a dashboard in each tool and the pros/cons of each product?

Jon Hazell said:

Great idea K Wymore, any takers for that side-by-side comparison?

Slemo Warigon said:

Maybe it would be more helpful if someone can describe how this tool can be readily used in public/government organizations that don't do sales by defined zones.

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