by Rakesh Sharma
Published on 22 November 2012
We will see their interface, discuss their importance, and see how it can be of use to you.
Yurbi is an outlier in the SaaS ecosystem. This is because, although it is an on-premise solution, Yurbi embraces the SaaS pricing approach. The solution comes in three flavors: Community, Team, and Enterprise. The Community edition of the solution is free while the Team and Enterprise versions are paid. Starting off with a Community edition (and, subsequently, progressing onto a paid version) makes sense if you are a small business since there are no deployment costs involved.
Yurbi founder David Ferguson says there have been several cases of non-profits and small businesses using Yurbi's free version to achieve effective results. He provides the example of a local school system that shifted to Yurbi from Crystal Reports to manage reporting operations. "Their main concern was centered around whether Yurbi could be used to reporting data from all 53 departments," he says.
For large organizations, however, the requirements are different. Ferguson recommends the incremental approach to using Yurbi in large organizations. According to him, large organizations should identify small use-cases for the application and use the free edition to test-drive the solution. Eventually, the solution's success can be guaged by a variety of factors including the ability to integrate with other, larger (and more complex) pieces of software, such as ERP, within the organization.
Yurbi's approach of appealing to small businesses as well as large organizations seems to have paid good dividends. So far. The application counts Federal Government customers in its client roster. Ferguson adds that Yurbi plans to offer cloud-based versions of its software by the end of 2013. For those small businesses or organizations focused on the cloud experience, Ferguson recommends hosting the solution within private clouds.
Two of the main components of Yurbi are the Library and the Dashboard.. The former is a repository of your existing reports pertaining to systems integrated with Yurbi and the latter is a snapshot of your business intelligence data and reports. Thus, it comprises a collection of important data points related to your BI feed including news sources, social media feeds, live charts, and reports. "It is essentially a mashup of multiple sources and informational sources," says David Ferguson. He adds that integration with multiple sources, such as social media, makes these solutions situationally aware. For example, Twitter feeds add context, location, and news to BI data.
Reports can be generated using dashboards. Ferguson refers to the dashboard as a Decision Support System (DSS). "The dashboard provides context for your data by including multiple systems and sources from the Internet and Internal systems," he says. The variety of data sources also helps you monitor news sources and additional brands, if required. Ferguson says the dashboard works in real-time. This means that any changes to a website or Twitter feed are immediately reflected back in the dashboards, thereby enabling real-time decision making. As one of the first steps to using the solution, Ferguson recommends setting up a refresh cycle time.
Finally, dashboards are also useful in a role-based access environment. Thus, Yurbi users can generate public or private reports. As the name denotes, public reports are available to anyone. Private reports, on the other hand, can be configured for select teams or users. For example, a team leader can generate a private report and place it on the dashboard for select team members.
The process to generate a new report is fairly simple and is controlled by widgets. You can drag and drop, resize, group, and filter widgets. In addition, you can customize each widget to display content of your choice. The application offers several choices, including reports, social media networks, websites, or RSS feeds.
Yurbi can also be used for generate reports from libraries. The good part is that recently introduced new features enable users to generate reports at a faster clip. "We found that user experience was a major hindrance for greater adoption of BI solutions," says Ferguson. Since generating reports is one of the primary tasks associated with a BI solution, Ferguson and his team developed features that enabled an easier approach to this task.
As a result, the latest version of Yurbi contains report prompts that enable you to generate a report much quicker. For example, you can pre-configure date range as one of the prompts for reports in your library. As a result, the system will prompt you to enter data ranges for library reports, thus saving you the time and effort required to process additional reports. "Users can decide to reset or rerun these prompts," says Ferguson. According to Ferguson, the ideal use for the solution's Community Edition consists of a single data source to generate reports and dashboards. Small businesses can generate upto five free public reports using Yurbi. Subsequent reports require upgrades. However, Ferguson suggests deleting previous versions of the report to make room for additional reports.
"If you are small company, then chances are that the data component of your report is fairly small," he says. Under such circumstances, your reporting needs are related to speed rather than churning vast amounts of customer data to make sense of trends.
I liked Yurbi, the first time around I reviewed it. After having explored the application's functionality in greater depth, I like it even better. It offers on-premise functionality and feature at SaaS prices. That is an unbeatable combination!