This blog provides show notes for our June 18, 2020 webinar, “Storytelling with Social Media and CRM Data.” The webinar is presented in conjunction with CData Software, and hosted by Syncfusion developer Dinesh Kumar P. If you missed the webinar, you can watch it below or on our YouTube channel.
Today, we have access to a variety of data from different sources via different applications that are used across all forms of business. All of this data can be analyzed to help leaders gain insights that help them make the right decisions for their business at the right time.
This webinar walks through how CData Connect Cloud and Bold BI can be integrated to reveal the story hidden in your data.
What is Bold BI?
Bold BI is modern, feature-rich, and secure business dashboard software for data story preparation and storytelling.
Three formats of business intelligence with Bold BI
Bold BI can be utilized in three different ways to meet your business intelligence needs:
- First, as a SaaS hosted in the Microsoft Azure Cloud. There is very little to set up. Just sign up with your email and you are done. The application is ready to use as soon as you log in.
- Second, as an enterprise solution you can install and use anywhere from your personal PC, laptop, on any vendors like AWS or Google Cloud.
- Finally, as an embedded solution. You can embed dashboards into your own applications, white label them to give them the same look and feel as the rest of your applications, and access your data in a secure and safe manner.
Dashboards created with Bold BI can be viewed anywhere—laptops, televisions, mobile devices, and tablets. They’re optimized for large screen displays too.
Rules of thumb for creating dashboards
Before telling the story in your data, the data tools being used should be capable of addressing the following requirements:
- Enable connectivity in different business apps.
- Allow analyzing the data.
- Create simple visuals to communicate insights.
Who is CData Software and what is CData Connect Cloud?
CData Software is a leading provider of data access and connectivity solutions. Its mission is to simplify the way that users and applications connect with data. CData specializes in the development of drivers and data access technologies for real-time access to online or enterprise applications, databases, and web APIs.
CData Connect Cloud enables cloud-based activity in BI tools, custom applications, SQL database drivers, and more. You point those tools, like Bold BI, to the CData Connect Cloud, and on the back end, the Connect Cloud takes a request, turn it into an API request, gets the data from the back-end data source, and then returns it to the tool in a format that the tool, or application, can consume. So, the data will look like a database table or database view with rows and columns.
Converting data into narrative insights using CData and Bold BI
This is a simple, three-step process:
- Dashboard widgets communicate with the CData connector in Bold BI.
- The CData connector, which is a MySQL database connection, talks with a cloud MySQL instance that belongs to CData.
- That data, which is extracted from apps, often CRM or finance apps, is stored in CData’s MySQL instance. This database instance is configured as a live connection in Bold BI so that the dashboard will showcase that data.
Cloud-to-cloud integration with Connect Cloud and Bold BI
This is also a simple, three-step process:
- Create a virtual database for the data source in the Connect Cloud.
- Connect to the Connect Cloud from Bold BI.
- Visualize live Saas/big data/NoSQL data. No replication is needed, so you’re not forced to replicate your data to a database or download an Excel file.
In an example for this webinar, we follow these steps to create a virtual database for Twitter.
For more information on CData Connect Cloud, visit https://www.cdata.com/cloudhub/.
Using the concepts covered so far, we will create a sample dashboard. Our sample scenario is a dashboard intended for a CEO who needs to manage different teams across different departments like finance, human resources, sales, marketing, and so on. We will assume that each department uses different apps for their daily operations.
To manage this variety of data and data sources, we will connect to CRM, social media, and finance apps and their data directly with CData Connect Cloud. Using this data, we will generate the KPIs configured in the dashboard, and ultimately produce a single view where the CEO can explore and comprehend all the KPIs to glean valuable business insights. All of this will be done without having to write any code.
In public talks and keynotes, stories often make up more than 50% of the speaker’s script. This is because stories allow one to understand meaningful information better. The same can be applied while narrating data insights as well.
Three ways to improve storytelling with data
Here are three strategies for better communicating the story in your data with dashboards:
- Know who your audience is, and design everything with them in mind. When designing any part of your dashboard, even a simple chart, ask yourself:
- Who are they?
- What do they care about or expect?
- What problems about this topic keep them up at night?
Keeping these questions in mind will allow you to capture your audience’s attention and get your message across easily.
- Colors. This is not only about using pleasing colors in a dashboard. Think about where your audience will look and create contrast to guide their attention.
- Use more words in a dashboard. Let’s be clear: words, not sentences. Things like axis labels, value labels, and titles. These words will quickly provide more meaning to numbers and charts present in a dashboard.
Data storytelling is a complex topic, but it’s a useful mindset that every dashboard creator can use to enhance the effectiveness of their dashboards. We hope you enjoyed this webinar, and that you’ll use Bold BI and CData Connect Cloud in your future projects to create exciting, informative dashboards from wherever your data is stored.
Recommended resources (related links):
- Syncfusion Bold BI: https://www.boldbi.com/
- Bold BI Videos: https://www.boldbi.com/cloud/videos/overview
- CData Connect Cloud: https://www.cdata.com/cloudhub/