Once there is an initial report or query, most users expect to be able to interact with the report (or visual) in a way that allows them to explore and 'discover' new facts and figures by iteratively changing the query. Often, this is referred to as 'ad-hoc' data analysis and can extend beyond the Discover reports to Present dashboards as well. In other cases, the basic process of building a query (or report) does not sufficiently expose enough analytical functionality to answer the business question being asked. Again, there is a need to amend or change the query by applying some advanced logic to the report to drive the desired result and answer.
Techniques and Tools
Regardless of specific need, Pyramid offers three techniques for changing queries:
These are contextual functions that are triggered by the user's mouse clicks on the visual or report. Designed to be 'quick and simple', interactive changes to a query are most suited to free flowing ad-hoc analysis. Interactions also expose extended functionality like actions, conversations and alerts that are highly contextual in nature, yet powerful in function and application.
- Click here for more on interactions.
- Click here to read on extended interactive functions that don't necessarily change queries directly, but instead extend their operation.
These are menu and dialog driven functions that are triggered from the application ribbons. Designed to offer ways to change a way a query is resolved, these (standard) functions allow users to tailor specific effects with more granular control than the interactions (above). This includes operations like numeric filtering, sorting, totaling and other query wizardry like N-of-N iterative functionality. Note that many of these functions are also represented in their 'quick' form through the interactive options.
- Click here for more on functions.
Like standard functions above, advanced analytic functions are triggered from the application ribbon. They are designed to inject advanced analytic logic and calculations to a query for deeper insights that go well beyond the basic rendering of a query or any functional logic applied to it. Often, these techniques employ statistical calculations and data mining algorithms to the query to generate new ways of quantifying and qualifying the results of a query. They include forecasting, regression, clustering and outlier analysis.
- Click here for more on advanced query functions.
Other ways to Change Queries
The other major technique for changing a query, beyond data layout (the basics), functions and advanced analytical methods is to use calculations. Calculation options cover a vast array of options and capabilities including the ability to drive simple to advanced mathematical logic and logical way of deriving element selections and lists.
Other Query Options
There are several other settings and options that can impact the way queries are built and executed. These have less do to with analytical changes and more to do with performance.
- Click here to see more.