22 September 2017

MicroStrategy – Most used widgets

1. MicroStrategy - What is it?

MicroStrategy is a business intelligence tool with a ROLAP engine that connects almost all of the databases on the market. Its development vision is object oriented presenting a graphical interface very appealing to both developers and end users. It presents a comprehensive list of offers such as Data Discovery, Advanced Analytics, Data Visualizations and Data Mining. Because of the ease with which you can build ad-hoc reports and even more complex web and mobile dashboards, MicroStrategy is one of the most sought-after tools on the market by customers around the world.

2. Widgets - Advanced Visualizations

A widget is an advanced view of results in a dataset, allowing users ways of analysing data other than traditional tables or charts. They are sophisticated views that can combine various types of interactivity allowing users a more efficient way of understanding their data. We can have a wide range of widgets on a dashboard such as Gauge, Heat Map, and Microcharts. Although each type of widget is different and used in a unique way, the main purpose of all widgets remains the same: to provide analysts with an interactive look at their data.

2.1. Add Widgets

Regardless of the widget to be added, the following procedure is pretty much the same except for certain widget-specific particularities.
To add a widget to a document, follow these steps:

1. In MicroStrategy Web, open the file in Design or Editable mode.

2. In the Insert menu go to Widgets, Flash, and select the desired widget (for example Bubble Grid or Microcharts).


3. Click the document in the location where we want to place the widget. The Table/Graph that contains the widget will be shown.

4. To resize the widget, simply drag its corners to the desired size.


2.1.1. Bubble Grid Widget

The Bubble Grid Widget conveys information to help an analyst identify important trends or anomalies in the data relative to the total contribution of the tracking data. In the widget, metric values are represented as bubbles of different colours and sizes; the bubble colours and sizes represent the values of two distinct metrics in the Table/Graph that contains the widget. Each bubble is generated at the intersection of two different attribute elements.


2.1.2. Cylinder Widget

The Cylinder Widget is a simple indicator that shows a vertical cylinder with a fluid inside. The fluid level is a representation of the value of only a metric. This widget is most commonly used when combined with a selector allowing users to choose which metric they want to see represented in the cylinder.


2.1.3. Data Cloud Widget

The Data Cloud Widget represents elements of an attribute in various sizes depicting the different values of a metric. The widget is no more than a list of elements of an attribute. The font size of each element represents the value that a particular metric assumes for that element. A larger font indicates a higher metric value while a smaller font represents a lower value. This widget does not need a separate selector to interact with it, however, the Data Cloud Widget can itself be used as a selector.


2.1.4. Time Series Slider Widget

The Time Series Slider Widget is an area chart that allows you to select sections of the chart to analyse. The widget consists of two related graphics, one positioned above the other. The graph above is the controller and contains a slider. The bottom graph is the primary graph. You can use the slider on the controller to select portions of the graph and thus determine the range of data visible on the primary chart.


2.1.5. Funnel Widget

The Funnel widget allows quick analysis of various trends of various metric values. This widget can be used for a wide variety of businesses such as application management, click management, pipeline analysis for sales forecasts, and sales process analysis. The widget is a percentage bar graph variation that represents data that totals 100%. Therefore, it can allow analysts to view the percentage contribution of the data, show the steps of a sales process, and reveal the amount of potential revenue for each phase. When the widget is used to analyse a sales process, analysts can use it to detail key metrics such as size of business, profit potential, and likelihood of closing. The widget can also help identify potential problem areas in an organization's sales processes.


2.1.6. Fish Eye Selector Widget

The Fish Eye Selector Widget amplifies an element when a user hovers over it. Any element that a user selects will remain magnified while the remaining elements are minimized and displayed at the bottom of the selector.


2.1.7. Gauge Widget

A Gauge widget is a simple status indicator that displays a needle that moves within a range of numbers displayed on the outer edges. A real example of a gauge is the speedometer of a car. This widget type is designed to display the value of a single metric. The needle inside the meter is a visual representation of this unique metric value. The Gauge Widget is most useful when combined with a selector because it allows users to choose which metrics to display in the widget.


2.1.8. Heat Map Widget

A Heat Map Widget features a combination of coloured rectangles, each representing an element of an attribute, that allows you to quickly understand the state and impact of a large number of variables. The rectangles contain a variety of colours, which emphasize the status of the various components. In a Heat Map:

• The size of each rectangle represents its relative weight.

• The colour represents the relative change of a value in this rectangle.

• You can hover over the rectangles and view the values for each metric, including additional metrics.


2.1.9. Interactive Stacked Graph Widget

An Interactive Stacked Graph widget displays a combination of check boxes and an area chart. The graph allows the user to see the contribution of several metric series to the change of value of a larger set of data.

• When selecting individual attribute elements (for example, a list of years) using the check boxes, the analysts determine which data is displayed in the area chart on the right. When all the check boxes are selected, the area chart is at its maximum size because it represents all the contributions of each individual element.

• This widget allows the viewing of total metric values as a large stacked area and individual pieces of that total as smaller stacked areas within the large stacked area. You can quickly see how the individual parts make up the whole, which is useful when comparing the percentage of the total. To see how the individual parts make up the set, you can click on the element name of the attribute on the left; selecting multiple elements is possible.


2.1.10. Microcharts Widget

The Microcharts Widget consists of several types of graphs, namely bars, sparkline and bullet that allow several types of analysis at the same time. It has the ability to quickly show trends and evolutions as well as meeting objectives. Each chart type has the following characteristics:

• Bars - Represents through bars the temporal evolution of a certain metric. You can view the current value as well as your history.
• Sparklines – Represents through lines the temporal evolution of a certain metric. Likewise, it presents a horizontal line with the objective value of this metric.
• Bullet – Buy the value of a certain metric with the value of other metrics. Normally it is used to verify the fulfilment of a certain objective. You can add multiple goals to the same metric.


3. Requirements

Each of the widgets previously presented has certain requirements for its correct operation. The following table summarizes requirements based on the number of attributes and metrics to be used in each of them.

Widget # Attributes # Metrics
Bubble Grid 2 At least 2
Cylinder 1 At least 1
Data Cloud At least 1 At least 1
Time Series Slider At least 1 At least 1
Funnel At least 1 At least 1
Fish Eye Selector 1 0
0 1
Gauge At least 1 At least 1
Heat Map At least 1 At least 2
Interactive stacked graph At least 2 1
Microcharts At least 2 7 (for the complete widget)


4. Conclusion

As you can see, MicroStrategy provides a comprehensive range of advanced visualizations that can be used to facilitate the most complex analyses. It is important to remember that each of these visualizations has its own requirements that must be respected for its correct use.
For more information about each of these widgets and others that are a bit less used, but which can also give a different view to the analysis of the data, in particular with more detail about its construction, the following links can be consulted:

     André Sousa