Become an Analytical BEAST using Filtering and Drilldown

Porter Thorndike's picture
 By | April 02, 2015
in InfoDiscovery, Advanced Analytics, Business Intelligence, data visualization, Business Analytics, Dashboards
April 02, 2015

On my way into an important presentation I am swarmed by a hoard of barbarian paparazzi all screaming “PORTER! PORTER! I WANT A DASHBOARD THAT CAN FILTER AND DRILLDOWN! PORTER! PORTER!” The flashbulbs are blinding me and I shout back "HOW DARE YOU? I AM NOT JUSTIN BIEBER! I'M JUST A TECHNICAL MANAGER!"

That daily experience is kind of like the dream I have every once in a while regarding the three critical capabilities people ask for in every evaluation. Let's define each element quickly.

Dashboards: Display critical metrics and key performance indicators graphically.

Filtering:  Via controls, clicking, or selecting.

Drilldown: Allows me to navigate up and down a hierarchy.

Everyone wants this, but why do they want it? I'll leave the value proposition of dashboards for a separate post, so let's focus on filtering and drilldown. InfoDiscovery automatically exposes both of these critical capabilities via single click user actions and when combined, filtering and drilldown offer the most powerful analytical capabilities available to any analyst.

Using InfoDiscovery, I quickly created a dashboard of Sales vs Cost over Time, Sales by Country, and Sales by Store. Filtering has traditionally been done using controls, and they can be applied via quick filter controls that are single-click activated and used.


I could adjust the slider to look at just our top revenue producing stores or I could select a product category that filters my entire dashboard globally. My favorite way to filter is to do it visually. Notice how I can select the points/bar/lines of any visualization by marquee select and then include or exclude my selection.  I have done so on my map to filter by just the stores in the Northeast United States.





Of course, I could have used the drilldown functionality available in each visualization container to drill up or down the hierarchies in my data that already exist or that I have created on the fly. A good example would be if I wanted to drill down my time series hierarchy to go from month to day.  


One of the additional benefits this drilldown functionality provides is when a selection or filter renders one of your visualizations valueless in continuing your discovery. For example, I have already applied the filter of Stores in just the Northeast United States rendering my Sales by Country Bar Chart valueless.  What will a single bar of the United States tell me?  


Because I am able to drilldown to the next level to see the Sales by State, I will never be stopped dead in my analytical tracks.


It is the flexibility that InfoDiscovery offers to quickly design, filter, and drilldown that makes it such a powerful analytical tool. Watch now:

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