Panorama Nova View 6 Reviewed

September 9, 2009

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I’m very glad to say that not too long ago I got to see a demo on Panorama Nova View 6 with the rest of the BI team, enabling me to further give you detail on it.


The demo covered quite a few of the major products:
NovaView Analytics – which existed in previous version though it’s UI has changed
NovaView Flash Analytics – which is one of the new features in this version
NovaView Smart Reporting
NovaView Dashboards
NovaView Executive Dashboards
NovaView Universal Data Connector – which is another major new feature in this release  


  • Looking at the new Flash Analytics, I really liked the way the new dynamic title of the view looks. In the previous versions, the title could be quite confusing to understand as it would give you both the attributes which were on the grid and the members you sliced on all in one long title (unless you gave your view a static name). The new title, on the other hand, gives you just the attributes on the grid. Below the title, you get a subtitle with the relevant attributes and the members you selected for them. This is much easier to understand and also makes for easier manipulation, as you can click the member in the subtitle and choose to change it from there (and not just from the slicers pane).


  • If in previous versions you would apply each and every slice in one step, you can now apply several slices in one step! No more waiting for each and every step to finish, you get all the manipulation you need on your data in one step.


  • The Flash Analytics doesn’t have anymore right click on it. Every action is possible is given with a simple click.


  • If you created a calculated measure and it’s shown in your chart, you can click that calculated measure and choose to see it with a second Y axis. You can also choose to see it in a different way than the other measures. For instance, “sales price” and “cost” will show in a column chart, and you calculated “profit margin” can be shown as a line above them with a second Y axis.


  • You can filter on the name of reports to find all your “sales” reports in a group of reports (for instance).


  • Advanced styling abilities, both for the grid and the graph. The user can style both the grid and the chart according to his own taste. His definitions may be: deleted on his first exit from the view, or applied to the view next time he enters it, or applied to all of his views. The one of 3 options that will be applied will depend on the permissions I, as a Panorama Administrator, had given him.


  • The user no longer needs an existing view to build a new view. He can now build a new view from scratch.


  • When moving from the Analytics to the Flash there is no need to rebuild the views – all the views should open as they had in the Analytics, only this time with the better Flash UI.
So much for the Flash Analytics – let’s get to the other major feature in this release – the Universal Data Connector.
The UDC allows us to create a connection to SQL tables and more, to create a sort of DSV on them. You get an editor for your T-SQL query and after you created the DSV, you can define a model on top of it: giving different names to the columns than those that exist in the DB, defining hierarchies etc.
The model you defined can be public (and then edited by other workers) or private. If the model you created in the UDC was defined as private, then the view you created on it will also be private just for you.The model you define will be a loaded in – memory every time you go into the view based on that model, (and if the term of “in – memory” sounds familiar, maybe it’s because you’ve been reading about Gemini or QlikView). You can later define MDX calculations on your model, just like with every other view in Panorama. Panorama also promises that the installation of Panorama software and hotfixes have become simpler.
So many goodies, you have to be wondering – what’s the catch? Queue the problems:


  • Dynamic grouping is not fully supported. The Panorama Nova View Analytics (desktop and web viewer) used to allow you to choose several members and create for them a dynamic group with its own name. However, trying to use this feature for our cubes would give us errors. In the meeting today we understood dynamic grouping is not really a fully functioning feature.


  • The Flash Analytics (for the time of writing this post) still does not have all the capabilities of the Analytics. Specifically, you cannot apply Panorama Nova View drillthrough or cube actions. Both are expected to be added by the end of September 2009.


  • The Flash Analytics still does not have exceptions in it as the Analytics has. It can show the exceptions you defined in the Analytics, but you cannot edit them, apart from changing the value of the parameter for which the exception is shown. You cannot define a new exception in the Flash Analytics or choose to change the parameter on which it is shown.


  • The connection in the UDC is done with an SQL user (and not your NT user).


  • Though the UDC can connect to different data sources (RDBMS, Excel, existing SQL Reporting Services etc), when you create a model – it can only be based on one data source and cannot incorporate in it a few data sources.

Panorama was still working on adding additional features to Nova View 6 when we got the demo, (such as adding the drillthrough action to the Flash), so things may have changed since then. For more details, you can watch the webinar on Panorama Nova View 6 or contact Panorama for your own demo.

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