It’s exciting to see all of the cool software-as-a-service (SaaS) dashboard technologies that have emerged on the Web over the last several years. Most of them come complete with automated connectors to integrate Web analytics, CRM, and sales automation platforms, allowing analysts to assemble great dashboards in days rather than weeks. Previously on ClickZ we’ve reviewed vendors such as Leftronic and Klipfolio. Today we are going to look at some of the unique features of BIME Analytics (pronounced like dime with a B).
BIME has been developed as an impressive Web-based platform for connecting to multiple data sources, creating simple and complex queries, visualizing query results, and creating powerful dashboards. It should be noted that BIME has a very robust feature set for data analysis in a wide variety of business functions. But what may be most interesting is how BIME can help us report on the performance of digital initiatives such as website performance, email campaigns, and online lead nurturing.
As I noted above, there are many Web-based reporting vendors on the market. Below are seven points that I believe make BIME stand out as an excellent dashboarding tool for Web analysts.
1. Data Analysis and Business Intelligence: While most dashboarding platforms focus heavily on porting data from the source (i.e., Salesforce, Google Analytics, Adobe Analytics, etc.) directly to the dashboard, BIME separates the data query extract from the visualization. This makes BIME as much of – if not more of – a business intelligence tool rather than a dashboarding tool. This separates BIME from most of the plug-and-play dashboard tools by enabling analysts to manipulate data before presentation. This does not convolute the tool significantly. I was able to set up a new account, connect to Google Analytics, and create my first custom queries in less than 30 minutes without any training.
2. Local Data Storage: BIME allows users to store part of or all of a data set locally within BIME rather than keeping it at the data source. This allows for faster queries and faster loading of data sets within dashboards. Also, this allows analysts to manipulate datasets without changing the data source (segue…).
3. Manipulate Data Structures: The interface provides tools for actually changing data structures, integrating multiple data structures (i.e., Web analytics data from Google Analytics and CRM records from Salesforce), and potentially creating new common keys.
4. QueryBlender: This is a unique feature within BIME that is separate from the other query tools. The QueryBlender provides a simple wizard for combining multiple datasets and multiple queries with a manual join. This significantly decreases the amount of time it takes to create reports combining disparate sources such as CRM data and call center data. For people like me that prefer to spend more time analyzing reports than thinking through data queries, this is a big time-saver.
5. Calculated Measures: This is such a simple function that I appreciate so much. Within the admin interface, there is a very simple tool for applying equations to individual data points (similar to MS Excel). Why is this important? When running reports on Web analytics data, we are typically at the whim of the platform on which data points are reporting collectively (i.e., all users coming in through SEO) or individually (i.e., regions with the word “America” in their title). To get around this, we typically have to create a complex set of segments and filters. Within BIME, the Calculated Measures provide a simple tool for this within the interface.
6. Customer Service: When you set up a trial account for BIME, there is one thing that becomes quickly apparent: The folks that work at BIME are there to help you learn the platform and build awesome dashboards and queries. After your trial account is set up you get an email from the CEO outlining the steps for setting up data sources. I, along with some co-workers, set up several trial accounts and within a day we each got emails and calls from supportive account reps merely wanting to help us get ramped up.
7. Customer Support: As cool and rare as good customer service is, I personally prefer self-service. For BIME the good human touch is a distant second to the help content available online. BIME has worked hard to develop a large library of how-to video content to explain how to set up data connections, create queries, and visualize query results. There is also excellent inline documentation on all of the tools as well as a knowledgebase and moderated forums/discussions.
There are other smaller details that make BIME notable. These include some very cool (albeit somewhat gimmicky) user experience elements, such as the entire user interface spins like a cube when navigating between interfaces and the vanity sub-domains for access and reporting. There are few areas where BIME is lagging behind some competitors, such as fewer automated data connections and fewer graphing/style options. But this is likely because BIME is focusing efforts on highly intelligent queries and data analysis slightly more than data presentation.
All in all, this is a very impressive platform for analysts. Because of the intuitive interface and excellent support content, I found that an analyst can create a powerful dashboard with multiple data sources and fairly complex queries in less than a day, which puts BIME far ahead of more traditional business intelligence tools and right in-line with out-of-the-box dashboarding tools. For a Web analyst, I believe the biggest benefit the platform delivers on is the ability to quickly create reports that integrate custom query data from Web analytics and platforms such as CRM or custom sales tools. I am looking forward to seeing how the platform evolves in the coming months and quarters.