Traditional business intelligence (BI) is a real dog of a thing – big metal storage, heavy applications, long delay times and serious amounts of data wrangling are regular themes when it comes to running an enterprise BI project. The cloud has long promised to disrupt that model but we’ve yet to see and really good alternatives that can handle large scale data.
An interesting piece of news from Chartio (more on them here) today is trying to change that. Chartio now allows customers to connect two of the most well known petabyte-scale cloud warehouse products – Amazon Redshift and Google BigQuery. Those two products themselves are trying to split out the warehousing component of the traditional BI stack, while companies like Chartio hit the data-interface and visualization part of the stack – put the two together and you have a more complete cloud-equivalent of big iron BI.
Chartio already gave users the ability to connect services like Salesforce and Google Analytics or databases like MySQL and Oracle, but now that ability is extended through to data warehousing products – an admission that large enterprise BI projects still need a data warehousing component – real-time direct feeds are great, but sometimes they just don’t cut it. The great thing is that BigQuery and Redshift have already made data warehousing far easier than in traditional enterprise IT models, and now Chartio is doing the same for the visualization aspects – once the data warehouse is ready to connect to, setting up the charts and dashboards only takes a few houres – charts can be built by using the drag and drop interface or alternatively by writing queries in the particular database language of choice.
Loyalty program vendor Plink was an early beta customer for the service and their data scientist, Martin Nemaric responded to an email enquiry about how they’re actually using the tool:
We run a loyalty program for many brands and merchants that we constantly monitor for performance. Amazon Redshift has allowed us to crunch data that rendered our old MySQL data warehouse almost completely useless for most business intelligence purposes. Chartio’s ability to connect to Redshift made the transition over to our new data warehouse painless. We can now take our mountain of data, and use Chartio to deliver real-time dashboards and visualization on anything from marketing to account management.
Below is a screenshot of a Chartio visualization showing the top Ruby projects on Github from the Github archive. The company put the information into BigQuery to make it easy to visualize and then ran a Chartio query on it. BI is one of the last bastions of democratization and slimming down – the combination of Chartio and these cloud data warehouse products is a step in the write direction.